The holidays are what brightens up the ever-darkening winter days. They encourage community and re-connection with loved ones as much as they do gift-giving and decorations. However, if you find yourself with less community to celebrate with this year, you aren’t alone.
Lane Moore, author of “How to Be Alone,” warns that loneliness around the holidays can feel “infinitely more painful” than solitude any other time of year. This is largely due to the messaging that emphasizes the need for community, specifically a familial one. If, for whatever reason, you aren’t able to connect with relatives, this can cultivate a feeling of guilt or shame.
Ironically, the most densely populated city in the country can also be the most isolating. Olivia Laing, author of “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone”, describes a sense of being overlooked everywhere you go in New York City, which creates contradictory feelings of being “hyper-exposed and weirdly cut off.” This is compounded by the fact that two-thirds of households in NYC have single occupants. Though we see countless people every time we walk out the door, we are hurting for human connection.
The clouds don’t help either. American Family Physician has reported that 1 in 5 U.S. citizens experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD is “a type of depression that’s related to the changes in seasons,” according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s thought to be partially caused by lack of Vitamin D as exposure to the sun drops dramatically in the winter months. In most cases, the symptoms will dissipate come springtime, but it can make enjoying the holiday season a struggle.
Whether you’re experiencing the winter blues or don’t have a typical family structure, you’re not alone. There are many ways to seek out community in New York City to help you throughout winter—community centers, meetup groups, and volunteering can all work wonders. If you’re feeling alone, the 14th Street Y offers classes and workshops that can be a perfect way to meet new people and start cultivating a chosen family in NYC.
Below is a list of free events, classes, and workshops available at the 14th Street Y and other Educational Alliance locations.
WINTER OPEN HOUSE
Sunday, January 5 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Grab a friend and experience the best of what the 14Y community has to offer at our Winter Open House! This fun-filled day features special fitness classes taught by 14Y instructors, basketball, programming for children of all ages, theater performances, and lots of tasty drinks and treats for everyone to enjoy. Other highlights include neighborhood partners and raffles for amazing prizes, including a free yearly membership for individuals and families, plus so much more!
This event is free and open to all. RSVP here.
Fridays | 1:30 – 3:00 PM
January 27 – March 20
What is it about Israel that fascinates, attracts, angers and excites so many people? Join Israeli Shaliach and former journalist Ophir Tal, for a deep dive into Israel. Explore language, culture, politics, culinary arts, and science, and learn how this small country makes a big difference in the world.
This adult studies class is free for all. Space is limited, so please register here.
MLK DAY OF SERVICE 2020
Sunday, January 20 | 9:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Join us to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through a Teen-Led Awareness Campaign Against the Stigma of Mental Health Issues and Youth Incarceration.
On our MLK Day of Service 2020 we invite members of the community to stand united in Dr. King’s dream by taking part in hands-on learning, service and advocacy.
Created in partnership with and facilitated by Repair the World, the day will include interactive learning, and a service project with Free Minds to support youth that are currently incarcerated.
Breakfast and lunch provided.
This event would not be possible without the partnership and generous grant from UJA Federation of New York.
This event is free and open to all. RSVP here.
WELLNESS LUNCH AND LEARN SERIES
Jump start your fitness goals this winter with our new wellness Lunch and Learn Series! Each month this winter, we will present an interactive workshop on curated topics designed to help you achieve your wellness goals. Bring your own lunch or enjoy complimentary light refreshments.
Goal Setting for Success with Elizabeth Schneider
Monday, January 6 | 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Finding Your Balance
Monday, February 10 | 12:15 – 1:00 pm
Monday March 9 | 12:15 – 1:00 pm
The Wellness Lunch and Learn Series is free for all! Register here.
ISRAELI LUNCH AND LEARN SERIES
Tuesdays | January – June | 1:15 – 2: 15 pm
Join us through winter and spring for Israeli food and a riveting group discussion! Each month Israeli Shaliach Ophir Tal will provide an overview and lead a discussion on a topic related to Israeli life—from the realms of culture and politics to history and religion.
- January 28 | The Christian Minority in Israel
- February 18 | Seven approaches to History
- March 17 | Activism vs Conservatism: The Law System in Israel
- April 21 | How the Startup nation became the startup nation?
- May 19 | Independence vs Nakba: both sides of the story
- June 16 | The Surrogate dilemma and the LGBTQ community
This series is free and open to all. Space is limited, so please register here.