For the most part, I was completely dreading winter, tbh. The cold that hits your face and makes your cheeks hurt when you smile, the wind that's strong enough to crush bones, and the not-seeing-sun bits are completely unappealing. But after seeing this article on the research of a Fulbrighter in Norway, I'm going to give pretending to love winter a shot. I won't go into detail (there's no way I can define Koselig, the Norwegian word for winter cosiness, eloquently enough. Just read the article.) but here's my personal plan for surviving and thriving in winter months. A lot of these are date-like, but I'm a firm believer in friend dates too- they're good for the soul :) Hope you enjoy!
- Go for a walk. Yep, you heard me. Bundle up in layers and find somewhere beautiful to let fresh air (and if you're luck, some sun too!) hit your face and remind you you're not really a zombie. Not yet, anyways. The photo above is from the blizzard we had in January (my first! ahh!) and while we snuggled under the blankets most of the day, a good hour was spent wandering and wondering in amazement at the strange beauty that a place can take on when it's draped all in white. And bonus points if you get a little sun/vitamin D to perk you up a bit
- Throw a pizza party. Winter is all about the comfort food, isn't it? We actually threw a super fun pizza party with a few friends over the summer, and while it was great, the sweltering heat from the oven combined with the heat from outside and was weighing us down a bit by the end of the evening. Having the oven on in some of these temperatures would be a welcome change from the usual chill in the air. Oh, also- pizza. Need I say more?? Have loads of fun toppings to choose from, play great music, discover your hidden talent for tossing pizza dough (or lack thereof)- this is a win-win-win, IMO.
- Visit a brewery. We're currently in the planning stages of this one. Here in upstate New York there's loads of microbreweries to hit up. They're warm and cozy, and tend to have a great atmosphere- the kind that makes you forget there's freezing rain or snow outside. Broken Bow Brewery is super popular (and has great reviews) and Dock's in Warwick has an amazing selection of wines and ciders, if that's more your style.
- Visit a museum. My cousin and I were just talking today about how we don't do this enough. I don't care what kind- science, history, art, nature, nautical- museums are cool, and there's probably at least a handful right in your area that you don't even know about yet ;) NYC obviously has a great selection, and we're heading to the MFA in Boston this weekend- yay! But even if you're in a smaller town, I can guarantee you'll find a museum or two to explore on your local government website. I've found some of the sweetest and most interesting places this way. I'd also include indoor botanical gardens in this one- for me there's nothing more refreshing than seeing greenery everywhere, and it will perk up your mood after months of bland, colorless trees.
- Plan a Chopped-inspired cook off with your person. I stole this idea from a roommate, and believe it or not, as crazy as it sounds, it's kind of fun too! Basic rules: you and your SO gather ridiculous ingredients at the grocery store (no peeking!) then swap purchases and see who manages to come up with the best dish. Admittedly, this would never work in my relationship (Peter is the clear winner in the cooking department.) Nevertheless, it's a fun change from the 'what should we order for takeout?' game and will break your kitchen rut.
- Volunteer together. If you really think about it, this is a no-brainer. Doing good things for others makes you feel good. Spending time with people you care about (and who care about you) makes you feel good. Giving back to the community is nice. So visit a nursing home, put on a coat and blanket drive for the homeless, or offer your time to a local animal shelter or food kitchen. It really puts your winter blues into perspective when you're exposed to the bigger problems out there, and being a part of the solution feels motivating and energizing.
Hope these help you survive the winter! Wish me luck surviving my first real winter. What would you add to the list?