A Mainer's Guide to a Happy Winter
Winter in Maine is not for the faint of heart. The sun sets behind the mountains well before cocktail hour, and it can take years to perfect a wardrobe layering system that strikes the magic balance between not freezing and not sweating. (Quick tip: it’s all about a breathable base layer). So no, it’s not necessarily easy to live this far from the equator, but take a look around, and you’ll find Mainers to be some of the happiest people you’ll ever meet.
Here’s how we do it:
1. We Get Outside:
Mainers aren’t big on gyms, but it’s not because we’re lazy. In fact it’s just the opposite: from week-long Nordic ski trips to just shoveling the steps, we know that the best way to stay warm is to get out and move! We all feel better with fresh air, and there’s science to back it up. According to the New York Times, “When researchers compared athletes who ran indoors to those who ran the same distance outdoors, they found that in virtually all of the studies, the volunteers reported enjoying the outside activity more and, on subsequent psychological tests, scored significantly higher on measures of vitality, enthusiasm, pleasure and self-esteem and lower on tension, depression and fatigue after they walked outside” NY Times Bottom line: fresh air and sunshine are good for your body, mind, and spirit, so get outside as often as possible, and make the most of the sun while it shines!
2. We Practice the Art of Hygge:
Okay, so the term is actually from Denmark, but it definitely applies to life in Maine: Hygge. Loosely translated as ‘cultivated coziness’, (and pronounced like ‘hooga’) the intent is simple: set the scene for cozy indulgence. A small dinner party, or a few close friends in front of a crackling fire enjoying a bottle of wine, these are Hygge, and there’s no easier way to fend off a dreary winter mood. Creating an ambience of warmth, security, and peace can be as simple as lighting a few candles, or keeping some evergreen up well past December.
3. We’re a Tightly Knit Community:
Here in Maine, many families go back generations, and chances are good that you not only know your neighbor, you probably know their grandparent’s dog. Connecting with others is a great way to get out of your own head and see things from a new perspective. Just getting together with a group once a week will go a long way, and strong social connections have a lasting positive impact on health and wellness.
4. We Unplug:
It's amazing to live in a time with instant communication, but it can be all too easy to stare at a screen for hours on end. That's why it's so important to take a break and unplug... even if it's just for an afternoon hike. Not ready to let go completely? At least commit to basic backcountry tech protocol: cell phones are for emergencies, maps, and photos; everything else can probably wait.
5. We Get out of Town:
A change of scenery does wonders for your happiness, and you don’t have to go far to feel the benefits. We’re lucky to have some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and Maine’s the perfect playground for any outdoor adventure; we can literally ski and surf on the same day. You could spend a lifetime (and many have) exploring this breathtaking terrain. In fact, those are probably the happiest Mainers of all!
It’s really quite simple. Get plenty of fresh clean air and sunshine, then settle in by the fire while your mittens dry. Gather your friends often, and plan adventures large and small. We love it here; and whether you've been here for generations, or you’re just taking a weekend trip, we hope you love it here too.