This year, people everywhere are spending more time at home to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. But there are many ways to enjoy the winter season during the current pandemic in a safe and healthy way. Here are seven ideas for healthy, socially distanced activities for your winter downtime.

  1. Go stargazing. Find out what stars and planets you can see in the skies above your hometown by searching online (at the NASA website, for instance). You don’t necessarily need one, but if you have a telescope and/or a set of binoculars, pull them out and look to the skies! One of the healthiest things you can do is get a sense of your place in the universe…
  2. Go hiking. Get some fresh air and exercise while taking time to appreciate nature. Whether you live in an urban or rural area, there are always places to go on a hike or long walk—even if it is just through your neighborhood! This activity will help you stay healthy while gyms are closed and sports teams are on hiatus during the pandemic.
  3. Build gingerbread houses. This classic winter activity is fun any time, but especially popular around the holidays. Find a good gingerbread recipe and grab some candies; then go to town designing your gingerbread structure! If you don’t have gingerbread readily available or don’t want to make your own, try using something different, but still relatively healthy, like graham crackers.
  4. Make bird feeders for our feathered friends. Use pinecones spread with peanut butter and rolled in birdseed to make them; then hang them around your house in the trees or shrubs and wait for a fly-in! Alternatively, you can make birdfeeders by halving an orange or grapefruit and hollowing out the peel to fill with the same mixture. And if you are feeling a little more adventurous, look for other bird food recipes to attract different types of birds—there are tons to choose from online.
  5. Learn to knit or crochet. This activity can be done solo or with others. You can learn to knit or crochet from books, online videos, or maybe even by way of virtual lessons from a close friend or family member—a great way to stay socially distanced, but still have human interaction!
  6. Enjoy story time. Pick out a book for a family read-aloud, maybe before bedtime. Staying connected as a family does wonders for our health, too! If you live on your own, snuggle up under a cozy blanket with your own book to practice a little self-care—reading is calming and helpful for sleep.
  7. Try something new like learning to cook different healthy meals. After making sure you have all the necessary ingredients for your recipe, tune in to a televised cooking show or online video, and follow along! Healthy food is one of the easiest things to focus on when attending to your health during downtime.

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Written by: Erika Mehlhaff