Let’s face it, a COVID Christmas wouldn’t be top of anyone’s Santa list. But with things looking a little different this year we've rounded up some ideas to help us make the best of winter, without some of our usual people and places.
Winter comforts are more important than ever right now as we all retreat indoors. So, it’s perhaps worth taking some lessons from the Danish who are famed for making the most of their four walls during their long winters. Their approach to winter is so good in fact, that they consistently top the charts for the world’s happiest country. Importantly, the things they do cost little time or money – it’s more about mindset. Here are a few ideas inspired by their winter way of life that might help bring unexpected moments of joy, contentment and security during these trying times.
Indulge your senses
Start by looking around your home. What sights fill you with good feelings? If photographs add happiness to your space, why not pull out that old box of photos from storage and enjoy the memories they bring back? Does a cherished gift make you smile? Why not set about creating a handmade gift for a loved one? Go beyond the sense of sight. Play some of your favourite music. Snuggle your pet. Wear something soft. Eat something delicious. Light a scented candle. You might be doing some of these things already but the trick is to spend time really enjoying the feelings they create.
However small, rituals and traditions can make us feel safe by reminding us of who we are and jogging warm memories. Rituals don’t have to mean some kind of elaborate ceremony – just the little things that all people, couples and families do that are unique to them. This could be something as simple as taking the time to make your favourite coffee or cocktail. Or maybe it’s the perfect time to start a new tradition, like smoothie Saturdays, when you whiz up a different flavour for breakfast each week. Wholefully.com is a great resource for simple and delicious smoothie recipes to try.
A socially-distant walk in nature
If you are able, take a slow walk around your local park or green space, enjoy a wander along the beach or even just stroll around your neighbourhood. Bring some headphones and listen to a favourite podcast or music to really lift your spirits. This works wonders even when you can’t get outside. Not sure which podcast to try? The Kindness Project is a great place to start. In each weekly episode, father and daughter duo Chris and Charlotte share stories of kindness and explore how being kind to other people can help you live a happier life. New to podcasts? They’re basically audio programmes that are free and are available using the internet. They can be listened to by typing in the name of the podcast into your internet browser or via an app on a smart phone. Our Foundations for Life team can help you to get online if you need help with digital skills.
Morning coffee in the fresh air
Wrap up warm and enjoy a brew at your back door or just at a window open wide. Breathe in the crisp air and watch the clouds.
The world from your door
Look at the stars on a clear night. Try hanging a bird feeder so you can enjoy watching local wildlife while washing the dishes.
Screen-time is a lifeline right now for many of us and is a necessity for work, school and socialising. But it can be draining and overwhelming too. To free yourself from this, carve out some dedicated time without screens. Work on a jigsaw puzzle. Read a new book or reread an old favourite. Allow yourself to be present in the moment without distraction.
Make time to cook
If you find you have more time on your hands, cooking is a very good use of it. Bake something for someone you live with or even something special for yourself. Make something quick from scratch for lunch, or relish a slice of cake in the afternoon. The BBC Good Food website is filled with recipe ideas. Or why not try our Love Food recipe by Karbon customer Gosia.
Talk on the phone - don't text
A good old-fashioned chat on the phone to someone you trust can make the world of difference. Instead of a quick text, try making a call to a loved one or someone you’ve not spoken to in a while. Karbon’s popular telephone befriending service Silver Talk, offers the over 50s a 30-minute chat at the same time each week with a friendly volunteer.
Call 0808 164 0111 to join the service as a user or even to join as a volunteer caller.