How to Beat the Winter Blues in Buffalo, and Any Other Northern City!

How to Beat the Winter Blues in Buffalo, and Any Other Northern City!

Summers in Buffalo are fantastic.  No kidding. If you aren’t from Buffalo, or have never been here, I am seriously not kidding.

Summer in Buffalo begins in May, and lasts through September, and even sometimes into October.  We savor every second of it! Pub crawls, wine tours, garden walks, hiking, biking, sunset river cruises, farmer’s markets, al fresco dining, kayaking, beaches, not to mention the endless round of festivals.  The list goes on and on.  

But every year it happens.

Summer gives way to fall.  And fall gives way to, well, winter

I’m not gonna lie, it’s awesome in November and  December when we’re all excited for the holidays and our first snowfalls.  Yes, you heard right, we (okay, most of us) love our first few snowfalls in Buffalo!  All those holiday lights look better with a little snow around them don’t they?  I mean, we all know to keep an eye on the weather, make sure we have everything we need in our car and we know how to plan to either be home or be safe.  It also helps that an awful lot of us now have the option to work from home if necessary.

Our first snowfall – November 2019.

But the reality is that the holidays and the first few snowfalls give way to January, February and March.  The sun shines less. Temperatures dip. No holidays. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. Work, eat, sleep, repeat.  Dark when you leave for work in the morning. Dark when you’re driving home later. It can be depressing. If you live in Buffalo, or any other northern town, you know what I mean.

But here’s the good news!  It doesn’t have to be this way!  It seriously doesn’t. I mean, we know it’s coming, right?   So, let’s do something about it right now.

These are my go to tips for beating the winter blues this season.  Now, is every one of these ideas going to be right for you? Probably not.  But read them, take a little bit of time to think about them and implement some of them now, before the weather gets really bad. By the time February and March roll around these will already be habits and the next thing you know, it’ll be spring!  

Overlooking Hoyt Lake | Marcy Casino in Buffalo’s Delaware Park.

So here we go:

Get Moving! 

You don’t have to train for a marathon, although feel free to do just that!  We’ve got a great one here in Buffalo in May. Just sayin.

But move.  Whether this means getting on a treadmill, an exercise bike, or walking to the store and back.  Just move. It’s been proven over and over again that moving lifts your mood. So do this every day.  Every. Day. If you’re going to be busy after work, or too tired later in the day, exercise before work or on your lunch hour.  Go for a walk at lunch. It’s quite often all you need. Walk with a friend, or walk alone if you prefer. Plan it, and do it. Find a place indoors to walk when the weather’s really bad.  If you’re downtown, try Main Place Mall, you can even do stairs while you’re there! 😉

If you’re more adventurous, ever tried snowshoeing?  You absolutely do not need to be athletic to snowshoe.  If you can walk, you can do it. Give it a whirl. I did several years ago, and it’s now one of my favorite winter activities.

Buffalo’s Delaware Park after a storm. The day had that quiet, peaceful, insulated feel.

Also try ice skating, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding.  How about sledding with the kids? Or if you’re in Buffalo, why not finally try ice biking?  You heard that right, ice biking is a thing in Buffalo.  

The idea is to find something, anything, that’ll keep you moving all winter.  Stick to one, or try them all. Just move! 

Ice skating at Buffalo’s Canalside.

Eat Right | Stay Healthy  

Seems like a no brainer right?  Get tons of fruits and veggies in you so you can stay healthy.  Think healthy soups, and roasted vegetables, etc. Add plenty of citrus for the vitamin C. Getting sick is a real mood killer, and we cannot afford that in the winter.  

Thinking it might be tough to do over the holidays? You’re right.  But think of it this way. You are not always at parties. When you’re not, eat the way you know you should.  Need a little help with that? This blog post from Victoria over at North Spire Health and Fitness talks about losing weight, but has a lot of good nutrition information as well.  Check it out and see how you should be eating.

When you are at a party, scope out the food, and choose the healthiest offerings.  What if there aren’t any healthy choices? Then only eat a little bit.  Concentrate on the people at the parties and get into conversations. That’s much more enjoyable than overeating junk anyway! 

After the parties end in January, spend a little bit of time researching better eating habits and implement them.  Just doing this alone will help you feel better through till spring. It’ll give you focus and drive to practice better self care.  And let’s face it, we could all use better self care. Just takes a little thought and a little bit of effort on your part. Believe me, it’ll be well worth it! 

