Beat the winter pandemic blues with these tips
Winter 2020-21 can be one of two things. It can be long and dreary, or we can make the most of it. Let’s take advantage of the situation.
If your job has sent you home to work from the kitchen table, or you’ve lost your job due to the pandemic, don’t just put on your comfy pants and fall into the cracks of the sofa for the rest of the winter. Binge-watching Downton Abbey or mastering video games will do nothing for your mindset, your health, or your waistline. Let’s do something active every day to beat the winter and pandemic blues.
Here are our top tips for staying healthy.
First, choose one trusted source for your news about the world and Covid in your community and ignore the rest. Don't check it more than once per day. On social media – look for cheery accounts like ZenSeekers or We Rate Dogs or The Thankful Outdoorsman. Each of those will bring smiles to your face or teach you something about nature.
Make your bed every day. Seriously. Have you ever seen Admiral McRaven’s speech about accomplishments? It’s spot on. Make your bed every day and you’ve started the day with a small accomplishment. If the day goes sideways, at least you go back to a bed that reminds you that tomorrow can start better.
Look forward to shovelling the sidewalk. How many people have never had the privilege of shovelling a sidewalk or driveway? If you have a shovel and a sidewalk, you are lucky. Use the task as an exercise. Beat the neighbour to the task and do theirs. Shovel the driveway with a different pattern everyday (like a Zen garden). Pile all the snow in one spot for a fort (or for a Canadian beer fridge).
Build a snowman!
As Alfred Wainwright once said: “There is no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing.” Get your hands on good quality winter clothes. Check the used clothing stores for sweet finds before buying new. Neck warmers like scarves and Buffs can instantly turn into a virus protection.
Invest in a pair of rubber cleats like Yaktrax to go under your boots. Under the soles are wire coils to grip the ice and snow. That way you can go for a walk without breaking a knee or hip. Speaking of walking, pick a different park, trail or street in your town or city to explore each day. A new adventure every day! How cool is that!
A 10 to 20-minute walk in the fresh air will improve your mood, give you a hit of vitamin D, help control your weight, help you sleep and lower your blood pressure. Don’t be afraid to just stand in the sun, shut your eyes, breath deep and take it all in.
Now is your chance to learn to cross country ski. I’d advise you to scoot to your favourite purveyor of Nordic gear and get kitted quickly because just like the bike stores this past spring, the skis are going to fly off the rack. Once you’ve got your gear, a trail is as close as your back yard. Check out the parks and golf courses as many have volunteers track-setting trails for you to use. Call friends to meet in the parking lot and go for a loop before having a tailgate coffee.
Consider volunteering to help with the course maintenance on your favourite local cross-country trails. That’s a great way to spend the day.
Wandering aimlessly will create a sense of unfulfillment. Don’t stay up all night and sleep late. Rise with the sun (that’s not hard in winter!) eat a proper meal and plan out your day. Watch for listlessness in yourself and others. Try calling coworkers and friends out of the blue and to check on their well-being. That random act of kindness may be what you both need.
It can be a long hard winter. But don’t let that happen. Stay healthy, respect the restrictions and make the most of it. Make your bed then go for a walk.
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