Given what we know about depression, it’s important to stay engaged and active during the winter months when sometimes all we want to do is stay home. With depression and mood disorders often come isolation and avoidance, which can understandably become exacerbated with the snow and ice outside. A huge barrier that holds people back, and one that I frequently hear from clients, is that “It’s too cold to go out!” We totally get it and at the same time, still want to encourage you to get going.
In an effort to increase your connection with the world around you, we are going to teach you a little bit about behavior activation. Behavior activation is a therapy term that means engaging in activities you once enjoyed (or still do enjoy) in an effort to improve mood. It can be especially helpful if you track your mood-lifting activities on a daily basis on a calendar app, in your phone notes, or on a sheet of paper at home. Feel free to participate in activities alone or better yet, with others if you can!
Let’s work together to share your Netflix/Hulu/flannel pajama time with some activities located outside of the house. Here’s a helpful list of wallet-friendly ideas for getting out there in NYC, even when it’s chilly out! None of these are paid advertisements and just happen to be some of our faves.
Take your work or reading for pleasure to the public library. It’s a beautiful, expansive space with huge windows that will keep you cozy and also make you feel brighter. Check out a book, attend an event or an art talk, or peruse the library shop. It’s an NYC treasure that’s worth a visit, particularly during the winter months. https://www.nypl.org/locations/schwarzman
Keep your body moving. Since this probably won’t include a walk in the chilly outdoors, give yoga a try. Yoga to the People offers many donation-based classes at locations throughout the city. They even offer hot yoga which can help you to feel especially relaxed and flexible during the winter months. Their classes are accessible and friendly. Even if you just want a good stretch, this is a great place to do it. Warm it up! https://yogatothepeople.com/
You’ve probably heard, go to “dinner and a movie,” a million times. This is not your typical theater or night out. Hit up a place like Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn. They play the latest and most interesting flicks in the city. A friendly server greets you when you sit down and takes your order for dinner or a snack. They even offer paired food and drink for the movies they are showing. Place your order, nibble on some delicious grub, and enjoy the cinema offerings they have. https://nitehawkcinema.com/williamsburg/
Volunteer any of your free time (we know it’s hard to find). Not only will you be keeping yourself engaged during the winter months, you’ll be helping others as well. Help collect winter coats for others, mentor students, teach kids to make healthy snacks and meals, or deliver food to homebound seniors. An organization like NYCares is bound to have a project you’ll be interested in. You might even meet some new friends along the way. https://www.newyorkcares.org/
Ever heard of a cat cafe? A place to hang with adorable cats while you snack on sweet treats and sip warm coffee? We’ve got you covered. If you’d like to leave the house but still be in “chill” mode, head down to Meow Parlour in Soho, where you can pet your fluffy friends and relax to your heart’s content. Best part is, no litter clean up or having to worry when you’re ready to go. Spending time with animals can serve as a potent antidote to the winter blues. https://www.meowparlour.com/concept/
We know many of you are up on the latest things to do in New York. Let us know your ideas for beating the chilly temps and staying active this holiday season! We will share our favorites that we learn from you on the blog.