The time between January and April can feel like a single four-monthlong Monday. The thrill of the holidays, the romance of the snow and the novelty of winter dressing have long since faded and warmer, happier days seem far, far away. This winter marks my first in New York City and, having come from Southern California where the mean temperature year round is 75 degrees with a 98% chance of sunshine, I am fully aware of how cold, wintry days have effected my overall wellbeing this year.
Most days there is little I want to do beyond lay in bed with a book. My workout routine, my social calendar, my work, my productivity and consequently my sanity have all suffered from the subarctic conditions that have enveloped New York.
The following is a list of activities that I’ve rendered foolproof after vigorous scientific studies (i.e. my attempts on any day I get off) at kicking the winter blues and getting your groove back.
1. Set your coffeemaker to make you a cup at your wakeup time.
The beeping of your coffee maker indicating your cup of joe is ready and the warm, comforting smell of hot coffee will be just enough motivation to get you out of bed. And the caffeine? That will you keep you from getting back in.
2. Wear your favorite lipstick, whether that’s red, purple or blue.
Not only will you feel more confident and put together, but others will notice, too. A compliment on something fun you do is always a nice perk to your day.
3. Try to make something every day.
Whether that’s making cookies from scratch (or from a box), making dinner or trying that DIY succulent garden you’ve saved from Pinterest. Commit to creating something new every day–you’ll feel more productive and more creative.
4. Plan a date with a friend.
Winter weather makes us much less willing to leave the warmth of our beds, but planning a date will give you a reason to leave it behind. Try to make your date something other than going to the same old Thai restaurant (you already know those noodles give you diarrhea, stop messing with fire, bro). Go somewhere new or try something new, go paint a coffee mug at Color Me Mine or see the Sundance short films at the IFC theaters. Planning a fun activity will make you less likely to bail.
5. Sign up for a new exercise class.
Yes, putting on winter work out gear and dodging the snow banks and slush puddles may seem like a work out in itself, but if there’s something other than the elliptical waiting for you on the other side you’re more likely to pull the parka on and bear it. May we suggest water cycling or a ballet bar workout? Your mind and body will benefit from breaking a sweat.
6. Find some new tunes.
Music has a magical way of lifting your spirits and the right song can completely change your mood. Explore new artists and playlists with websites like 8Tracks and I Listen to Everything.
I know it sounds hippie-dippie and you’re probably sick of people telling you to spend your precious hair-taming-time siting still and breathing. But I promise it helps. Start each day with five minutes of stillness. Either try to clear your head or focus on a single morning affirmation or intention. Or if that doesn’t sound like your cup of green tea, try writing something your grateful for every day in a journal. It’s amazing what a little thoughtfulness can yield.
8. Laugh it out.
Whether that means seeing the newest blockbuster comedy, spending time with that one person who has made you pee your pants (twice) or just observing the absurdities that make up life make sure to make laugher a priority in your day. Laugh with others, laugh at others (kindly) and make sure to laugh at yourself.
9. Treat Yo-Self.
A little you time can help you regain a positive outlook. Whether that means a spa day, a little shopping spree or ordering dessert after dinner, let yourself indulge a little in the finer things that make you happy.
10. Take a walk.
Take a walk while wearing lipstick and listening to music and laughing at the kids sliding on the ice and thinking of all the things that you’re grateful for (kill like five birds with one walk). The fresh air, the vitamin D and the physical activity will help to widen your perspective and improve your mood. Passion Pit really had it right all along with their whole “just take a walk” thang, huh?