As the seasons change and the temperatures drop, some people might be wondering what they’ll do for the next few months at home as the pandemic and social distancing practices continue. While this winter will look a little different than most, there are still plenty of fun and engaging activities you can take part in this season to boost your mental health and mood. Whether you live with family, friends, or on your own, there’s something on this list for everyone. Here are some ideas for staying safe indoors while having fun.
Have you been meaning to reread a classic or finally pick up that book your friend keeps recommending? Now is the perfect time to settle in with a blanket, a warm drink, and a good read. If you’ve read all of the books in your home library and are itching for more, the National Emergency Library is a great resource for free online books. In the past, this digital collection from libraries and universities around the world had a waiting period for “borrowing” books, but now you can access them anytime with no wait!
If you’re more of an audio learner, you might enjoy finding a new podcast. You can kick back and relax while listening to inspirational stories on This American Life or multitask while cleaning the house and learning something new on Stuff You Should Know. If you have no idea where to start, check out this list of podcasts to find something that interests you.
Journaling is an incredibly effective meditative practice, whether you’re getting your worries out on paper or writing down the things you are grateful for each day. In the midst of a pandemic, now would be a great time to set aside some time to write out your thoughts and feelings. Studies have shown that getting these big emotions out can cause improvements in health, memory, and psychological well-being. If you want to share it with the world, start a blog and post your thoughts for others to read. You might find a community of people who feel exactly the same way.
If Zoom family time isn’t cutting it anymore, take a break from technology and consider writing a letter to your loved ones instead. Getting a handwritten card in the mail is always a nice surprise and it will show that you’re really thinking of them. In fact., research has shown that the physical act of writing thoughtful letters expressing gratitude and appreciation can boost your feelings of happiness and satisfaction. On top of that, letters are also something that people can keep and cherish for years to come.
When you’re tired of watching Netflix or reading a book, moving your body can be a great way to jumpstart your brain. One way to stay active at home is to clean out any clutter that’s built up over the years. Scan your closet for clothes you no longer need. Take inventory of your kitchen and decide if you really need three spatulas. Spend the day trimming down the junk in the garage. Be sure to create piles for items that can be thrown away and a separate pile for items that can be donated to a local charity. Coats for Colorado is an organization that helps secure enter clothing for the homeless, so your old coat that doesn’t fit anymore can help someone this winter.
Even if you can’t hit the gym this winter, you can still get a great workout in right in your own living room. The best part is that you don’t need to have any special equipment to exercise at home. In fact, there are plenty of free lessons and classes online for activities like yoga, boxing, strength training, and more. Aside from getting physically fit, staying active at home is a scientifically proven way to support your mental health. Regular exercise can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ADHD, and it can improve memory and focus.
Sometimes it can feel like it takes a lot of effort to remain positive in a stressful and unpredictable world, but there are plenty of tools out there to support your mental health and mood. Yale University has opened up its popular course, The Science of Wellbeing, to the public. Learn from psychologist Laurie Santos over the course of ten weeks about essential topics like how to increase your happiness and how to form better habits.
While it might seem like this winter is presenting new challenges, the reality is that much of the season will be the same. Winter is always a time to turn inward and focus on ourselves, find restoration and rejuvenation in the new year, and look ahead toward new goals. This season, take some time to focus on yourself while practicing social distancing guidelines to keep yourself and your community safe.
If you feel like you need a little extra support through these changes, Jefferson Center is always here for you. Our team of licensed therapists is trained to handle any challenges life might present to help you move forward with confidence. Call us today at 720-791-2735 or fill out our online form to get matched with the right therapist for you.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call 1-844-493-8255 or visit our 24/7 crisis walk-in center at 4643 Wadsworth Blvd, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033.
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