How do you shake off the winter gloom?

blue sky sun in corner

The sun will come out (literally and figuratively). Eventually.

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It's January. The holidays are over. Spring is a solid 2-3 months away. It's just... so... gray.

We're setting this up as an Ask AOA question, but it's from the Editors -- who both agreed today they could use some new ways to shake off January blah. So...

How do you shake off the winter gloom?

Maybe you have some suggestions -- things you do around this time of year, maybe local places or activities that help cheer you up. Suggestions are appreciated.

And because one of the things that cheers us up is giving stuff away, we'll give one person who offers a suggestion a $25 gift card to Crisan in Albany. We'll just a draw a person at random from the suggestions.

Important: To be in the pool for the gift card, you have to submit your suggestion by noon on Thursday, January 16. Please use an email address that you check regularly so that we can contact you. The commenter drawn at random will be contacted by noon on Friday, and must respond by noon on the following Monday, January 20.


Bake bread, knit -- cozy things I don't do in the warmer months.

gym/exercise every morning before work, so at least i get to know that the sun exists and is not some abstraction that only comes out when i am in an office. also, skiing.

I was going to say "by eating my feelings in Crisan baked goods" but that's a bit brown-nosey.

I like to train for summer fitness goals (Adirondack hikes, etc) and have all my friends over for potluck dinners or get a giant pizza from Pop's in Cohoes.

Stay active. Keep biking. Walk to coffee shops. Go hiking, or snowshoeing if there's snow. Keep moving. At all costs.

Also: try new things. New restaurants, new drinks, art museums, anything new that keeps your mind from turning gray.

I'm no athlete, but nothing beats swimming in a big indoor pool in the winter. Its great to strip off (most) of your clothes and glide through the water. Ahh

Take up a winter hobby..whatever your taste is. I'm an outdoors person so I snowshoe, snowmobile, ice fish, etc. The key for me is staying active, if it's cold outside-just dress appropriately and enjoy the winter, every season has its own beauty!

I give in to the darkness and immerse myself in movies. Pure escapism.

Daylight=walking Capital Hills with the pups. A winter weekend favorite!

After dark, which is all too often in winter=scoping out new restaurants as well as a pretty hefty amount of Netflix, not going to lie.

Plan a vacation for mid-Feb. so you have something to look forward to.

Buy fresh flowers every week.

Give yourself a break from eating locally grown foods and buy lots of exotic fruits from Hannaford (kiwis! pineapple!)

Capital District Community Gardens' Garden Bowl ! @ Uncle Sam Lanes on
January 25. Bowl your winter blues away!

I like to spend time in the orchid 'hothouse' of Faddegon's. The simulated tropical feel lifts my spirits.

Go rock climbing and bouldering at The Edge in Halfmoon or Albany Indoor Rock Gym in Albany. It's a fun way to stay in shape over the winter. Then get outside and go climb the ADK's or Catskills in the Spring.

I love snowshoeing, but the rain has eliminated my hobby until the next storm.

Stay active! Tonight: Indoor climbing, Tomorrow: Night skiing,Thursday: Drink wine and make art.
I also heard that orange is the smell that beats the winter blues, so put some orange peels on your woodstove or diffuse some essential oil. It's a great smell, and it does make me happier!

I also find that exercise helps me. The last thing I want in the winter is to feel gross and like my clothes don't fit. I also try, whenever possible, to get outside and, as my mom used to say, "make friends with the enemy." Skiing even just one or two of the weekends makes me appreciate this time of year. Finally, on really cold nights or weekends, or when there is a big storm coming, I try and take advantage of the fact that I get to lock myself up inside. Movies, popcorn, cookies, all day pajama-fests.... In sunny, warm weather I'd feel terrible about staying indoors all day so when it's not so sunny and warm it's nice to have an excuse. :)

Plan a weekend away from home. Even a day trip works if the weather cooperates.
Get out of the house with some of the following:
Wolf's 111 or Dave & Buster's

Borrow your significant others make-up light and soak up some artificial rays... or purchase a light therapy box.

Gym, going to movies, walks outside, tubing or ice skating. Getting dinner/drinks out with friends or having gatherings at someone's home are good ways to get out of a funk. Weekend getaways are fun even if you don't go far.

Embrace it! Make warm soups, look at what's on Netflix. Every once in a while, take a break and get some fresh air!

