When it comes to winter and the holiday season sometimes it's hard to fit everything festive into your schedule. With the constant to-do list and gatherings to attend it can be difficult to make time for activities that replenish but doing so can provide a deeper level of fulfillment. Over the years I have found that when I intentionally seek out activities that fill my metaphorical cup so to speak I feel recharged and renewed, ready to take on the next holiday event.
I know that many of us are fortunate to experience a bright holiday season each year and hope that you find yourself drawn to one or more of these 5 Fulfilling Winter Activities as a way to stay grounded and present during the season of togetherness.
1. Cook with Others
Over the years we have shared our favorite cookie recipe, inspired you to try making your own Fire Cider and encouraged you to shop seasonally when making our Favorite Autumn Root Vegetable Salad. During the holidays we find so much joy in spending time with loved ones, coming together at the end of the day to make a meal or savor a batch of homemade hot chocolate. Our go-to recipe for evenings like this is for our most loved Coq au Vin by Mark Bittman found in How to Cook Everything. We encourage each of you to put on your favorite music, open a bottle of red wine and get cooking alongside those you love.
2. Get Outside
I know that the winter weather can be a little moody day-to-day and that the desire to stay warm and cozy inside is at an all-time high, but I have found that making time to spend in nature allows me to feel centered and more present so I am able to manage all my obligations with ease. When time allows, I love a mid-morning hike with my family after a leisurely breakfast, or a festive day of snowboarding or snowshoeing if the conditions are right. Remember to layer for warmth in the elements and pack essentials, like water and snacks, for an epic day outside exploring all the wonders.
3. Deep Clean
If you're anything like me cleaning out closets and drawers happens more than just once a year. With raising a young one, growing out of clothing, jackets and shoes tends to happen in the blink of an eye. I have found that planning for the next season by taking stock of what we have from hand-me-downs and purchasing just what is needed to fill in the gaps is the best way to not overspend on items that will not be used. When it's time to donate gently used items we separate them into "adult" and "kids" bags. Personally I love this approach to a more conscious donating process ensuring that seasonal wear makes it's way into local "free stores," like B.E.A.R. Closet in our community. While it takes just a little planning we feel good knowing that our donation can impact those that need it the most during the winter season.
4. Giveback to Others
Many of us are beyond fortunate enough to have all that we need and more. As we head into the holiday season I like to be mindful of all we have to be grateful for and incorporate a planned giveback with local organizations in our community. Each year we change our method of giveback but it can include purchasing gifts for kids, volunteering with a coat drive or sorting perishables at our local food pantry. If you find yourself unsure of how to make that next step, think about what type of organizations speak to you the most and look for opportunities in your area.
5. Cultivate Your Traditions
In 2014 when I was pregnant I used that time as an opportunity to lay the foundation for many of the holiday traditions my family has today. From baking homemade cookies and playing games on the Winter Solstice to a late morning hike followed by homemade enchiladas on Christmas Day, we found a way to make the holidays our own. If you ever find yourself wanting more enjoyment and cheer during this festive time of year, I highly recommend cultivating your own traditions. Whether that means ordering local pastries in advance for an easy Christmas morning to staying in to celebrate New Year's Eve, you can try new things each year to find what feels authentic to you. This process has allowed me to build more meaningful connections and really enjoy the season of togetherness with those I love.