10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Has the snow and cold got you down? Cheer up: Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. From snowshoeing and swing dancing to bargain shopping, we’ve got ideas on how to defend yourself against the winter doldrums


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10. [Splurge On a Spa]


spaRoom to relax: The newly remodeled interior at Pineapple Day Spa in Orange County

Pamper yourself — and your mate — with a visit to a spa, where you can unwind, detoxify, and reconnect. Many Valley spas cater to couples as well as individuals — including an increasing number of men.

Wine, chocolate, a massage for two — the perfect recipe for a romantic getaway. At the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs, the “Share the Romance” package includes one night’s lodging, dinner and breakfast for two, a bottle of wine, chocolate-covered strawberries, souvenir wine glasses, and a one-hour Swedish massage for both of you.

“We have several treatments for beating the winter blues that don’t require a vacation to Cabo,” laughs Ryan DeJong, general manager of the newly remodeled Pineapple Day Spa in Pine Bush. The spa offers a number of skin hydrating services like Nourishing Sea Mud Therapy, which uses natural clays to draw out impurities, ginger and white tea to stimulate circulation, and essential oils to restore lost moisture. Pineapple also has complimentary “face mapping,” a 15-minute skin analysis that “gives you zone-by-zone recommendations for the best treatments and products for your skin,” DeJong says. Services geared towards guys include “Man-Scaping” (hair removal); and a men’s skin treatment that includes a hand, foot, or shoulder massage.

At Marlene Weber Day Spa in Poughkeepsie, couples can choose Dual Massage, with two therapists working at tables side-by-side. The treatment begins in the spa’s Tranquility Room with an aromatherapy foot soak, a hot shoulder pack, and a paraffin hand treatment, and finishes with a beverage and a snack. The newly remodeled room can also be used for other tandem spa services, including facials and pedicures. “From head to toe, you can be exfoliated and moisturized and go out glowing as a couple,” says owner Marlene Weber.

Health seekers have long flocked to Saratoga to soak in the area’s naturally occurring mineral baths. This time of year, the hydrotherapy treatments at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa attract folks seeking to throw off winter’s chill. The spa’s Adirondack Woods Hot Stone Massage is another popular choice, says Spa Director Michelle Calzada. First, the body is rubbed with oils made from native Adirondack trees. Next, the therapist uses heated stones to deliver the massage. The results, Calzada claims, are amazing: “The muscles and tension start to feel like they’re melting like butter.” The spa also has a special holiday facial that smells just like chocolate and cherries. “The antioxidants contained in the chocolate and berries are good for the skin,” notes Calzada. (The special runs through January.)

Even a simple haircut can help banish the winter blues. At Marion Salon Spa in Pleasant Valley, every haircut starts with a neck, shoulder, and scalp massage using aromatherapy oils. Their lavender-scented oil is particularly well suited to cold weather, says owner Marion Morris, who explains that “It feels warm, even though it’s not.” Guys can get their beards trimmed, too. Also popular with men: a sports massage, which focuses on the muscles used in particular athletic endeavors. (A runner, Morris explains, uses different muscles than, say, a golfer or a weight lifter.)

If you’re seeking warmth — and at this time of year, who isn’t? — consider the Thermal Herbal Mud Body Wrap with Vichy Shower at River Rock Health Spa in Woodstock. “It’s like having a facial all over the body, with a hot waterfall to boot,” says owner Babs Moley. The Vichy shower has seven showerheads to pound away tension. Another way to warm your spirits: an Aromatherapy Hotel Towel Swedish Massage, involving oil-infused hot towels and a vigorous massage. If the idea of stripping for a massage sends chills down your spine, you can opt for a Thai Yoga Massage. You’ll keep your clothes on while a therapist provides a penetrating massage and assists you with gentle yoga stretches.

At Haven Spa in Rhinebeck, the treatments sound good enough to eat. Consider the Warm Milk and Honey Wrap. First, dead skin cells are removed with a dry brush. Next, you’re drizzled with heated honey oil, wrapped in a blanket, and treated to a scalp massage. And finally, your skin receives a helping of milk-and-honey cream. The spa’s menu also includes the tasty-sounding Lemon Chiffon Body Polish, and a Bamboo Lemongrass Scrub.

Lovebirds can wash their worries away with the Couples VIP Retreat at the Emerson Resort & Spa. “Couples begin with a long, luxurious soak in a cinnamon and coconut milk bath in a beautiful, candle-lit room,” says Spa Manager Patricia Ullmann. Afterwards, they enjoy a warm herbal oil message and a cheese and fruit platter with champagne. For winter, Ullmann recommends hydrating treatments like the Moisture Drench Facial, and the Body Butter Wrap. The facial uses a deeply hydrating cream with antioxidant black currant oil. The butter wrap features fresh lemon verbena and buffing grains, which exfoliate and moisturize the skin. Also on the menu: Reiki, Chakra Energy Balancing, Food and Hand Reflexology, and skin-care treatments specially designed for men.

More ways to beat the blues:

  • Adopt a pet
  • keep a journal
  • Go to a wine tasting
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Keep a journal
  • Make a care package for a soldier overseas
  • Learn to knit
  • Rearrange the furniture
  • cook
  • Go to an open mic night
  • Finish a crossword puzzle
  • Pick a random page from a cookbook — start cooking
  • Take a continuing education course
  • Change your hairstyle
  • Feed the birds
  • Call an old friend
  • language
  • Have a fondue party
  • Learn a language
  • Join a bowling league
  • Rent a season of your favorite TV show
  • Contribute to a food pantry
  • Plant an indoor herb garden
Got more? Tell us your ideas in the box below!


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