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How to Beat the Winter Doldrums

BY RELEVANT ISSUE 49 / LIFE January 03, 2011

1 TACKLE A NEW HOBBY

It can be tempting to retreat from the cold and complain to your Twitter followers from the sofa. Instead, consider the talents you always wished you’d cultivated, and enroll in a class for an exclusively indoor activity. Rather than being a shut-in, you could become an amateur painter, raw food chef, tap dancer, pianist, scrapbooker or rock-climber. Did you get a new gadget, cookbook or tool for Christmas? Plan to conquer it by spring.

2 HUDDLE TOGETHER FOR WARMTH

OK, not literally. But look for unique opportunities to create community during the winter months. Deliver sweaters, hot meals or drinks to the homeless. Plan a rotational dinner schedule with your neighbors and meet at each other’s houses once a week. Make plans for a game night with that new co-worker you’ve yet to bond with. Host a post-holiday family gathering that has absolutely nothing to do with presents or calendars.

3 MOVIE MARATHON

It might seem cliché, but get creative. Strip the beds and couches, and construct a massive living room fort. Maybe break out glow-in-the- dark stars and call it an indoor drive-in. Then, pick a collection of films and work through them chronologically: Alfred Hitchcock classics. Old Disney cartoons. The Ernest P. Worrell series. After you’ve made your selection, invite some friends to bring snacks and sleeping bags and claim a portion of your living room floor.

4 BRAVE THE ELEMENTS

Come July, you know you’re going to be missing the wintry white scenery, the chilly temperatures, the chapped knuckles. Well, maybe you won’t. But you might as well revel in the season while you can. Bundle up in your favorite coat you won’t be able to wear in two months. Drink coffee on the porch. Go for a (brisk) walk. Just a half-hour a day outside could revitalize you—and make being stuck indoors seem more inviting.

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