There are two kinds of people in this world: people who love winter, and people who think those people are lying. As the climes get colder, it gets a little more challenging to stay active, stay social, and spend time outdoors. You may not always have the desire or the gear to brave the cold weather for socially-distanced outdoor activities. These slower months call for bundling up, reading books, playing games by the fireside, and exploring the Great Indoors. Here are five fun ideas for making the most out of the upcoming winter season.
For the fearless fitness enthusiast: Cold Weather Running
Rates of loneliness, fatigue, depression, and social withdrawal tend to shoot up during times of the year when there is less sunlight throughout the day; this is often called seasonal affect disorder or seasonal depression. One way to stay healthy and combat the winter blues is by engaging in regular exercise and spending time outdoors.
For many seasoned runners, the winter doesn’t stop them from hitting the road or the trail, no matter how cold. You don’t have to be a seasoned runner to try cold weather running. You can still enjoy this new healthy habit if you keep a few important tips in mind:
- Pick the right gear. Don’t overdress yourself to the point of overheating, but don’t underdress yourself to the point of not staying warm enough. Think layers! Seasoned winter runners also make sure they have a hat, gloves, a mask, and a neck gaiter.
- Start with a moisture-wicking base layer. You will still sweat during a winter run. If moisture and sweat stays on your skin during a winter run, you will actually feel colder as the sweat sits there.
- Stay visible. Make sure your layers are all highly visible or reflective. This helps you stay visible to cars or other runners on the trail. If you’ve got a good stash of running clothes but nothing is visible, your local sporting goods store will have a variety of lightweight reflective vests that can be worn on top.
- Stretch and stay hydrated! Running experts usually recommend dynamic stretching over static stretching. It is also extremely important to stay hydrated during winter runs. While ice-cold water is refreshing for warmer runs, experts suggest to keep a small bottle of room-temperature or warm water handy during your workout.
For the visionary: City-Building Games
If you’re the type to look at the world and think “How can we make this better?”, then city building games may be right for you. These games put you in control of developing and maintaining functioning virtual worlds and lets you realize your own personal designs and ideas for the perfect city. Lovers of SimCity and Cities: Skylines know how city building and imaginative play can consume hours of your life before you know it!
The classic game of choice, Cities: Skylines, is still one of the best games on the market, with a rich online community where you can get mods and expansion packs. Similar games would be SimCity, Banished, Surviving Mars, Railway Empire, and Frostpunk.
For the wintertime pod: Tabletop Board Games
Gather your friends and family by the fireplace or on a sturdy dining table and get lost in the world of tabletop board games! Apart from classics like Monopoly, Risk, Pictionary, Catan, and Taboo, games like SushiGo!, Codenames, Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, are all crowd-favorites.
There are also quite a number of planning-related games on the market. For example, Suburbia is a tile-laying game that lets you build your small borough into a buzzing metropolis! Isle of Skye and Citadels work similarly, but can get pretty brutal if your pod happens to be very competitive. Keyflower and Sunrise City are also great options that will keep you entertained for hours.
For the kid-at-heart: Skating at Palmer Square
It’s that time of the year again! Palmer Square’s “eco-friendly” outdoor synthetic skating rink recently opened in Princeton, NJ on Hulfish Street Behind the Nassau Inn Hotel. You can skate through November 20, 2021 to February 27, 2022.
Open Skate hours are 4PM to 7PM on Thursdays and Fridays, and 12PM to 3PM and 4PM to 7PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $10 cash per person and $12+fees with credit card. See more information on Palmer Square website.
For the bookworm: Read, read, read! (And maybe travel)
The winter is always a wonderful time to pick up a new book or make a dent on your stack of TBR (to-be-read) titles. The Greater Mercer TMA staff shared their favorite planning and transportation related titles for National Read a Book Day in September.
There is pure bliss in not leaving home for an entire day (or more) and just laying in bed with a gripping book. Morever, you can also join a book club or host a book-themed event to share your love for books with a community!
For an extra sprinkle of adventure, you might also consider visiting a literary-themed hotel or going on a literary-themed trip. New Jersey is home to Princeton University where author F. Scott Fitzgerald graduated from in 1917. There are also many other places on the New Jersey Author Adventures Trail that might spark your interest.
Stay active, stay social, spend time outdoors
The winter time isn’t all gloom and doom. If you hate the snow, loathe the cold, or just feel plain crabby during the shorter days of the year, don’t be too hard on yourself if you are feeling a bit down this season. You can do a lot to help yourself through it by staying social, exploring your rich imagination, and exercising regularly.
Have any additional tips or ideas for cold weather events and activities in and around New Jersey? Leave us a comment below!