All the ways to embrace being single in the winter

If you’re from the Midwest like I am, long winters can be hard to bear, particularly given the fact that everyone seems to couple up and glue themselves to the couch with their partners. But if you’re flying solo, there’s no need to hibernate and shut the shop down until Spring, when you can be celebrating the season your way. Think about it, there are a million reasons it’s awesome to be single in the winter—and none them have to do with actively looking for love. This is when you start new weekly traditions with friends, when you cozy up and watch ANYTHING you want on Netflix, when you make plans to just do you. This winter, the world is your snowy little oyster, and here’s how to take advantage of it:

1. Work up a sweat

While it’s tempting to hibernate all winter, a little fresh air does the body good and breaking a sweat is the ultimate cure for winter blues no matter your relationship status. Join a cross-country ski camp, running club, or other group to stock up on feel-good endorphins and meet people with like-minded interests. If it’s cold and nasty where you live (looking at you, my home state of Minnesota) there are plenty of ways you can break a sweat indoors. Scope out your local yoga centers for new student deals: most offer a free week to newbies.

2. Get out of town (and out of your head)

Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a full-blown beach vacay, planning a trip you can look forward to is a great way to stay upbeat all season long. Ask a close friend to plan a trip with you and look forward to it all season long. There’s nothing like a change of scenery to expand your horizons, and it’s been suggested that looking forward to a vacation is almost as rewarding as the vacation itself.

3. Host weekly pasta dinners with your friends

Three words, guys: Weekly. Pasta. Dinners. Does it get any better than that? Have all your friends bring one part of the equation (it can be as simple as the parm or the vino) and gather around to try mac and cheese or spaghetti Bolognese each week.

4. Adopt a furry friend

What has four legs, never argues with you, and strictly wants to cuddle? Your new dog or cat! Rescue one from your local shelter and you’ll feel warm and fuzzy all winter long. Websites like Petfinder even help you locate shelters to adopt from in your area.

5. Treat yo’self

Tis the season for giving, and if you’re not busy buying beaucoup gifts for your partner, it turns out you have a little more cash to spend on yourself. Do something indulgent like booking a massage or facial: it may sound trivial, but no one ever walked away from getting pampered feeling worse for the wear.

6. Enjoy your secret single behavior

Not having a significant other in the wintertime means you get to indulge in all the seemingly Secret Single Behaviors (deemed by Carrie Bradshaw) that a boyfriend might consider weird. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: dipping cookies in cookie butter, interpretive dancing to Fiona Apple, or spiking your late night Sunday evening decaf coffee with a little Baileys and going online shopping. These are precious moments, ladies! Enjoy that freedom to the fullest extent.

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