Game of Thrones has been warning us for seasons — or “books,” as you might call them — but we just thought we had more time. Winter has come, it’s not going away anytime soon, and you’re just straight up not prepared. Physically or emotionally.

Every day you open your eyes, hoping for at least some upper 40’s temperature action, but that window seems to have closed. Slammed shut like… well, like a window in winter. But this year we make peace with the winter, chuck up the deuce with our texting gloves, and find out a way for us both to coexist. Winter in NYC, we’re ready for ya.

Use What You’ve Got

You might need to use all of your extra shirts to stay warm during a cold winter in NYC

Time to figure it out, McGyver

If you’re, say, less than 5 years out of college, chances are you’re still using your parents’ house as storage space. This may not even be convenient for you — they might be hours away. But your apartment doesn’t have extra closets and you’re certainly not going to pay for a storage unit, so you conveniently left all your winter gear back home. You’ll pick it up at Thanksgiving. You can definitely make it through until then with corduroy and leather, right? Old Man Winter has other ideas.

Out of nowhere, your daily commute has become a battle of wits between you and the windchill — from the cold street to the suffocating train, subsequently to the office where it’s so hot you could comfortably wear flip-flops (after taking off your gigantic winter boots, of course) — and your wardrobe has become your armor against a harsh and uncaring world. For maximum warmth with minimum foresight, you must test the limits of your seasonally inappropriate haberdashery.

Dressing For Battle — Layering Up

This guy from Friends looks like he's somewhat prepared for a winter in NYC

I think this can get me from here to the bodega

Step one: Tank top. You might think that this is useless, given that it offers zero arm coverage and is probably made of something light and flimsy. But the Cold wants to chill you down to your kidneys, and every little bit helps.

Step two: Long sleeved shirt. No matter who you are or how fashionable you come across, everyone owns at least one awful long sleeved T shirt. Maybe it’s plain and basic and only has the dates of your little cousin’s Bat Mitzvah. Maybe it’s aggressively colorful and from your college frisbee days. Either way, its day has arrived. Put it on. Don’t look in the mirror.

Step three: Sweater. Take your big, floppy, comfy sweater. The one you wear at night to cuddle in. The one you throw on at 2:30pm on Sundays to answer the door and get your food delivery. The one that you tell yourself you bought ironically, but has been creeping its way further and further into your daily life. Remember: the only thing that separates an ironic sweater from a real sweater is the commitment with which you wear it. It’s time to commit.

This is what you will peel down to once you reach the impossibly far Indoors. When you’re ready to depart, add your fall jacket and, if that jacket has the tensile strength to handle it, maybe a cardigan underneath. Use as many scarves as you deem necessary. NOT appropriate, mind you. Just necessary.

These penguins look well suited for a winter in NYC

I’m here! At the bar! I’m wearing the… you know, I’ll just wave.

Long gone are the days of hourglasses and pear shapes, or broad shoulders and tapering waistlines. From now until the groundhog sees his shadow, you and everyone you meet will be approximately ovular all the time. Don’t worry — potential dates will find this cultivated air of mystery very seductive.

Shack Up With Someone

The Love Shack is a warm breath of fresh air during a cold winter in NYC

Getting it on down at the…

They say that spring is the time for love — warm rays of sunshine and blooming flowers seem to breed domestic happiness and the dating opportunities are infinite. You can afford to be picky come April. Winter is more of a “love the one you’re with” kind of season. Your landlord keeps turning off your heat at odd intervals, and your panda bear onesie just isn’t cutting it anymore. It’s time to call in backup.

All The Single Ladies (And Gents)

It can be tough to be single during a cold winter in NYC

You’ve told yourself that you don’t really like dating apps. You want love to grow organically in your life, like a 12th generation heirloom tomato, bursting with individuality and flavor — something you can Instagram and brag to all your friends about. But let’s face it: OKCupid’s genetically modified algorithms and Tinder’s Costco-style overabundance of options have a certain appeal.

They may not make your heart sing, but they’ll get you through. You’re trying to find someone to literally keep your bed warm, not choose health insurance plans together. If you start aggressively swiping right, right now, you can probably find someone whose company you can stand for at least a few weeks before the first big snow of the season. The whole relationship will make a funny story later, and a more comfortable night’s sleep tonight.

Leveling Up

Get through a winter in NYC by snuggling up to your partner

If you’re already lucky enough to be in some kind of partnership, you’ve already done the hard work. Now it’s time to get serious about the quality time you’re spending. We’re not saying you should move in together just because it’s chilly outside; cohabitation is a serious commitment that you should carefully think through before undertaking.

But maybe you should, like, kind of live together for a while. Only while it’s cold. For snuggling purposes. Keep your own apartments and everything, just really test the waters of how much domesticity you two can handle. If it goes well, great, you have a new chapter of your life that you can consider together. If it goes poorly, well, at least you know now, right?

Universal Repentance

Winter in NYC can make people feel down in the dumps

I didn’t even see any of the leaves change…

What did we do to make the Autumnal Gods so angry with us? Why did they come to the party so late and leave so early? Maybe our Jackolantern effigies weren’t enough to placate them. Search through your fridge for round fruits and vegetables and carve away. Decorate your apartment and stoop with grimacing, grinning beets, apples, and oranges. Don’t use tomatoes — they just aren’t built to stand up to this kind of craftiness. And if they can take it, you probably shouldn’t be buying that kind of tomato anymore.

At worst, it’s a fun project for the weekend, and it’ll remind you of the glitz and glam of Halloween. At best, maybe the universe will take pity and send us another week or two of bracingly blustery days and crisp nights that don’t make you feel like your ears are falling off.

In Conclusion

To get through winter in NYC, some people turn to alcohol.

Help me, alcohol. You’re my only hope.

Winter is hard — and winter in NYC is ESPECIALLY hard. Plus, cold weather is really, really unpleasant. That might be a statement of the obvious, but sometimes it’s important to validate simple truths. Drink a lot of hot chocolate and hot toddies and mulled wine and take comfort in the company of your friends and loved ones, if only to commiserate with each other and take advantage of shared body heat. You’re going to get through this. One day it will be over and you’ll wear T shirts or maybe sun dresses and you’ll get your tan back. One day.

In the meantime, listen to a lot of Bon Iver. You’ll relate to their songs more than ever — Justin Vernon recorded For Emma, Forever Ago in a freezing cabin in the middle of Medford, Wisconsin — and the band’s name literally means “Good Winter” in French.

That said, wish you all a good winter, fellow Vimbly explorers. Winter in NYC doesn’t last forever. Stay warm. Stay the path. And stay the night. (I mean it is #cuffingseason, ya know?)