How to make the most of winter while in Lockdown

Photo by Darien Funk

COVID-19 appears to be on a steep rise again and more regions like Kitchener-Waterloo are entering the “red zone.” However, it is important to recognize that this lockdown will prove to be fundamentally different from the first. 

This time, we are likely to struggle a bit more since winter will no doubt hinder access to outdoor activities. Seasonal depression will begin to take its place, making it harder to keep busy without the sun’s encouragement.

While we should do our best to get a daily dose of fresh air, the extremely low temperatures and high winds common in Canadian winters will discourage many from going outside. Thus, with winter looming around the corner, the newest COVID-19 challenge is unravelling: how do we keep busy and stay active and healthy during the seemingly inevitable return to staying indoors? 

There are many ways to make the best of winter lockdown, so let’s consider a few:

Don’t be afraid of the snow!

Beginning with perhaps the most obvious suggestion, despite the aforementioned daunting cold that will soon be ever-present, winter activities are a fantastic way to stay active even while under lockdown! 

Outdoor activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, sledding and even building snow people or forts can happen while physically distancing. Embrace your inner child, throw on a snowsuit and get out there! 

My mother’s favourite suggestion: clean to improve your lockdown environment. 

You know that closet you just throw things into all the time? The space under your bed you haven’t seen in a while? The excessive collection of old storage bins? General junk and clutter are going to affect our everyday lives now more than ever since lockdown leaves us with little escape from the messes in our homes. 

It will soon become all too easy to feel tense and overwhelmed, so creating a clean living environment should be at the top of our lists. The best part is that this task comes with the added opportunity of giving back to the community. While taking part in your much-needed house purges, consider donating things such as clothes, shoes, or old toys to those in need. 

With all this free indoor time we are about to have, consider taking on a big cleaning project. You’ll keep busy, your brain will be active and you might be amazed at how much better you feel when your space is free of clutter and out-of-control messes. 

After tidying, try adding some plants to your indoor space. They brighten up all rooms, generate fresh air, and provide a companion that needs your attention!

Don’t just watch Netflix all winter  — get creative with indoor activities!

If you were the bandwagon pandemic baker the first time around, now’s your opportunity to advance even further. Instead of bread, try a series of healthy, freshly-prepared recipes, a difficult soup or something out of dough from scratch. Long recipes would be ideal here, we’re trying to keep busy and stay healthy so don’t pick something like pre-made cookies! 

Pick up a new hobby that you’ve been putting off. Try to learn knitting, or become a chess master. Make a painting or another form of art. Perhaps even take a shot at a DIY project. Just try something new. No one will be there to see you fail, so you might as well give a few things a shot while we’re all cooped up. 

As we move further into lockdown, our brains are going to need just as much exercise as our bodies. Mental activity is vitally important and reading is the best course of action for that matter. Re-read old books, try new ones, even flip through magazines if that’s more your style. 

Stuck without an enticing option? Pick one of the many issues present on our planet at the moment, and do some research. Whether it’s environmentalism, the Black Lives Matter movement, or another cause, research the issue and educate yourself. Awareness is key and another lockdown is a good chance to catch up on current events and become well-informed. Reading is a great way to keep your mind sharp and engaged and mental workouts might just leave you with less stress and anxiety from being cooped up all the time. 

Take time for yourself.

This upcoming lockdown might be a good time for some inner self-reflection. If there is anything you have been struggling with lately, take this time to work through it. 

Take care of yourself, both mentally and physically; exfoliate; test skincare routines until you find one that works best for you; paint your nails; take a long bath, etc. Write in a journal or say one reaffirming thing each day. Do anything that might come to mind that will allow you to relax and better your mental state. 

Don’t forget to pay attention to those around you. 

The majority of us will be locked in with multiple people, which means we now have to face complications caused by long periods with the same people. 

Although this might be difficult and tensions are likely to rise, keep in mind that this a good opportunity to spend quality time with those people. And I don’t mean sitting together in the same room simultaneously on your phones-talk, play games, ask each other questions. Use this time to work on your relationships. 

We still do not know how long COVID-19 will continue to affect our world, or how many more lockdowns we will have to endure. While I wish everyone the best, I am aware of how challenging it may be. So for now, it is simply to our advantage to consider our many options and attempt to make the best of this upcoming winter. 

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