It's that time of year when it seems like winter might never end and we'll be stuck in this freezing cold purgatory forever. The rest of winter is bearable: December has loads of fun holidays; January flies by in a blur of recovering from the holidays. But February. Ugh—February is BLEAK. There's nothing really buoying you, no sense of festivity to keep you jolly. The novelty of wearing cute layers and crunching fresh snow is over. Every day is a slog, quite literally, as you plow your way through icy streets. Every night is sleepless as you lie in bed needing to pee, too cold to get up and go to the bathroom, and yet unable to fall asleep because your bladder is bursting.
But it's not all doom and gloom! February is also one month closer to spring, and while everything might feel cold and hopeless right now, we can pass the time with some optimism knowing that as much as our paranoia might say that we're going to be stuck like this forever, we actually won't. Soon it will warm up, and we'll have roughly one month of being comfortable outdoors before we start complaining about how it's too friggin' hot. Because that's what we do with seasons: we complain about them. Here are 11 things you can do to distract yourself from your seasonal blues until the grass is green again:
1. Make some home improvements
You're home all the time right now anyway, right? Between it being too cold on the weekend to go out for drinks (or anything really) and all the snow days, winter is a great time to make home improvements. And I don't mean a pillow and blanket fort (although please feel free to build these at will): Put up those shelves you've been meaning to put up for the last six months. Dust in places you've never dusted before. Tidy up all your TV cables. Even though you're stuck indoors, you can still make yourself feel useful and productive by spending time doing useful and productive things rather than just sitting around binge watching bad TV on Netflix.
2. Learn how to grow plants indoors
This is my latest obsession, so I had to include it. I haven't actually started growing anything yet, but I've been doing a lot of reading up online. The easiest things to grow indoors seem to be herbs and strawberries, although you can grow practically anything inside with the right resources. And you can order everything you need online from sites like Amazon, so you can work that green thumb without ever going outside. Other fun plant-related things to do include cultivating sprouts from lentils (super easy) and making plants grow out of old avocado seeds, sweet potato heads and carrot tops (you remember school, right?).
3. Have a movie night with all your friends
Everyone knows movie nights are more fun than going out, it's just that no one under the age of 27 would ever admit it. What makes movie nights even more fun is friends. Invite a bunch of people around, have everyone bring delicious snacks and booze, and all settle in for a giant snuggle and movie-watching night. It's a much happier alternative to doing it alone for the millionth time this winter.
4. Drink wine
When all else fails, a bottle of red will chase the winter blues away!
5. Bake something delicious
Baking is both fun and delicious. Spend some time in the kitchen to pep your spirits, and then spend a bunch of time eating the fruits of your labors as an extra level up. I think cooking is really good for your soul, and it's a great skill that everyone should have. Baking, by the same token, is like vodka for the soul and it's the kind of skill that will carry you through countless occasions in your life from parties to thank you gifts to new neighbors to new jobs and winters alone at home, with absolute grace and yumminess.
6. Go to a crappy but good diner and get coffee and pie
You don't have to stay in your apartment all the time! Take yourself out, or grab a friend/lover, and head to your closest crappy-but-good diner. Take a booth seat and order a massive slice of pie and a coffee. Sit and people watch, or gossip about something fun, and feel your iced over winter heart begin to melt with the hum of human life around you and the ultimate cosiness of it all.
7. Start a Pinterest board for all your Spring wardrobe wishes
A great way to shake off the sads is to give yourself something to look forward to. Every single retailer is flogging their spring ranges right now, and lucky for us, by the time we're ready to actually start buying spring clothes, they'll be on sale. Create your own little spring fantasy land in the form of a Pinterest board (or as my mother calls it, Pin Interest) and get to pinning all the cutest, flippy spring dresses you can find.
8. Go for a weekend wood cabin get away
Just because it's winter, it doesn't mean you can't go on vacation. Find a log cabin somewhere in the middle of the wilderness with a big open hearth in it and head on over for a weekend nestled away in your own little bear-skin-rugged pocket of warmth amongst the snow. If you know how to ski, go do that. A change of scenery from your apartment and the grey sludge-filled city streets will change your outlook on the chilly season by reminding you that there's beauty in all the blizzardy mayhem.
9. Call your mom
Fact: mom will make you feel better. If not your mom, call the person who always puts a smile on your dial. Snuggling up on the couch with a cup of tea and FaceTime is a nice little reminder that the world and the people you love are still out there somewhere, and even though you feel cold and cooped up, there are still plenty of laughs to be had.
10. Explore your city
Winter is a really great time to get acquainted with the weird stuff in your city. I mean, did you know there's a "Gangster Museum" in New York? I do, because I've been. It's definitely dank and strange, but fun and made for a good story nonetheless. Every city has weird things hidden within it just waiting to be found, from used book stores to niche museums and galleries. Because you're so invested in being outside/socializing during the other three seasons, use winter as a chance for discovery. As Aladdin would say, and I'm paraphrasing, go on a magic carpet ride and open your eyes to see the world within the world of your city.
11. Dance around your apartment
Remember the thing I said about wine? The same goes for dancing. Whenever you're feeling the winter blues, put a playlist of all your favorite songs on full blast and dance around your house like the biggest maniac ever. It will get the blood pumping and also make you feel like you're in your own '80s teen movie. May the spirit of left shark be with you forever and always, amen.
Photos: Getty Images; Giphy (6)