Beat the Winter Blues

The bitter cold has set in and with it, a wave of seasonal boredom. Avoid this wintertime slump by taking the opportunity to explore new Cape May County destinations while the crowds are still at bay. Throw your very own Winter Wonderland themed party with your closest friends or enjoy some “me” time while picking up a new personal hobby. Check out our complete list of suggestions to beat the winter blues and keep spirits up even as temperatures drop. Though a summer destination, Cape May County can and should be enjoyed in all its wintry glory.

1. Try a new restaurant.
Consult the “Do The Shore” section of this edition of the Cape May County Herald for a full directory of year-round dining destinations and the scoop on all of their specials, deals, and entertainment. For menus and a more thorough rundown on each of these premiere establishments, visit Early Bird deals are a great wintertime option, allowing you to be seated just before the scenic sunset while saving you a pretty penny. Bon appétit!

2. Craft your very own Winter Wonderland themed party.
With shorter days and a cooler climate, the wintertime is a great excuse to throw an indoor party and warm up with a few cocktails. Begin by setting a date and time for your party. Try to avoid holiday weekends, and take your guests’ work schedules into account. It may be a good idea to host your party on a Friday or Saturday evening when people are less likely to have other obligations.

Your winter cocktail party should feel cozy and inviting. Add seasonal accents related to snowmen, snowflakes, icicles, and other cold weather related items.

A chili bar is an excellent choice for food setup. Not only does the chili warm guests up, but it also provides a hearty base meal for those looking to have a few cocktails. Plus, chili can be done a number of ways. Prepare several hotdogs and plate them on buns for partygoers to create their very own chili dogs. Boil a box of pasta so that guests may top it with the chili and shredded cheese. Next, throw a few batches of frozen French fries in the oven and add them to the chili bar so diners can opt for a plate of chili fries made to order. Finish off your DIY display with giant bowl of tortilla chips and a half dozen baked potatoes, also the perfect picks for your homemade chili topping.

For dessert, hot chocolate topped with marshmallows is always a safe bet. Powdered donuts give off that “fresh snow” appearance and are a cheap and easy grab at the grocery store. Bake a tray of homemade sugar snowman cookies to give your party a personal touch. Place two balls of dough next to each other on the tray so that they are lightly touching. They will bake together, giving each double cookie the body of a snowman. Decorate each snowman with vanilla icing and candy eyes.

The selection of cocktails will be up to you, but it is a good idea to have a well-stocked bar with spirits, wine, beer, and one or two seasonally-themed drinks. Spiked eggnog, mulled wine, warm apple cider, and buttered rum are all examples of seasonal alcoholic beverages. You may want to prepare a large punch bowl full of one of these beverages. Be sure to have more than enough glasses in case guests want to sample multiple drinks. Happy hosting!

3. Complete a DIY home project.
You know that creaky step you never got the chance to repair? Or that closet organizer you purchased but haven’t had the chance to assemble? The winter months offer the perfect down time to make home improvements while the cold weather is keeping you indoors. Once the beautiful summer season approaches, it becomes harder and harder to commit yourself to a time consuming, indoor project.

4. Adopt a new indoor hobby.
You know that one subject or craft that has always piqued your interest, but to which you have never found the time to devote? Cold winter nights are the perfect opportunity to pick up a new indoor hobby. Want to learn to sew your very own winter accessories? Join the Avalon Library for its weekly Knitting Club every Monday from 3:30 to 4:30 pm. Beginner and advanced knitters meet and share tips and techniques. Scrapbooking, cooking, origami, picking up a new instrument, and even learning a new language – there is a plethora of indoor hobbies fit to fight boredom on the coldest of days.

5. Get gaming.
Family game night is a great way to get the whole crew together without leaving the comfort (and warmth) of your own home. The classics, such as Monopoly, Life, and Scrabble, are always a good choice, but incorporate some more modern options, such as Apples to Apples or Cranium, to keep things interesting.

6. Get moving!
Exercise equals an increased release of endorphins. It is a well-known fact that most are likely tired of hearing, but the physical benefits of endorphins cannot be stressed enough. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, comparable to that of morphine. This brief sense of euphoria, better known as “runner’s high”, can also be accompanied by a more positive outlook on life. This boost of positivity wards off any symptoms of seasonal depression that may be creeping in.

Amazingly, endorphins also act as analgesics, meaning they diminish an individual’s perception of pain. They have also been proven to act as sedatives in some cases, lending a sense of calm to frequent exercisers. Last but certainly not least, exercise boosts self-esteem and improves self-image. Get moving now and you can look forward to a serious boost in confidence just in time for skin-baring summer attire. What better time to work on the coveted “beach body” than the cold, winter months when you can still enjoy the luxury of covering up?

Stay up-to-date on fun local events set for the winter months with our weekly Do The Shore Column – the authority on who, when, where, and what is happening throughout Cape May County. Be sure to consult our winter advertisers’ weekly specials for even more great ideas on defeating the winter blues.

By Meg Kummer