Winter may be coming, but don’t won’t let the chill ruin your vibe! As grown-ups, we often get caught up in the monotony of life and forget to have fun. But instead of feeling down and out this season, let’s make it one of the most thrilling ones yet! Let’s break the mundane routine and make this winter memorable by exploring new adventures and rediscovering play as an adult. Take the plunge, try winter sports, or host a game night with your friends. How about unleashing your creativity and diving into an arts and crafts project? These activities will create unforgettable memories, uplift your mood, and help fight seasonal depression. So, let’s tap into our inner child and let the excitement of play run wild this winter!
Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder in New York
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs during the same season each year due to shorter days and lack of sunlight. Many people experience symptoms during winter that subside come spring, but struggle with a disrupted circadian rhythm and lower serotonin levels during what is meant to be a festive time of year. In treating seasonal depression, light therapy can help, but fun activities and exploring new things can also naturally boost mood.
Do I have seasonal depression?
Symptoms to watch out for:
- Feeling depressed, hopeless, or irritable
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Physical aches and pains
- Feeling less sociable
- Sleeping longer than usual and struggling to wake up in the morning
Seasonal Affective Disorder and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Managing SAD is possible with the help of dialectical behavior therapy. DBT teaches practical skills to help individuals manage stress and negative emotions effectively, with tools and handy acronyms you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Some critical DBT skills to combat SAD include:
- Mindfulness: Spending time daily focused on your breathing and the present moment. Help reduce negative rumination about the lack of light or warm weather.
- Distress tolerance: Learning to accept uncomfortable situations and emotions without worsening them. Remind yourself winter is temporary and the seasons will change.
- Emotion regulation: Identifying negative emotions and choosing strategies to improve your mood. Plan a fun indoor activity instead of isolating yourself.
- Interpersonal effectiveness: Strengthening relationships and social connections. Make plans to call a friend or meet up with others even when you don’t feel like it.
How to Embrace Winter and Rediscover Playfulness
Enjoy the season by indulging in adventurous activities and having fun. Playfulness is not limited to just kids; it is also essential for adults. So, why not make the most of winter by filling your free time with thrilling experiences? Get out there, have some fun, and make the most of winter with all the exciting things it offers.
Here are some suggestions to make the most of the winter season:
Tap into Your Inner Child
Take a break from your routine and unleash your creativity with an art project. Get your hands dirty with a thrilling science experiment. Or let your imagination run wild with unstructured playtime and let your inner child out to play. The possibilities are endless!
To stay motivated during the winter season, it’s great to have exciting events to look forward to. Consider planning a trip to see an ice hotel, or some of New York City’s fantastic light displays. Trying new, thrilling winter activities with loved ones can create cherished memories that will warm your heart all season.
Notice the little details that make winter magical. Watch snow gently falling, the sunrise painting the sky vibrant colors, or trees glistening with ice. Appreciate moments of stillness and the crispness in the air. Finding beauty in small things helps shift your mindset to a more positive state.
Best Outdoor Things to Do in New York: Winter Activities for Grown-Ups
There are plenty of thrilling outdoor activities to embrace this time of year. Not only will you get some much-needed sunlight exposure, but you’ll also improve your mood and overall mental well-being. So, bundle up, grab some hot cocoa, and enjoy all that winter in New York has to offer.
Consider some of the following activities for your winter schedule:
New York offers iconic outdoor ice skating at Rockefeller Center and Central Park, providing playful thrills and excellent exercise. Falling is part of the fun, so bring a friend for support and laughs.
Sledding and Tubing
Looking for some downhill excitement? Pilgrim Hill in Central Park and Battle Hill in Prospect Park are popular spots for this activity. Flying down a snowy hill awakens your inner child and provides a thrilling adrenaline rush.
Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing
If you want a peaceful winter adventure, consider strapping on snowshoes or cross-country skis and exploring snow-covered trails. New York parks such as Harriman State Park and Bear Mountain State Park offer scenic trails that provide opportunities to spot wildlife. The rhythm and crunching of snow beneath your feet can give a soothing and meditative experience.
