I've never been a fan of winter. I imagine my distaste for the season stems from the fact that I've lived in the Northeast my entire life. Snowmen were a decently exciting undertaking at age seven, but I only suffered the drip of icy snow down my coat sleeve for the Swiss Miss that followed. As an adult, I find skiing enjoyable, but if it weren't for "après," I'd be far less excited to strap fiberglass on my feet and careen down a mountain. That said, I need to figure out how to feel less lonely in the winter. When it's five degrees outside, no one wants to "come over and hang" and I certainly don't blame them.
Perhaps it's time I move to California, or perhaps I should realize that breaking my lease is not a wise economic decision, and sort out some more tangible and immediate solutions to my loneliness struggle. I don't know about you, but I'm personally not in the market for one of the far-too-human-adjacent robot dolls I continue to see horrifying articles about on my Facebook feed. I am, however, in the market for items that are less expensive than a trip to Tulum, Mexico, to make me feel less chilly this season. Here are some purchases I'm considering:
1. An Infrared Heat Lamp
No matter how warm your apartment is, there's nothing like the glow of a heat lamp on your face to transport you to a tropical mindset. Even if your island daydream excludes a partner, and instead is simply you on a beach with zero responsibilities, a lamp will help. Feigned sun somehow always makes me feel less lonely. (Maybe it's because the sun was always personified and wearing sunglasses in TV shows I watched as a kid?) And FYI, fluorescent lights can combat Seasonal Affective Disorder. You can get decently priced infrared lamps or bulbs on Amazon; if you have Prime, you'll be feeling warmer in two days time.
2. An Unbound Box
Have you heard of Unbound? This sex-positive, women's subscription box and online shop is a chic place to treat yourself to a vibrator before spending the next month indoors watching Netflix. Nervous about your nosy neighbor making a strange comment about the box in your apartment vestibule? (Pun semi-intended.) Fear not, because Unbound's packaging is completely discreet. Definitely a great way to heat up your winter.
3. An Online Course
Have you been meaning to learn how to use Photoshop? Looking to expand your social media skills? I sound like a podcast ad, but I genuinely think that online classes are a great way to feel productive during the winter months. You don't even need to enroll in an online university; you can simply sign up for a service like Lynda and learn on the cheap from the comfort of your own home.
4. A Hot Yoga Membership
You don't need to be an epic athlete ready to take on a 90-minute, 100-degree Bikram yoga class to get the mind and body benefits of a hot yoga class. I personally swear by Y7 Studio, a candle-lit, infrared-heated vinyasa flow when I'm feeling blue. True, you'll need to walk outside to utilize your membership, but that helps combat winter loneliness too. Not in New York or L.A.? Google "heated vinyasa" and see if there are any trial membership deals in your area.
5. Some Succulents
Starting a home garden in the winter sounds counterintuitive, but there's really nothing stopping you from buying a couple of adorable succulents to place on a shelf in your bedroom this season. Taking care of adorable mini cacti is a great way to both feel productive, and like you're less alone. It sounds a tad strange, but plants are technically alive. Plus, they are a whole lot easier to care for in the winter than a puppy.
Of course, sometimes Seasonal Affective Disorder and winter blues can require a fix larger than a spider plant or a new lamp. I encourage you to reach out to your doctor if your loneliness becomes unbearable or keeps you from living your life. Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: those first days of spring are magical. Hang in there, buy yourself some anti-loneliness treats, and maybe consider a move to a warmer climate next year if winter continues to bum you out. I know I might.
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