How Will We Get Through Winter?


how will we get through winterI ask myself this question almost daily: How will we get through winter?

The impact of COVID-19 hit our region full force last March. We were at the tail-end of winter when we began living an isolated life. Within a few months, we learned a lot about protecting ourselves, from social distancing to wearing masks to spending time outdoors. We headed into the summer months armed with knowledge.

Many months later, we are still in the throes of the pandemic. Yes, vaccinations are underway, but my opportunity for a vaccine is still far off as a healthy thirty-something. And who knows when children will receive immunizations. With colder weather and local cases climbing, winter feels never-ending.

Seasonal affective disorder is a real issue without layering on a pandemic. I long for more time outside for playgrounds, hikes, runs, and masked visits with family and friends.

How will we get through these long cold months? I get stir crazy just thinking about it. But here are a few of my plans to combat winter doldrums.

Slide into winter sports.

Skiing is a great socially distant activity. A short drive from Westchester County, mountains like Thunder Ridge, Mount Peter, and Mohawk are open for the season with many COVID precautions.

Additionally, our local sanctuaries and preserves are snowshoe-friendly, so nature isn’t totally off-limits in the snowy months. Even hiking is doable with the right layers and gear, so dig out your waterproof hiking boots, thick wool socks, and long johns.

For the kids, it’s all about sledding, sledding, and more sledding (if we get some snow, that is). Bundle up and make sure you have some hot chocolate (or, the latest craze, hot chocolate bombs) awaiting them afterward.

Bring outdoor activities indoors.

One of my children’s favorite holiday gifts this year were roller skates. They’ve been using them regularly in our basement to get comfortable and gain confidence before we eventually move outdoors.

We took a similar approach with scooters and tricycles. Riding bikes, skating, or scooting indoors is a great way to burn off energy in colder months if you have space. We still wear helmets or appropriate padding since accidents can happen inside too.

Explore your library’s resources.

The Westchester Library System offers countless electronic resources from e-books to audiobooks to movies that you can access from the comfort of your home. The electronic books have been helpful for my 7-year-old avid reader.

Local libraries are also offering virtual programming and curbside pickup of materials as well as grab-and-go arts-and-crafts. Check your library websites and social media accounts for specifics.

Spend time in the kitchen.

Baking and cooking are fun ways to pass the time during cooler weather. And there is no end to the recipes available on the internet. If you stock up on basic staples, you’ll be able to explore a vast repertoire of recipes during the colder months.

My favorite things to make in winter are soups, chilis, bread, and muffins. Better still, find recipes you can involve your kids in. We’ve had a few make-your-own pizza nights, and not only is it a great indoor activity, but it helps solve the dinner conundrum.

Get crafty.

You don’t need to be the ultimate Pinterest mom to engage your kids in some arts and crafts projects. Several local businesses are available to help, including take-home pottery painting projects from Amaze in Pottery and Pottery Factory, and subscription boxes like Little Loving Hands.

With a few simple ingredients, you can make your own playdough. Get some cream of tartar and food coloring, and enjoy!

Build some heat with exercise.

You don’t need fancy equipment to get a good workout. Participate in challenges or programs to change things up and find a new focus.

Some ideas include:

  • Crush Your Core – Do 10 minutes of abdominal workouts 5 days a week.
  • Bodyweight Strength – Add 3 days of bodyweight strength workouts into your weekly routine.
  • Jump Rope Challenge – Build your jump rope stamina, starting with 5 minutes per day and adding 5 more minutes every day over 10 days. By the end, you’ll be jumping (and sweating) for 50 minutes!
  • Namaste Fit – Do 30-minutes of yoga 4 times a week.
  • Fit Fam – Get the entire family involved with 15-minute family workouts 5 days a week.

Think outside the box.

There are ways to bring magic to the long winter. We love a good sibling sleepover in my house – we set up an air mattress in one of our children’s rooms for the sleepover. If you have camping equipment, why not do some indoor camping, complete with stovetop s’mores.

Over the holiday break, my daughter came up with the idea to do dress-up days like mismatch day and crazy sock day. It helped to break up the monotony of being home for days on end.

Take all those leftover Amazon boxes and create forts or cityscapes for your children’s stuffed animals.

Winter can often feel like a very long season in the northeast. With the limitations of the pandemic, many of us are wondering how we will get through winter. With the right mindset, we can do it. I think. I hope.