Building a Snowman or Going Sled Dogging
Unleash your creativity and playfulness by building a snowman or going sled dogging. You can gather your friends to create a frosty friend or experience the excitement of sled dog racing by taking a thrilling ride on a dog-powered sled. Events like the Iditarod Sled Dog Rally in Saranac Lake provide an excellent opportunity to witness the sport of sled dog racing in action.
Fresh air and exercise can release endorphins that positively impact your mood. Winter wonderlands are waiting to be explored, allowing you to rediscover the beauty of nature. You can also revisit the activities you loved as a child and experience the joy they bring.
Our recommended outdoor activities:
- Bundle up and walk in a snowy park during the brightest part of the day.
- Have a snowball fight
- Relive childhood memories by making snow angels and igloos.
Indoor Play Ideas: Crafts, Games, and More
As the temperatures drop, it can be tempting to become a couch potato. However, spending too much time indoors during the winter can hurt your mood and mental health. This winter, challenge yourself to engage in regular indoor activities. Not only will it improve your mood, but it will also help make the long nights pass more quickly.
Reconnect Through Games
Playing board, card, and video games is an excellent way to socialize, have fun with friends and family, or pass the time alone. Whether you have a gaming console, handheld device, phone, or even just a kitchen table, there are numerous classic and newer games that you can enjoy.
Some games you might be interested in playing:
- Charades or Pictionary
- Challenge yourself with a complex Lego set or a game of Jenga.
- Put your mind to the test with Clue, Chronicles of Crime, or Letters to Whitechapel.
- Try video games like Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, or Super Mario Run
- Puzzle games like Sudoku, crosswords, or word searches.
Get creative with DIY projects like homemade cards, dream catchers, painted flowerpots, or vision boards. Crafting releases dopamine, the feel-good hormone, and allows you to express yourself. Invite some friends for an afternoon of crafting cocktails, snacks, and creativity.
Some additional examples of other indoor activities:
- Put on a movie or TV show (Consider rewatching a childhood favorite!).
- Engage in relaxing activities like reading in a warm bath.
- Play music and dance around while baking cookies.
- Repurpose old mugs by creating holiday-inspired homemade candle
Mental Health Benefits of Rediscovering Play as an Adult
Incorporating fun and playful activities into your daily routine can positively impact your mental well-being and overall mood. Engaging in enjoyable activities can trigger natural chemicals in your body that make you happier and more relaxed. This winter, have fun and make the most of the season.
Playing has multiple advantages for adults, which include:
Engaging in playful activities can help release endorphins, natural stress relievers. Winter sports provide an adrenaline rush to help alleviate anxiety and worry. Alternatively, indoor games can help tap into your creativity, increase socialization, and induce laughter when shared with friends or family.
Puzzle and strategy board games can challenge your mental capacity by requiring problem-solving, logic, and critical thinking. This keeps your mind active and agile and can help prevent cognitive decline as you age. Learning a new craft or skill can also boost brain health by creating neural pathways.
Thriving in a New York Winter with Suffolk DBT
Winter can be a challenging season, with shorter days and colder weather. But don’t let that get you down! Embrace this time of year with a sense of play and adventure, there are so many things to do in New York this time of year! Rediscover the joy of childhood games and activities, and spend quality time with loved ones. From building a snowman to exploring winter trails, there are endless opportunities for fun and connecting with others. Bundle up, warm your heart, and let play lift your mood. You might even find a newfound appreciation for the season.
Remember, if you’re struggling with SAD, depression, or anxiety, it’s okay to seek professional help. At Suffolk DBT, we understand that the holidays can bring up a range of emotions that can be difficult to navigate. We offer evidence-based therapy to help you cope with these complex feelings in a supportive and compassionate environment. Call for your free consultation today and take the first step towards a happier, healthier you!