We hoarded flour for baking. We bought guitars. We tried everything to get through the cold, early days of the pandemic. But how are we going to make it through winter, trapped at home and cut off from so much of the world? If you’re fortunate enough to have extra bucks lying around in this lean economy, here are some gadgets that will keep you warm and vaguely chipper.
If we need to confine our socializing to the outdoors, perhaps it’s time to make peace with that ever-hyped clothing category: wearable tech. Apparel company Ororo, for example, offers battery-operated heated jackets ($200), hoodies ($190), gloves ($180) and socks ($100, all at ororowear.com) that will keep you toasty on frigid nights.
Blessed with outdoor space? Buy an Energ+ Electric Patio Heater ($179 at lowes.com) or, for added rusticity, a low-smoke Solo Stove Bonfire fire pit ($260 at solostove.com). Throw in a few REI Co-op Flexlite Camp Chairs ($60) and an Mpowerd Luci Lux Inflatable Solar Lantern ($25, both at REI) for extra comfort.
To boost your mood and combat depression, you’ll want to soak up as much sun as possible during these short winter days. A wearable Qsun UV Exposure Tracker ($149 at qsun.co) can monitor your vitamin D levels and tell you when you need to reapply sunscreen (which, yes, is necessary even in winter).
For those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, a light-therapy lamp that mimics sunshine can alleviate the winter blues. There’s the Carex Day-Light Classic Plus Therapy Lamp ($150 at carex.com), or the DayBright geometric wooden lamp ($160 at sunrise-sensations.com) by Sunrise Sensations, which can also brighten your décor.
Feeling trapped? Combat winter claustrophobia with the laser Galaxy Lamps Galaxy Projector 2.0 ($90 at galaxylamps.co), which turns any darkened room into a planetarium-like light show. Consider it a chemical-free psychedelic trip that seems to transform your walls and ceilings into outer space. And it’s great for children.
Miss your summer gardening escape? Grow small veggies, herbs and flowers with the new Smart Garden 9 Pro ($260 at clickandgrow.com) from Click and Grow, which includes LED grow lights controlled by an app or touch. Gardening can help combat anxiety and depression, too.
The quarantine pods that kept us sane this summer may not be sustainable in the cold months ahead. If you’re looking for dependable companionship and are willing to pay for it, social robots like Buddy from Blue Frog Robotics (from $2,400 at bluefrogrobotics.com) can serve as a personal assistant, nanny, watchdog and even a friend around the house.