Because Seasonal Depression Is a Real Thing: 8 Best Ways to Combat Winter Blues in NYC

Okay, so seasonal depression is an actual, real thing, and you might have it. No, you don't have to be diagnosed by a doctor to have it. You just have to notice yourself getting sadder about the fact that it's so dark and so cold outside all the time.

Even if that's a somewhat trivial summary of it, remember that it's totally real, and it's totally normal. We're not trying to minimize it. If you have real depression, you can't just be cheered up by someone telling you to cheer up. We recognize that.

However, if you're down and out due to the lack of exposure to sunlight, or how much of a bummer it is that it's freezing outside, we might be able to help you out.

We have some pretty good ideas about how to cheer yourself up in New York City during the dark, desolate days of January. Yes, one of them is seeing a comedy show. Yes, another is sneaking into CitiPups in Chelsea to play with the puppies.

Want some more ideas about how to survive this winter, and beat the winter blues? We've got them. Read on to find them out.

1. Hot chocolate

__iamrachelle__ Mmmmm nothing like a delicious hot chocolate on a chilly night! Who wants to share?! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜‹

Stick with us on this one. Sometimes, there's nothing better than walking through a cold and freezing night, letting the delicious warmth of a hot beverage wash down your throat.

Sure, you can substitute any other hot beverage for hot chocolate, but, you know, why?


You can grab a chai tea latte or a regular latte or even go to Starbucks and grab a flat white. Did you hear they have flat whites at Starbucks now? Anyone who's spent time in Australia knows what we're talking about. They're the real deal.

When you're walking through a cold night, and you're walking past, let's say the Time Warner Center, and they haven't taken down their Christmas lights yet, and you're sipping a hot chocolate-- because of all of this coming together, the winter doesn't seem so bad.

2. Cuddling

markimooster2001 I Can't wait to cuddle with my boyfriend. πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜™πŸ˜œπŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜ΆπŸ˜ŒπŸ˜— #Cuddling #love is the same. #gay af

This doesn't need to be romantic cuddling. It's perfectly cool to have a platonic cuddle session in the middle of winter with a totally platonic pall.

It's totally cool to rock off your winter blues as a totally single person; cuddling is definitely not just for people in relationships.

Even guys can cuddle with their friends. We are so not about societal gender restrictions here. Cuddling even causes your brain to release oxytocin, which inspires good feelings in your brain, and boosts your immune system.

Plus, it helps reduce stress. Also, if you are cuddling with a romantic person, it might lead to other fun activities. Like... monopoly!

3. Exercise

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Blah, blah, blah, having to work out is lame; we get it. It also really, really helps boost your mood though. We're sorry, but if you want to cheer yourself up, we really can't think of a better way than working out.

So just do it. Join a gym. Take a class. Spend a fortune on SoulCycle or FlyWheel, or spend less of a fortune on Yoga to the People.


We absolutely guarantee if you're getting exercise, you'll be less sad. Plus, it'll make it easier for you to feel better about the whole pizza you stuffed in your face after the bar last weekend, so it's a win-win.

4. Sweatpants

_denniskoehler_ And we are out #sleepyhead #sweatpants #puppy #dog #night #nightynight #instapuppy #dogsofinstagram

Who said NYC was the fashion capital of the world? No one. Or maybe someone did say that, but we weren't listening. We were too busy chilling on the couch in our sweatpants, eating Doritos. 

The best part about wintertime is that you get to cuddle under blankets, in your sweatpants, and guiltlessly consume an entire box of Cheez-Its. When you run out of Cheez-Its, you can just order Seamless. That's how the winter in NYC works.

It would be way worse to chill under blankets in July. That's the main thing you need to remember about making it through the winter in NYC in good spirits.


5. Seamless

On the days you don't feel like talking to anyone, you don't have to. Maybe the best part about NYC is that it's socially acceptable to move about your commute, encountering hundreds, and making eye contact with zero.

Or, maybe you do have to talk to someone at work, we don't know, but you definitely don't at home. 


With the click of a button, you can have a delicious slice of fresh NYC pizza topped with ricotta cheese (our favorite) or even penne (only in NYC) zooming to your door by a delivery man who's perfectly happy to hand you your strangely topped pizza and not have a conversation.

It isn't just Seamless that runs this game. Want alcohol at your door? Try Drizly, or Swill. Or MiniBar or Highball. See what we mean? NYC has the delivery game on lock.

6. Get out of the city

nyonair @canaanjohn | @flynyon NY πŸšπŸ“·πŸ’₯

Sometimes, just for your sanity, you need to hightail it out of the five boroughs. A change of pace could be just what the doctor ordered for your seasonal depression, and catching the mountains or lakes upstate could be just the mood boost you need. 

Sometimes the endless blocks of concrete and buildings can get to us. Sometimes, the lack of pretty lakes and trees and stars can get us down in the winter.

So treat yourself to a trip to Florida. Or, if you can't afford to take time off and leave for a weekend, explore a borough you've never been to before. Like we said, sometimes you just need to change your surroundings to change your whole mood.

7. Spa treatment

saqimehta Bliss. #aireancientbaths #heaven #tribeca #zen

Pampering yourself is a tried and tested way to let yourself know you care about yourself. Directing your care and attention to your personal needs is key in the fight to overcome this season's winter woes.

Get a first-rate massage or a rejuvenating facial relaxing in the hot baths at Aire Ancient Baths. Treat yourself to the champagne, tea, and snacks in Setai Club and Spa's lounge, or chill out in any other NYC spas


Do any of that, and we're confident you'll remember that winter in NYC isn't that bad.

After all, winter was your excuse for the spa treatment, wasn't it? Winter can be a super convenient excuse sometimes.

8. Explore

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Okay, we already advised you to get out of the city. But did you know you can explore the city without venturing too far from the subway?

That's right. If you live in Queens and you ride the M train, why not try venturing to the depths of Brooklyn on the F train? If you live on the 1, 2, or 3 lines, check out all the excellent activities you can do near those lines' stops, without braving too much of the cold!

Plus, there's got to be some parts of the city you haven't yet seen. Grab a friend and go see the New York Botanical Garden, or the High Line, or the MoMa. Staying in and watching Netflix the whole winter is not all the rage always, though sometimes it definitely is. 

Check out 7 Best Places to Get the Most Out of NYC Snow

[Feature Image Courtesy Instagram] 

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