Eat the rainbow!

Get outside!  

That’s right, even if it’s cold.  Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Dress for it, and get out there.  Fresh air is always good for you! Remember when you were a kid and you stayed outside playing in the snow with your siblings or your friends?  Think about how good you felt when you came back in to the house. All rosy cheeked and exuberant! I’m telling you, it’s possible to feel that way again.  And it might only take a quick walk around the block for it to happen. Just dress for it, and get out there! Put it in your mind that it’s good for you to be outside, because it is.  We were not meant to be inside all the time. 

Even babies can get out in the cold weather. Dress them for it and don’t stay out too long!

Get Organized | Start Planning for Winter Now!  

Plan some fun stuff to do outside.  Schedule it. Sledding, winter hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding.  Or just regular walks. Whatever you feel like. Plan it, and follow through.  

We like to meet friends at a park that has an indoor lodge a few times in the winter.  Some of us go for a run, some walk, some snowshoe, some cross country ski. Whatever we choose to do, we all meet back at the lodge and have a potluck type snack.  It’s very casual. Some bring coffee, tea, hot cocoa. Some bring fruit, or muffins etc. You get the idea. We visit, we laugh, have fun, and feel the love among friends.  We make new friends too, because someone’s always bringing someone new. The more the merrier. And when you’re feeling merry, you are most definitely not feeling blue.

One of our ‘after parties’ at Chestnut Ridge Park near Buffalo. We may or may not have had mimosas that day!

Someone has to plan it though.  Why not you? Or you and a friend?  The point is, don’t wait for someone else to plan it, or it might never happen.

Big groups not your style?  Simply take a walk around your neighborhood.  Say hello to the people you meet on the street.  I’ve gotten into the most wonderful conversations with people I meet while out walking. 

Idea:  if you’ve never done it, take a walk in the newly fallen snow.  Or when it’s Charlie Brown snowing. You know what I mean, when there’s no wind and there are big fluffy flakes gently falling.  When you go out for a walk then, there’s this awesome quiet, peaceful, insulated feeling in the air. Unless you’ve done it and know what I mean, it’s very difficult to describe.  Take my word for it and try it. You’ll be glad you did.

Buffalo’s Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center.

Be consistent with this part.  Whatever your thing is, plan to do it every day, three times a week, every week, whatever you choose.  If you slack off, no need to give it up. Just pick it back up again and move forward.  You got this.

Embrace Winter!  

Already the social media posts are starting.  It’s so cold. This wind is going right through me.  Ugh, here comes the snow. And now that we’ve gotten our first real snowfall in Buffalo and many other northern cities as well, the full-on complaining has commenced.  

Come on people.  Let’s learn to embrace some of the things we cannot change.  I once heard something on this subject that has stuck with me for years. I don’t remember where it’s from but it goes something like this: 

“If you don’t figure out a way to find the joy in snow, then you will have much less joy in your life, but still the same amount of snow.”  

When the streets are closed and school’s been cancelled, get out in the yard with the kids, and help them build a snow fort.  They’ll never forget it. Check on your elderly neighbors, it’ll mean so much to them to know someone remembered them, and it’ll make you feel good.  Or invite a few neighbors over for a ‘storm party’. You might be surprised at the response.

Get exuberant!

Even if you don’t enjoy going out in the snow to play, find some way to appreciate it.  Hunker down with a good book and a great cup of hot cocoa, watch a netflix marathon, or have a family game night.  Enjoy each other. Appreciate the chance to slow down and enjoy the quiet, cozy times. 

Hot cocoa from Buffalo’s Sweet_ness 7 Cafe. That’ll warm you up!

This winter, channel that inner child, the one who used to come in from an afternoon of snowball fights and igloo building exuberant!  But use all that you’ve learned as an adult to enjoy this winter. Start planning now and you’ll feel better, you’ll sleep better, and your overall health will improve right through to spring!  

And to all of you who live in the south, you don’t know what you’re missing! 

On the grounds of Buffalo’s Hotel Henry Urban Resort and Conference Center.

North, south, east or west, keep an eye on the weather forecasts, be prepared and have a great winter everyone! 

Comment below and tell us how you plan to enjoy your winter!

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