The year 2020 is coming to a close, but the winter is just beginning.
After nine months of days that blurred into nights, sacrifices in nearly every domain of functioning, and general malaise, we will now enter a period of coldness that can be difficult to cope with even under the best of circumstances.
Those familiar with seasonal affective disorder may be particularly concerned about entering wintertime during a pandemic.
Indeed, many of the things I’ve been suggesting to my clients over the past several months have revolved around outdoor activities: picnics, exercise, foliage-seeing, park-exploring, and stargazing.
Here in the northeast, these activities are less feasible when temperatures drop below freezing.
So what can we do to keep up our spirits? How can we fend off seasonal blues with the pandemic still raging?
Self-Care, Netflix Binge, or a New Hobby?
Many of us have received the messaging that we should accomplish something with all of this extra downtime. Whether it’s learning a language, knitting a sweater, or becoming proficient in at-home facials and binge-watching Netflix, there is no dearth of advice on how to “best” take care of oneself.
But which is it? Is it best to be productive? Or is self-care the name of the game?
Rather than thinking about it as productivity versus relaxation, think of your winter plan as a commitment goal, a project.
Get a project. Commit to it. Having something to work towards and look forward to will give you a sense of purpose.
Whether it’s finishing a classic book that you never read in high school, or trying every bath bomb on the market is much less important than whether you feel as though you are committed to a task. (Commitment is a component of the personality trait called hardiness, which has been shown to have protective benefits against various forms of stress.)
Here are just a few pandemic project ideas to commit to. Tell me yours in the comments!
- Read a book that’s been on your shelf for a while
- Take an online woodworking class
- Complete a lengthy docuseries on a topic about which you’re uninformed
- Re-watch the entire series of a television program from your youth
- Learn to make a complicated dish and practice it repeatedly
- Design a website
- Start an indoor herb garden
- Write and mail letters to friends
- Draw, color, or paint
- Teach your pet a new trick