How are you getting outside this winter? Confession: As soon as temps drop below 60 degrees, I could spend November through February parked on my couch, re-watching teen dramas (helloooo Gilmore Girls). But! When I finally do step out of my house to water the garden, or hit up a playground, I notice how the frosty trees glisten in the sunlight. And how alive I feel while inhaling that crisp air. All of a sudden, the outdoors feels magical instead miserable.
So! For inspiration, we asked our team of writers and photographers to share how they’re getting out…
Joanna Goddard, editor
Favorite outdoors activity: Walking
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Cheerful, energized
Favorite outdoors companion: Podcasts! I listened to this NYTimes episode recently and kept nodding, “Yes!”
Favorite winter recipe: The consummate chocolate chip cookie
“During quarantine, a few friends started a wellness challenge, where we each committed to walk 10,000 to 12,000 steps per day. It changed my whole view of winter. Now I wake up and CRAVE walks; I listen to funny podcasts and notice fun neighborhood moments, like cute dogs or skyline views.”
“Also, kids, like puppies, usually want to go outside a few times a day, and I love watching the boys play basketball while feeling the cold air on my cheeks.”
Jannelle Sanchez, associate editor
Favorite outdoors activity: Runs around the neighborhood
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Strong, optimistic
Favorite outdoors companion: Ina Garten’s cooking playlist
Favorite winter recipe: Beef and bacon stew, the ultimate post-run meal
“Every November, I ask myself, ‘Should I do the Turkey Trot?’ TLDR; I didn’t do it! Still, the thought of signing up inspired me to go on weekly runs, and I’ve been loving them. I always reach a point where my thighs tense up and I fantasize about quitting. But then I imagine that my legs are glorious horse legs, and that visualization helps me barrel to the finish. At the end, I feel grateful and unstoppable.”
Jenny Rosenstrach, food columnist
Favorite outdoors activity: Walks to my favorite coffee shop
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Tingly, engaged
Favorite walking companion: My dogs, Iris and Bean. (They can be charmingly nightmarish — but they are very social and want to say hi to everyone, which means I do, too)
Favorite winter recipe: Butternut squash soup, of course.
“I love my two-mile walk to get coffee first thing in the morning, no matter the temperature. I started the ritual because when working from home, I find it depressing to walk straight from bed to the computer. Also, it gives me a good excuse to get dressed. I think otherwise I’d be tempted to stay in PJs all day.”
Thao Thai, contributing writer
Favorite outdoors activity: Reading in my backyard with a mug of coffee
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Thoughtful, unhurried
Favorite outdoors companion: A lyrical book that makes me feel connected to the natural world
Favorite winter recipe: I recently made this iconic NYTimes tomato soup (with grilled cheese, naturally), to rave reviews from the family
“My daughter’s school has a rule that as long as it’s over 20 degrees, the children go outside for recess. I figure: if kids can do it, so can this Floridian! Our backyard gets the best sunlight in the afternoons, so I like to sit on the wicker bench and read a chapter or two — just enough to get my daily dose of vitamin D. Plus, my teddy-bear coat feels like a blanket.”
Kaitlyn Teer, contributing editor
Favorite outdoors activity: Commuting by e-bike to preschool drop-off
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Joyful, clear-eyed
Favorite outdoors companion: My daughter! Also, these socks.
Favorite winter recipe: Creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms.
“We wanted to reduce our carbon emissions, so we’ve been using an electric cargo bike as a family vehicle. Since the start of the school year, I’ve logged over 300 miles by taking my daughter to preschool and commuting to the campus where I teach. It’s become the best part of our morning routine — biking in cold, wet weather is such a rush. Inspired by this post about Denmark, I asked a friend’s sister who lives abroad to send me a flight suit. It keeps me warm and, in theory, I could wear pajamas underneath and no one at preschool drop off would ever know.” [Ed. note: J.Crew just stocked one!]
Christine Han, photographer
Favorite outdoors activity: Hiking
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Spacious, alive
Favorite outdoors companion: My phone camera
Favorite winter recipe: Korean short rib stew
“I love taking that first breath of woodsy air when hiking — it gives me the chance to notice things other than the voice inside my head. I feel delighted by the world. And my body craves that revitalized but tired feeling after finishing a challenging walk in winter. Along the way, I take photos for fun, but only if I am drawn to something particularly beautiful, like how I used to take photos before photography became my job.”
Maureen Heffernan, partnerships director
Favorite outdoors activity: Walks with baby girl
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Relieved, thankful
Favorite outdoors companion: My kid! And a turn your brain off celebrity gossip podcast
Favorite winter recipe: Spiced chickpea stew (NYTimes gift link)
“Late in my pregnancy, I found intense workouts difficult, so I started going for long afternoon walks. Initially, I gave myself a strict step count and number of hills to climb, since I’m very goal oriented! But eventually I had to listen to my very pregnant body and just *stroll*. Now, it’s a super therapeutic activity and something I can do with my baby, who wears my old winter suit on chilly days.”
Christine Pride, Race Matters columnist
Favorite outdoors activity: My annual tradition of taking my goddaughter to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree
Two words that describe your mood when outside: Whiny?
Favorite outdoors companion: Friends, always friends. Anytime, anywhere.
Favorite winter recipe: I don’t cook at all EXCEPT for one tried-and-true recipe: chicken tortilla soup, which is spicy and perfect for cozy winter nights.
“The truth is I hate winter! It’s why I disappear to somewhere warm for three months every year. But I do take my goddaughter to see the tree every year and that’s a winter/holiday annual tradition that I’m happy to suffer the cold for.”
How about you? How are you getting outside this winter? Or do you prefer to stay cozy indoors until spring? I’d love to hear.