Winter might have you clutching your parka. Here are a few ideas to help you seize the day, no matter what the thermometer says.
Get out there
Don’t let a little wind, rain or snow stop you. Bundle up and explore your community. You could even plan a staycation and get to know your area better. Along the way, you may uncover hidden gems and new haunts.
1. Walking tour
Your local historical society or university may offer guided walking tours. Topics often include history and architecture. “Ghost” tours tell the stories of notable figures and lesser-known residents. Walking tours geared toward tourism and fitness are also available. Self-guided, pre-recorded tours are as close as your mobile phone. Download an app and lace up your shoes. This is an excellent option for the off season when live tours may not be available.
2. Sunday drive
Taking a ride in the car lets you stay warm and dry while taking in the sights. Head to a scenic destination. Or just break up your routine by traveling a new route. Shut off the GPS and let serendipity be your guide. Stop every now and then just to look around.
Visit a local antique store for a trip down memory lane. You may discover the perfect gift for a loved one or the finishing touch for your home décor. Find novelty among old things. You might even start a collection of your own. In some areas you may find “antiquing trails” with a series of destinations laid out for you. Look for flea markets and auctions too.
4. Donate your time
Many worthy organizations could use your expertise or your labor. Check with food banks, libraries, hospitals, thrift stores, animal shelters or civic organizations. You could help with a special event or commit to more regular involvement. Bring a friend and make it a social outing. The United Way offers a directory of volunteer opportunities.
5. Take a hike
The physical health benefits of aerobic exercise are well known. But did you know it can also boost your brain and lift your mood? Take a hike or give snow shoes a try. Even a walk around your own neighborhood can help ground you with a sense of place and belonging.
Enjoy the great indoors
If you’d rather not get your feet wet, there are plenty of ways to make the most of winter while staying cozy.
6. Join a book club
Share your love of an author or discover a new genre. A book club can add another dimension to your reading experience. Hearing others’ perspectives can deepen your appreciation and understanding of a text. Ask around or look online for a book club near you.
7. Take a class
In towns and cities across the country, adult education classes are offered through the local board of education. Colleges and universities often provide options to continue learning. Many of these classes are free or affordably priced. Your library or community center may also be able to point you in the right direction. Online resources bring learning to your living room.
8. Start a new hobby
You might be inclined to pick up an old hobby, but a new hobby has brain-building benefits. As you learn something new, you practice problem solving and exercise your creativity. Acquiring new skills can help keep your mind sharp as you age. You’ll earn extra health benefits if your new hobby includes physical exercise. Local shops might offer classes in pottery, cooking or art. Or find a mentor and watch and learn.
9. Foster a pet
A pet can bring you companionship and another reason to get up in the morning. Training a pet so that it can be adopted or prepared for a service job is especially rewarding. Fostering a pet can be a meaningful way to spend your winter.
10. Send a letter
Take the time to reach out to someone and let them know you care. Send a letter or card and connect with family and friends from the comfort of home. Say “thank you” or “hello.” The warmth of your message will be appreciated in our digital age. If you’re feeling ambitious, send a letter each day or each week.
Plan a winter full of wonder
How will you make the most of the season? Before you know it, spring will be here. Take this time to help your community, try something new, explore a new place or reach out to someone you care about.