How to beat the winter doldrums

Ah, winter. Depending on who you ask, it's either the Most Wonderful Time of the Year! or a five-month stint in purgatory that starts in November and ends at the beginning of April (barring the occasional freak blizzard in early May). If you fall into the latter camp, you're not alone, but too much wistful scrolling through all your friends' posts on Instagram about their exotic tropical vacations will only add to the general malaise.

As seasoned New Englanders, we know that the best way to overcome the winter blues is to *treat yo self.* That's why we've come up with a list of local ways to beat the cold in style. Here are our top picks:

Coffee at Seafolk. This hidden gem located on Rockport's main stretch combines a delicious gourmet menu with stunning views of the harbor in a tranquil, minimalist setting. If you're not a coffee person, there are still plenty of interesting options for drinks: the turmeric latte is a warming, spicy treat perfect for the depths of winter. After lunch, consider taking a stroll around nearby Beauchamp Point for a light workout with spectacular ocean vistas. Just be sure to bundle up first!

Warm up at Earth Flow Fire Hot Yoga. Rockland's newest yoga studio welcomes yogis of all levels into a deliciously heated space for a workout that will leave you steaming (in a good way). After class, be sure to check out the Earth Candy Juice Bar for a super-healthy post workout snack. Guided meditation sessions are also offered for those seeking to embrace all facets of wellness--perfect at any time of year.

Happy Hour at 40 Paper. Okay, okay, we know we've recommended them before. But with its rotating selection of sophisticated seasonal cocktails and its half priced cocktail/appetizer menu, this chic spot is just too good to pass up. Stop by from 4-6 pm or 9-10 pm daily for a pick-me-up that's sure to put you in a better mood.

Take a bubble bath. It's the ultimate self-care cliché, but that's because it works. Bonus points if you've got one of those awesome bath trays that lets you prop up your book and your beverage (we highly recommend). Add some bath salts and finish up with some soothing moisturizer for the ultimate luxury experience.

Find your winter sport. True Mainers say this is the best way to learn to appreciate the season, and they're right. Try a good ski at the Camden Snow Bowl, a fun hike in snowshoes, or a skate on a local pond to get your blood flowing enough to forget the cold. Right off of Route 1, Maine Sport rents equipment for children and adults by the day or by the week.

Get down with the locals. There's no better antidote to winter sadness than time spent among friends. Check out local watering holes such as Fog Bar & Café (Rockland), Odd Alewives (Waldoboro), and The Pour Farm (Union) for fun events that will give you and the stranger next to you something to talk about over a pint of freshly-brewed craft beer.

Make bread. True story: in the winter of 2010, when it snowed so much that my neighbors' roofs were caving in, I saved my sanity by making lots and lots of bread. Something about working with the dough was just so warm and comforting. (Not to mention, the end product was pretty delicious.) Ideally, you should choose a recipe that asks you to knead the dough yourself--that sense of rugged satisfaction with your work is one of the most rewarding parts of the process.

Bonus: Facial at Beauty Mark (now in Portland). Although their Camden location has sadly closed, Beauty Mark's top-of-the-line facials are worth traveling for. The knowledgeable staff use evidence-based methods and products to leave your winter skin dewy and glowing. Got an event coming up? They also do makeup!

What about you? What are some of your tried-and-true methods for making the most of the season? Let us know!


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