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Everyone has been spending a lot of time at home in 2020. But with an impending winter beginning in December, we’re all likely to be inside the vast majority of the time—staring at rain and snowfall out the window instead of taking warm, sun-soaked walks.
While it might feel tough staying cooped up this winter, there are plenty of fun, healthy activities you can engage in with family or alone. The next time cabin fever starts creeping up on you, just turn to this list.
Yoga class. Grab a mat, clear some space in your living room, even grab a family member; yoga can be an excellent way to unwind after a long work day, or help you stay active during a snowy weekend.
Try guided routines for yoga classes on YouTube.
Coloring or painting. A lot of people find coloring to be relaxing—adults included. Buy a brand new set of markers or colored pencils, a coloring book, and go to town. (This is a great way for parents to bond with young kids.)
If you want a bigger challenge, or you’re looking for a way to connect with your partner as a date idea, grab a paintbrush and try a guided, canvas-painting tutorial on YouTube. If you follow along closely, you might even be able to create new artwork for your home.
Make your own play dough at home. Buying tubs of Play Dough is so over; opt to create your own Play Dough instead, using an online recipe like this one involving Jello. For kids who get easily bored, it’s double the fun in one afternoon activity. Oh, and you’ll probably have just as much fun creating those soft, meldable structures as an adult—no judgment. (Play shouldn’t end when you’re young.)
Board game competition. Choose a snowy or rainy day for a full-day board game conversation. Pick games like Monopoly, Risk, LIFE, or Pictionary—games you might not be inclined to pull out unless you really have the time. Best of three wins the tournament. If you’re feeling extra creative, you can even create a prize, like crafting a medal or certificate for the winner.
Throw a dance party. Especially with many gyms closed this winter and temperatures dropping, it might be harder to get your steps in. So, why not throw a dance party? Get dressed up, create a killer playlist, build out a menu (with all family members’ input), and dance the night away.
If you’re feeling social and missing your friends, feel free to make it a Zoom dance party. Perhaps with a signature cocktail or healthy mocktail?
Multi-course meal. For aspiring chefs, use those free days to really test out your skills combining flavors and building out full menus—from appetizer to main course, sides to dessert. There are great ideas online for complementary flavors ranging from novice cooks, to more advanced chefs, to those that can be done on a condensed timeline. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, try adding a wine pairing into the mix with your main, using a book like Wine Folly to guide your choice. Remember: A glass of red wine, consumed in moderation, is healthy.
Pull out the mic. Some kids (and hey, adults, too) love a little limelight, so why not dust off an old microphone set for an evening of fun? Having a karaoke competition will certainly please the entertainers of the group. If you have a more introspective, thoughtful crowd, try exploring poetry together, coupled with a reading of favorite poems at the night’s end. From Shel Silverstein to T.S. Eliot, poetry can be a great way to explore and learn, as well.
Go on a holiday candy hunt. Try hiding some holiday candy around the house for an afternoon scavenger hunt adventure. Depending on the age of the participants, make it a little challenging if you can to find all 10, 15, or 25 chocolate snowmen—or another candy of your choice—around the house. Just don’t eat all that candy in one day!
Redesign or repaint a room. It’s easy to get bored or tired by your surroundings, especially this year when you’ve probably been spending the majority of time at home. If you’re caught inside over the winter, try a room redesign. From repositioning furniture, selecting new artwork, switching out a comforter, or repainting, there are tons of ways you can renovate, update, and renew your desire to stay home.
Get back to (healthy) basics. Use this time indoors to get back in the swing of healthy habits. Move a lot during the day, making sure to get up every single hour. Hydrate throughout the day, and get creative about it by eating water-rich foods and infusing water with fruit. Keep a consistent bedtime, and try to wake up every morning at the same time. Sometimes, you need downtime to remind yourself of the healthy basics.