I take walks and plan summer events. Imagining warmer weather and planning great trips makes me happy.

I tend to drink more hard liquor.

Try a new cuisine. One winter I wanted to learn how to make chinese food, so did some research, bought some sauces and made beef and broccoli from scratch. That led to char siu bao and shrimp toasts. I tend to try to cook the winter away.

Spend time learning how to cook! While I'm cooped up inside I figure I'd better make good use of my time! (plus is helps me take my mind off how crappy it is outside)

Take a walk at the Capital Hills golf course. Seeing all the dogs running free and kids sledding always makes me happy.

I like to stay up late and get up really early, continually get coffee on the go, and frequent thrift shops and the Silver Fox.

I like to visit new restaurants. I also make make a point to visit some breweries in the winter. Nothing like beating the cold with a delicious pint of beer.

Daytime: Get out of the house - take a day trip, do anything outside.

Evening: Eat out, then watch a movie out or television at home.

Heat my detached garage up to about 60, grab the dog, and head out to the garage for a nice cigar, a refreshing beverage, and to stare at my motorcycle longingly for about an hour....

Spend time cooking lots of soups and chili.
Enjoy my morning coffee ritual even more than usual.
Nap often and without feeling badly about it.

Walk in the Skidmore woods when it's sunny; exercise at least a little bit 6 days a week; cook; do puzzles and play chess with Addie

Root on the Siena basketball team at the Times Union Center (during a home game, of course. Not just randomly throughout the winter).

I do my best to will warm weather to arrive by cooking my favorite summer dishes, even when it's freezing outside. I also I wear bright spring colors, rather than the greys, browns, and blacks that everyone gravitates to in winter. Who says yellow and lavender aren't year-round colors?!

Buy yourself a lamp (or light bulb) to fight the winter blues. Random choices: NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp (yes, it has therapy in it), Philips Light therapy, etc.

by watching trash TV marathons on bravo, sadly enough!

By participating in an as many random internet contests as I can. Is a random winner really chosen?

Drink warm cider or tea, burn candles, and smnyuggle under a cozy blanket in front of the fire.

I am by no means advocating a seasonal form of alcoholism, but I find winter to be the perfect time to try new brews up and down the state. Develop your palate and explore new tastes!

bowling, snow shoeing, hiking, sledding, and reading by a fire. Of course not all at once

I'm catching up on all those books that came out during the warm months.

Go snowshoeing at Five Rivers or Peebles Island... Watch Syracuse basketball under a blanket on the couch....Watch House Hunters International in Hawaii...or plan a tropical vacation!

Holy crap, everybody sure is active and fit. I was just going to say, "Try to enjoy when the sun is actually shining as you are driving in the car". Simple and obvious, but it does it a little for me.

Winter birding!

Put sweaters on my cats!

Bundle up and grab a few friends and get a nice hot drink from the daily grind. Head to the ESP to skate (especially on a friday, free rentals!). Go home and make a hot stew with all the hearty vegetables from one of our many local farmers markets.
There are countless activities here in the Capital Region and surrounding areas. Winter doesn't have to be can be OK if you keep going and make an effort to have fun.

I try to keep the Christmas spirit going all year long.
Give scratch offs to adults who look like they could use a smile, and lots of cash! If they are amiable ask if their children would like stickers.
Listen to WABY 1160, and dance to their wonderful music!
Cook up new,and exciting meals from scratch.
Mall walk, and people watch!
Talk to radio hosts & and request all the songs i want !
Write my family's dysfunctional history on the groups to embarress my family.

I just complain a lot. It seems to help me. I'm not sure how it affects my friends though.

Going to a movie. There's nothing like sitting in a dark room with a bright screen in front of you taking you away from the outside world.

Soup. Lots of soup.

Go to the gym.

Keep the blinds and curtains open when the sun is actually out. Read beneath a sunny window.

Buy flowers.


BY taking on big projects in the house. If you are busy and feeling productive, I won't feel any blahs, just accomplishment.

Hot cocoa with Baileys. Movies. Day trips.

Cooking, movies and indoor projects that never seem to get done during the sunnier months.

Cuddle with my cats who become much more friendly in the winter. Brew lagers of hard cider. Eat lots of chinese hot pots.

