How to Survive a New England Winter

Somedays, New England winters really are the worst. Waking up to ten degree temperatures and a frosted windshield is never fun, but the lack of snow in January really emphasizes my winter blues. That being said, we persist. We did choose to live here, after all.

There are certain rules I think all New Englanders follow come January. There are certain tricks of the trade for surviving the three long months that follow the holiday season. Whether you spend your days bundled up inside or embracing the cold, it’s easy to agree that the more you embrace the unpredictability of the weather, the quicker the days go by.

ONE// Get Yourself a Warm Winter Coat

In the fall, I splurged on a full length, down to my ankles, puffy parka. I remember mentioning it to my cousin, a bit guilty about spending a little more than I normally would have. She simply laughed and ensured me that a good coat is never a splurge, but a necessity come winter. I felt a little better; she’s lived in Vermont for a few years, so it’s safe to say, her judgement is sound. Fast forward a few months and I can confirm that paying a bit extra is worth it. Having a warm, reliable winter coat in your closet makes all the difference.

TWO// Find Entertaining Outdoor Activities

Winter days definitely lack the Vitamin D filled shine of the summer, but fresh air still has remarkable effects. I believe that the more frequently you get outside, the better you feel, and in New England there is a plethora of winter sports available. Cold temperatures mean snow and ice. Snow and ice mean skiing, skating, hockey, snowmobiling, hiking, and snowshoeing. The more active you are, the warmer your body is, and the less likely you are to even notice that it’s below freezing. Plus, these activities are a great way to get friends together to do something other than wine and dine. All in all, us New Englanders know to embrace the weather for what it is and to use it to our advantage.

THREE// Make the Most of the Indoors

I’ve found that evenings in the winter are particularly difficult. The sun sets at 4:30 and there are still a few hours before it’s acceptable to crawl into bed for the night. That being said, making the most of the things you can do indoors will definitely keep your spirits up. Cooking is a great example of this. The kitchen is warm and a home cooked meal is exactly what you need most days to get you out of a funk. It’s also fun to experiment and try out new things with all that avaliable time you have. My other suggestions- reading, listening to music, playing music, or any form of art.

FOUR// Start Planning for Warmer Weather

This tip may seem counter productive, but the more you have to look forward to in the spring and summer months ahead, the easier it will be to make it through the long winter days at present. It’s nice to have beach days and trips abroad to think about when your nose is frozen and you can’t feel your fingers. Sometimes, I’ll just flip my calendar to warmer months and spend a few moments considering the possibilities.

FIVE// Hibernate

Grab a blanket, brew a cup of tea, and dive into a great book or a new Netflix series (my recommendations: White Fragility by Robin Diangelo and “The Kominsky Method”). When there’s a foot of snow between you and your car, no one is going to blame you for staying in. So, take advantage of the winter weather and hunker down. Bake some cookies. Rearrange your furniture. Build a fort. Observe a snow day the proper way: indoors.

What are your tips for surviving a New England winter, or winter anywhere, for that matter?

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