When stuck inside in winter because of the cold, ice and snow, it’s an opportune time to chill and do what you normally don’t have time to do.
You can veg out or be really productive—and try new things. You'll be surprised how terrific you will feel after tackling a new recipe for paella or buche de noel, soaking for an hour in a hot tub, cleaning and dusting your bookshelves which you haven’t had time to do in a year, working on that novel which you’ve been writing in fits and starts in your head, or just sitting on the sofa with a good magazine or book wrapped in a cashmere blanket, blazing fire in the fireplace, cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows in hand and your significant other snuggling next to you.
Take advantage of this opportunity to nest and rest and warm up from the cold with these 23 suggestions:
- Clean out closets and get rid of clothes you haven’t worn in at least three years. Or give your refrigerator a good purging and cleaning. Get rid of all the stale and outdated food also hiding behind stuff in the freezer. Then re-arrange what's remaining--do clothes by season and color and get rid of all those shoes you never wear. Put any you will never wear in a pile to give to Goodwill or another worthy organization.
- Binge read. Pick up some of the classics you read in school like Dickens, all six Jane Austin books, Faulkner, Shakespeare. Pull out the magazines you haven’t had time to read from People to The New Yorker. You get the drill. Have any others to give away; many libraries often are interested and have sales days to raise funds.
- Binge TV. Watch all the episodes of a TV series you’ve never had time to watch like Breaking Bad, The Affair, Billions, This is Us, and Designated Survivor. It’s the perfect opportunity. Make a big pot of popcorn and dig in.
- Teach yourself how to knit and pearl. Go to YouTube and find a tutorial. That doesn't appeal? How about mahjong or bridge!
- Learn how to do social media (if you don’t know how) or if you do, hone your skills to promote and market yourself via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. There are lots of resources on the Internet that give you suggestions how to do this.
- If you always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, read music, or fine tune an old musical skill, now’s the time. Sit at the piano, if you have one, and bang out a tune. Pull out your high school flute or drums and bang and beat. You will not be judged and how lucky you are to have the time dredge up an old talent or learn a new musical one.
- Drag out the board games like Clue and Monopoly. If you’re alone, try solitaire or other card games or computer word games. If you enjoy video games, now’s the time to play and learn how you can beat your kids and grandkids.
- Change a room around. Move the furniture to different places. Shop online for accessories and they will be delivered to your door. Consider a new throw, new pillows, new container for flowers or a plant to add freshness on cold winter days.
- Call your mother, your father, other family, old friends and roommates. It’s time to play catch up and your reaching out to them will be so appreciated. It will warm your heart and theirs as well.
- Channel your inner Ina Garten or even Julia Child and bake your favorite treats. Make a stew or soup that requires hours to simmer and perfect.
- Start a jigsaw puzzle that's been tucked away in a closet, or start a bigger project for a grandchild--maybe a Lionel train set with all those cute trees and people waiting at a miniature station or a dollhouse with carpet to lay, wallpaper to hang, and treads and risers to install.
- If you have exercise equipment, start to use it or use it more. Or do those stretching exercises and calisthenics the doctor recommended to strengthen your core. Go for 50, then 100 and finally 250 jumping jacks a day; great aerobic activity. Pull out your yoga mat and meditate, trying for daily.
- Indulge. Soak in a scented bubble bath and read or listen to classical music while luxuriating.
- Organize your photographs, if you have thousands like we do from weddings, confirmations, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, graduations.
- Back up all your computer files if you haven’t done so and delete material you don’t need any longer.
- Create your own Zumba class. Find a tutorial online and dance away.
- Sew buttons back on clothes that have lost them and repair any rips or tears.
- Just sit with a partner, your kids or grandkids and chat. Tell jokes. Reveal histories; even record them. Don't forget to laugh. Really connect and enjoy each other’s company now that time is no issue. It’s a great to really listen to one another when you aren’t in a rush.
- If you love gardening, plan how you’ll landscape your yard when spring arrives. There are computer programs to help develop a master plan so you carefully install come spring the right flowers for the right amount of sun and shade and water and the site itself. Research flowers, trees, plants, foliage that grow best in your climate. Come up with a schedule and mark the timeline on your calendar.
- Go through your cupboards and get rid of glasses, dishes, cutlery, pots and pans, cookie sheets and other stuff you never use; offer it to friends or family before you give it away; most of us past 50 have too much of everything!
- Set up a guest room for when friends or family come to stay. Stay a night so you know it's nicely organized with good sheets, blanket, coverlet, table for putting down a glass, pitcher, book or glasses. Maybe, install a TV, it can be small and other niceties. Make it also a den or home office if you have limited space.
- Plan a trip with your family, friends, partner, or siblings. Look at tours and Airbnb and VBRO for places to stay if you don’t want to pay for a hotel. Set an agenda and fill in the blanks as you do research online. Where have you been dying to go? It doesn't have to be far or expensive.
- Count your blessings; most of us forget to do so in the midst of all our hustle and bustle. Write them down to be sure to remember them when you're feeling down or up!
Now, sit back and revel in the fact that you treated yourself to the luxury of relaxing or doing something new or productive. Isn’t it nice for a change and a wonderful way to enjoy this year?