Lockdown activities – special winter edition!
I really wish I didn’t have to write this blog post, but here we are again… And as much as longevity of blog posts is important, I really hope that this is the one and only time when we can find it useful.
Oops no, that’s too negative! Quickly, happy thoughts, happy thoughts!
However, the reality is that many countries are under another partial or total lockdown caused by: “the one who must not be named”. And even if you’re not under lockdown or quarantine, with travel restrictions changing more times than Beyonce’s outfits in concert, you probably spend more time at home anyway.
That’s why I had this brilliant idea to enrich my previous list of 29 coolest and productive things to do in lockdown, with 10 easy and cosy winter lockdown activities.
Are you ready?
Firstly, something I’m still working on: we have to change our attitude. Instead of thinking: “how did we end up here…again?!” and getting mad at all the things you have no control over (classic me), we should use this time that is given to us in the best way possible. And here I don’t necessarily mean getting a degree in quantum mechanics or sculpting your six pack – although be my guest, if that’s what you fancy. But from the previous lockdown we learned, that making yourself overly productive is not always a good thing either.
Secondly, now more than ever it’s important to take care of your mental health. Dealing with “the one who must not be named” for such a long time, we all have our struggles. Let’s add to it winter lurking around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, and being cold and dark at 4-5 pm, our moods can easily be influenced by “dark powers” and we can end up drowning in bottomless negativity and anxiety. Uhh that was too illustrative.
That’s why my first piece of advice…followed by:
9 easy and cosy winter lockdown activities
would be to:
1. Make the most of the daylight!
Since the days are short and we’re surrounded by darkness for most of the time, we have to use the daylight to the maximum. Get up early to catch the first rays of sun (or rain in my case), have a morning (or lunch) stroll, open up all the blinds and curtains to let all the light in. Good lighting can have a real mood-boosting effect and if it’s combined with fresh air – there’s nothing our brains can’t do.
2. Make yourself cosy.
No, no, I’m not telling you to buy the whole IKEA “Decoration” section. Although new fluffy pillows and a soft blanket sound good. But if you don’t plan on doing any additional shopping, maybe you can use what you already have? Or dig into the boxes under the bed to find a forgotten blanket or pillow cases that you got from your grandma and never used. Pile cosy cushions and add a toasty throw to the arm of your sofa on standby for cold evenings – you and your home feel cosier already. If you really can’t think of anything soft and fluffy you have, no worries. Candles and fairy lights will do the trick as well. Get some fairy lights off Amazon, buy lots of deliciously smelling candles – this time of year, the choice is endless, and voilà – cosy mood guaranteed.
Now put on your favourite sweatpants, make a tea, grab a book, jump under the blanket and pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t exist.
3. Watch movies.
I know: Watch movies! That’s one of the most original lockdown activities! Hmm…no! But my real advice here is: watch cosy movies! Movies, that make you feel good, movies that can take you to another world, movies that make you laugh, movies that just have this good vibe. Unless of course Chucky or The Texas chain saw massacre make you feel cosy, then…ok! But with all the drama happening in the world, I recently didn’t feel like watching…well drama or thrillers or horror movies. Especially with Christmas coming, you want to put yourself in a good mood.
I say, that you can never go wrong with: Harry Potter, Bridget Jones, You’ve got mail, Notting Hill, How to lose a guy in 10 days, The Holiday, Love actually…
You’ll probably say that I have no taste in movies, especially that I’ve seen those like 100 times, but I don’t care. They make me feel good. Which movies do make you feel good?
The same thing applies to TV shows. I recently started watching Modern Family again and love it.
Cosy, fun vibes guaranteed!
4. Put up Christmas decorations.
Speaking of Christmas movies, why not go all the way and give your house a bit of a Christmas lookie. Who cares that it might be too early – desperate times call for desperate measures and if Christmas decorations make you feel good and cosy, that’s all that matters. Plus isn’t it a perfect winter lockdown activity?
You can even go one step further and make your own. A little bit of paper, string, pine cones, slices of oranges, tree branches, candles…the possibilities are endless. Check out this website for some ideas or visit the endless source of ideas: Pinterest.