Appreciating the sun any time it makes an appearance. (Thank heavens I finally have an office with a window)

Snowshoeing during the day. The Capital Region is blessed with amazing natural landscapes all over from Plotterskill to Thatcher the Catskills to the ADKs.

Then stop for coffee at Tierra Coffee Roasters in the afternoon and catching one of the oscar nominated films at the Spectrum that evening and dinner from the awesome winter menu at New World Bistro

Pretty perfect methinks

bundle up and go enjoy some nature. get your legs moving and you'll see quick you warm up. experiment in the kitchen, especially with roasting all of those winter squashes. romance, romance, romance.

Each winter at this time I go someplace worse, like Haiti or Yekaterinburg, or Clifton Park. Then, when I get back, I see it's not that bad after all.

I remind myself that we're getting more sunshine every day - once we get over that hump in December, it's just getting better.

two words: boozy brunch.

Light two tealights

Eight if there has been no snow the whole week

Ten extra if you have no children or pets

Float them in a hot bath scented with lavender oil

(if you are a woman)

(and also if you are not)

(because f--- gender roles)

(lavender is where it's at)

Sweep your hand carefully over the surface

The oil won't make snowflake patterns. This keeps winter at bay.

When there's room to slide inside, do it.

All the way

Submerged down to even the tip of your nose

And the top of your holiday-indulgence belly

Count to five.

(No Mississippi)

And say this chant three times in your head quick:



(use your own words if you like)

When you surface, you won't be cold anymore for a while

And in the middle of winter, that's something.

Surround myself with summer smells. My home smells like the beach with coconut scents. Also getting out into the sunshine whenever possible or even in a window at work helps - nice warm sunbeams.

Get outside, it's not bad if you know how to dress.

I embrace the glow of lights and fireplaces. I lose myself in books and movies. I cook - a lot. I buy the softest of blankets and robes and drape myself with them the moment I get home. I take vitamin D every day. I keep extra busy with work and friends. I snuggle with dogs for hours at a time, they double as throw pillows on the sofa. Booze.

Getting into it makes all the difference! Outside stuff: snowshoe, see a frozen waterfall, skate on the plaza (I'm getting less wobbly every time), cross country ski, build a snow caveman, anything that helps you enjoy true winter.

Inside stuff: Binge watch the West Wing and Orange is the New Black, drink hot chocolate everyday, bring a book and have a pint by the Pump Station huge fireplace, try to learn how to play guitar, bake cupcakes.

I need to be active in order to shake off the winter gloom. So restaurants, movies, etc. really don't help. (I do use phototherapy too.)

What does help:

- Ice skating! Empire Plaza, HVCC, Knickerbocker
- Roller skating/blading: Rollerama, Guptill's
- Snow stuff: snowshoeing, cross country skiing, skiing, tubing, snowboarding, sledding
- Exercise/gyms: Planet Fitness for the cheapness, YMCA for the versatility
- Spend time outdoors: take walks (with or without dogs), walk along trails, go to parks (normal or dog ones), walk through downtown Troy or Albany, walk through Washington Park in Albany at sunset for the holiday lights, bike or walk to work if possible
- Indoor activities: bowling (the cheap kind especially!), clubbing (I like the gay clubs), indoor swimming (YMCA or otherwise), rock climbing (AIR, The Edge, the one up in Glens Falls...), long walks through malls or museums

Lots to do, covering most people's interests.

Forcing spring bulbs.
Buying flowers.
Planning vegetable garden.
Going through seed stash.
Reading gardening catalogs.
Shopping for seeds.

Actually the worse (December) is already behind us; the days are getting visibly longer. Now I start to worry that I won't be able to finish in-house projects before the gardening season arrives. It arrives to our house in February. Yep, I start my own seeds.

Have poker/card nights with friends. Go to hockey games. Actually go to the movie theater (something I rarely do during the summer months). Ski and snowshoe. Take walks at Washington Park, especially when it's snowing and the lake is frozen.

I go shopping for spring themed items for my house or apartment.
Or I get a massage.

I go to swimming lessons with my daughter and grandson. The indoor pool and chlorine smell make it feel like summer!

Wait as long as you can... until you can't wait any longer... then push it a little bit more... then cave in and go on vacation some place warm.

Hopefully by the time you get back, there's very little Winter left to bear.

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