Winter is Here

Winter is Here: 3 In-Person & 3 Virtual Ways to Celebrate the Season Responsibly This Year

Though winter this year may feel a bit unique, there are many ways you can still gather safely with friends to enjoy this chilly season. Read on for a few ideas on how to celebrate winter this year!

In-Person Ideas

Ice Skating

Bundling up and going ice skating is a romantic and exciting way to stay active during the winter months. There are plenty of outdoor rinks you can visit that offer all of the equipment you will need, just ensure that you wear warm gear so you don’t get too chilly – we recommend mittens, a hat, ear muffs and pants that can safely be tucked into your ice skates. Make sure to do some research into the ice rink you are going to, as some require you to reserve tickets. Sometimes these places have events as well, like live DJs or cafes serving warm drinks!

Ice Skating

Volunteer

This is the season for giving, which means that volunteering is a great way to gather with others while also contributing to your community. There are many places you can go to provide aid, if your group has a particular passion try to find something related to that! Otherwise, some popular options include going and cleaning your favorite paths or parks, contributing your time at outdoor soup kitchens or grocery distribution sites, or walking dogs from an animal shelter!

Volunteer

Snowshoeing

Many friends and couples have taken to walking to socialize. With the winter months coming, you can mix this up by renting some snowshoes to traverse your favorite trails! Usually, wherever you rent your shoes from, you can get great advice on the most scenic local trails. Plot out a path with your friends or partner, and then get out and chat on the way to your destination! Wherever you end up, we recommend choosing a location with warm drinks to serve as a reward for getting out and active during the cold months! To add to the romance, try a shorter trail at night under the stars!

Snowshoeing

Virtual Ideas

The holidays are around the corner, and while you may be celebrating differently this year, there are many ways to still spend time with those you love. It is important to stay social during these times to keep from feeling isolated, and to do so safely. Whether on a double-date or socially-distancing with family, here are some ideas to help you stay connected over the holidays.

Paint & Warm Drinks on Zoom

Everyone loves paint & wine activities, try this twist on the classic to warm up during these chilly months! First order the painting supplies or pick them up from your local craft store – you can also try another artistic medium if you would prefer! Then, grab your drinks and find a video on Youtube to paint along with as a group on a video chat platform like Zoom! This can be an alcoholic activity or not depending on your preferences, just switch up the warm drink ideas. Some of our favorites include hot chocolate, hot toddies, hot apple cider, or mulled wine. This activity is bound to not only keep you warm but will be a fun misadventure as you try to follow the paint lesson with your loved ones.

Drinks

Build Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread houses are commonly made together as a family, why not make it a competition amongst your friends? Together, put together a budget and rules for your gingerbread houses. Then, set a time to show them all off via video chat and spend the night rating them based on different categories like Most Creative and Most Silly. This is a great way for couples to compete against their friends, and brings some traditional holiday activities into a time where many traditions are having to be skipped!

Gingerbread Houses

Relax & Think Ahead

Does this holiday season have you feeling a bit down? There is nothing wrong with being aware of your feelings during this hard time. A great way to bond with your partner and with friends is to find ways to relax together. There are many online resources for group guided meditations – it is a great idea to set aside time to sit and reflect with others to make it a weekly or monthly tradition. You also can start looking forward to what you want to do once things are back to normal. Plan a trip together, or talk about the dates you want to go on in the future! This gives you something to look forward to and will help lighten your mood.

Relax

While enjoying the holiday season with loved ones, ensure you stay safe. To stay updated on the latest and most accurate information related to COVID-19, please refer to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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Keeping Connections Strong

Keeping Connections Strong: 5 Ways to Socialize from a Distance

Social distancing. It’s a phrase we’re all sick of, but it doesn’t seem like it will be going away anytime soon. Keeping connections strong has become difficult. You may be ready to resume your normal social life. After all, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about how social distancing impacts mental health, and how to balance the risks with your emotional well-being. But your friends or your family may be taking a more conservative approach. Or maybe you’re not ready to reenter society, and your friends are. Whatever your comfort level, we have a few ideas for socializing and staying connected while maintaining those six feet of distance.

Eat

Have a pod picnic with your friends or family. Members of the same household can sit in “pods” spaced six feet from other pods. Being outdoors and bringing your own food will help you and your loved ones feel safe, while still being able to spend time together and catch up.red meal

Exercise

Go hiking. Again, being outdoors lessens any risks you may be worried about, and hiking six feet apart is not difficult to maintain. Plus, being outside and getting some exercise will lift your mood.

Read

Start a book club. This is a great way to socialize with people whose comfort level differs from your own. People who want to meet in person can do so, and those who prefer to stay virtual can join via video chat. Need an idea for the first read? Check out this list.Keeping Connections Strong

Engage

Start a neighborhood activity. A Chicagoland mom came up with the idea of a shamrock hunt for kids back in March. The post went viral and inspired people in other communities, as well. If you don’t know your neighbors, this is a great way to meet them. Try starting a non-holiday version of the popular “You’ve been Boo’d” Halloween game where people leave mystery packages for neighbors, with a note to do the same for the next person.

Think

Run a trivia night. This is also an activity that can be done both in-person and virtually, depending on people’s comfort levels. Don’t know how to start a trivia night? Check out this guide.

We hope that you find an activity to suit your comfort level and allow you to stay connected to friends and loved ones. Stay safe while keeping connections strong!

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Remote socialization

Remote Socialization: Virtual Activities to Try with Others During COVID-19

Many of us have been searching for new ways to safely spend time with friends and loved ones while safe at home. Luckily, many hobbies and endeavors can be enjoyed together with others remotely! Here are a few ideas to connect through remote socialization.

Book Clubs

Reading helps keep us entertained and mentally stimulated. It also gives us a great reason to snuggle up under a tree at a park or under a blanket on the couch. Share your experience with a group of friends by starting up a book club! Planning a book club will allow you all to enjoy new literature together. It will also provide a fun, structured way to chat with a group on a scheduled basis! Some groups change their book theme every new selection, while others stay on a set genre such as Science Fiction or Fantasy. You could also focus on works from a specific period, related to particular topics, or books from one author or publishing house. For a unique twist, try a cookbook club where you all attempt a recipe from the same book!

Remote socialization

Take a Class Together

Many esteemed colleges and institutes are providing select courses free of charge, such as Harvard, Khan Academy, and Yale. Take a class with some friends to continue your self-improvement journey together while cooped up at home. Courses cover topics from art history to food sciences, so there is bound to be something to pique everyone’s interest! Some masters are even offering their classes, such a Michelin Chef Massimo Bottura, who is leading an Instagram cooking course called Kitchen Quarantine.

take a class

Schedule Movie Nights

Many people are missing going to the theater together with tools like Netflix Party or Metastream to experience film together simultaneously. A hangout session like this is a relaxing way to feel like you are spending time with friends. Additionally, it doesn’t require an extensive input of energy. If you are looking to kick it up a notch, have every participant prepare a film suggestion from a theme and present all of the movies throughout the month. For example, have everyone pick a film from an individual director, genre, or featuring the same actor.

movie night

Share a Meal or Drinks Through FaceTime and Zoom

Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the company during dinner! Coordinate a time with friends to have a meal and spend time cooking and chatting over a video call app. To add another level of cohesiveness, cook from the same recipe together!

Alternatively, renew happy hour traditions over video with friends or co-workers. End the week on a light note and make it a regular occurrence after work on Fridays!

Share a meal

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