As we head into what feels like the 1,000th month of the pandemic, we’re all feeling the drain on our mental, physical, and emotional health. Since the risk of spreading COVID-19 is lower outdoors, many of us have flocked outside to spend time safely with friends or just enjoy an afternoon that doesn’t involve a screen. But with colder weather, how can we brave the winter months without becoming shut-ins?
With a fresh wave of the virus surging across the U.S., lockdowns and social distancing orders seem likely to continue through the spring. Restaurants and shops are closed, travel restrictions are in place in many areas, and virtual meetups are the new norm.
Unsurprisingly, anxiety and depression are on the rise for U.S. adults this year. That includes high-profile names like Michelle Obama, who recently shared that she’s experiencing low-grade depression during the pandemic. Seasonal affective disorder, which affects up to 10 million Americans every year, is also coming back into season as the days get shorter and colder.
Exercise is a proven way to battle the anxiety and depression, but with gyms and public places mostly closed or at reduced capacity, it can be tough to get out to stay active. Colder weather and snow can also leave people feeling trapped inside their homes, along with the normal risks of the regular flu season.
Even during the pandemic, it’s still possible to get outside during these winter months—and it’s also crucial for your mental and physical well-being. Here are some pandemic-friendly winter activities to put on your list.
What kinds of outdoor activities will be limited this winter?
As colder temperatures descend and COVID-19 cases multiply, many shops and restaurants that were operating outside or at reduced capacity indoors may have to rethink their strategies. This means you might not be able to dine out during the winter months—so make sure you can find other ways to enjoy your favorite local eats.
In addition, some wintry outdoor activities are a no-go during the colder months this year. As a rule, it’s smart to skip any activities where you can’t socially distance yourself from people outside your immediate household. For example, skiing, sledding, and snowboarding are not safe if there are tons of people hitting the slopes that day. Keep tabs on how busy your favorite outdoor spots are to avoid close contact with others.
What are some outdoor activities I can still do this winter with my family?
You’ll need to make some adjustments. It might not feel or look the same this year, but you can still plan to have a fun-filled winter with your family. Spending time outside, when you practice proper social distancing, is still a fantastic way to get active while staying safe. It’s also the best way to see the people you love, as the spread of COVID-19 is lower outdoors than if seeing people indoors or in an enclosed space.
For inspiration, check out this list of winter ideas:
- Skiing, snowboarding, and sledding make great use of winter’s elements. Make sure to pick out times and locations where it’s likely that fewer people will be around.
- Ice skating can get your heart pumping, as long as you’re masked properly and keeping 6 feet away from other skaters.
- Drive-in movies are making a comeback, so you can finally enjoy watching something other than Netflix from the comfort, safety, and warmth of your own car.
- Delivering meals to neighbors or friends at a distance is a good excuse to see those you care about most. Experts do not believe that COVID-19 is transmitted through food and food packaging, making it a safe activity for all involved.
- Have a socially distant bonfire with neighbors and friends. Just make sure to keep the group appropriately small, depending on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, distance yourself from others, and wear a mask if needed.
- Renting or visiting a vacation home or cabin for a safe vacation (make sure to check current CDC recommendations about traveling, depending on the state).
Have younger children at home? Keep these tips in mind:
- Depending on where you live and the type of weather you have during the winter months, playdates can involve socially distant, non-contact sports like tennis or volleyball.
- If you live in a colder climate, classic winter activities like building snowmen and playing in the snow will take on new meaning this winter for you and your children (now might be a great time to invest in new boots and long underwear).
No matter which activity you pick, all of these ideas will allow you to get out and get active, regardless of your age. Just remember to mask up, stay 6 feet away from others, wash your hands frequently, and don’t go out if you’re feeling sick. It’s also helpful to watch positivity rates in your community to determine what’s safe at the time.
Finding wonder and hope this winter
We’re all doing our best to protect ourselves and our loved ones during the pandemic, and the winter months can present new challenges as we all try to stay safe and healthy. By planning ahead and observing the proper safety precautions, you can still make this a memorable winter season.
You’re focused on caring for your family now, and life insurance is there to take care of your family later. A term life plan can provide a financial safety net to replace income and cover expenses once you’re no longer there to provide for them. If you’re in the market for life insurance, cozy up with your favorite hot beverage and explore your options with Progressive Life by eFinancial this winter.