5. Bake cookies.
The previous lockdown has spawned a new generation of bakers. Homemade cakes and pies, pastries, pizzas, bread! Oh yes, sourdough or any kind of bread actually, was the hit of spring lockdown. But what screams lazy, winter Saturday afternoon more than baking cookies? Chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, caramel, cinnamon, marshmallow cookies, little brownies and now with Christmas approaching – gingerbread…the possibilities are endless. I bet I made you dribble a little. I usually go for the easiest and fastest recipe, but you can definitely make a fun afternoon out of it. Play some music, have a glass of wine, invite your friends (if it’s allowed) and bake away! It might become one of your favourite lockdown activities.
Those are my tried-out recipes for delicious cookies: classic vegan chocolate chip cookies, salted triple chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies. They are all vegan though, so if you’re not into that, go on Pinterest and find what you feel like making.
6. Try out new recipes.
If sweet things aren’t your thing but you’re on the hunt for foodie projects, why not try some warming winter soups, slow cooked stews and casseroles, that fill your house with delicious cooking smells or a cuisine that you haven’t tried before. You can even make a travel game out of it: pick a country on the map and then search for a dish on Pinterest you can try from this particular country. My personal favourites are: Indian Dahl, Japanese ramen, English cottage pie (I make it vegan) and Mexican chilli con carne (I make it sin carne).
7. Stay active.
After all this cooking and baking we are going to need some exercising. I know, I know, you’d rather just stay on the sofa and eat all the cookies, but exactly for this reason, you have to get your bottom moving. Even if you have to make yourself. Sedentary behaviour and low levels of physical activity can have negative effects on your health, well-being and quality of life in general. Not to mention, lockdown, combined with darkness and coldness may cause additional stress and challenge your mental health.
No matter what kind of sport activity you pick, it’s important to have a minimum 150 minutes of physical activity per week. So walk, run, clean (yes, even cleaning your house counts), play with your dog, do yoga, follow online workouts – the choice is yours. And even if the thought of exercising makes you want to hurt someone, I guarantee you’ll feel awesome after. Exercising is funny like that.
For all of you who like to suffer and don’t feel like they properly exercised if they’re not in pain the next day, I recommend Pamela Reif You Tube workouts. You’ll hate her and love her at the same time. And my absolute favourite: Bodycombat.
Nothing makes you feel better than kicking some as***, even if imaginary.
8. Just dance.
Speaking of doing sports, isn’t dancing one of the best forms of staying active? I don’t know about you, but I love dancing like no one’s watching (and in this case literally no one’s watching) to my favourite music and getting rid of all the negative energy. It’s not only a good way to speed up your heartbeat, but waking up your internal Shakira will put you in a better mood in no time. So bring the sexy back, prove that your hips don’t lie, just dance and shake it off.
9. Get crafty.
From home decorations, photo albums and scrapbooks, to handmade Christmas cards or even homemade Christmas presents. DIY projects are perfect for long winter lockdown evenings. They will get your creative juices flowing, give you a sense of accomplishment and will definitely kill some time. How about putting together a photo album from your previous travels, preparing a handmade Advent Calendar or painting a portrait of your partner or knitting socks for your mother? Again, the possibilities are endless. And if you find your new calling, maybe you’ll even start selling things on Etsy and make some money out of it?!
Lockdown activities can finally pay off.
10. Talk to your friends.
During these times, especially during long winter evenings we all need some extra love…and fun…and maybe even some wine. So why not organize a little virtual meet-up with your family and friends, especially with those who live alone. Bring some snacks, make some tea or grab something higher percentage and catch up on all the latest gossip. You can even upgrade it to a game night.
Hope those easy, yet cosy ideas for lockdown activities will help you survive this winter. Remember, it’s all about making you feel good, having some fun and taking care of your mental health. But if you feel like you can and want to do more, check out my 29 cool and productive things to do in lockdown.
If you want to chat, hit me up on my Instagram.
And enjoy yourself!
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