Winter is almost upon us and it’s the time of year where festivities go up and temperatures drop. This festive season is shaping up to be a little different but it doesn’t mean you can’t take up some new hobbies or develop the things you love already.
To keep you busy over the coming months, we’ve put together a list of activities that we think you should try. So put your slippers on, grab a cuppa and let’s get started.
1) Expand your culinary skills
Cookies. Crumbles. Crumpets. Cronuts (Google them). The festive season is well known for its delicious treats and hearty meals, and whether you’re a regular Nigella or a kitchen no-goer, working on your culinary skills is great for the taste buds and offers a lot of mental benefits too.
Baking your favourite dishes or treats is a lovely way to create and rediscover memories, whether that’s cooking with your loved ones or creating something a loved one once made you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a sweet or savoury person, get your hands on a winter warmer or festive dessert recipe and expand your culinary skills.
2) Create seasonal decorations
Creating handmade decorations this winter is a wonderful way to add seasonal flair to your park home. If you’re not an arts and crafts expert then you’ll be pleased to know there are lots of simple designs and ideas out there like sock snowmen or DIY tree ornaments. Most materials for some of these crafty creations you may already have lying around the house.
If you’re a bit more of an accomplished crafter who is a dab hand with knitting needles or other craft supplies, you could make some beautiful handmade gifts for family and friends. Even if you’re not a pro… it’s always the thought and effort that counts and arts and crafts are a great way to keep your hands and mind moving.
3) Learn a new language
Did you know that’s it actually more unusual to speak just one language than it is to speak multiple? Globally, more than half of the world’s population speak at least two languages and it’s not only a practical skill (even if you’re not an avid traveller) but learning a language is great for the mind.
According to academic research, bilingualism is beneficial to brain health because it keeps it exercised and active. Even learning a new word a day (in any language) or a few phrases in a different language to your mother tongue can be highly productive.
4) Test your mind and keep it sharp
Staying on the topic of mental wellbeing, there are lots of other ways to keep your brain healthy and active. Cognitive capacity and ‘brain training’ is important for everyone and there are lots of great indoor activities that can help you flex those encephalon muscles. Puzzles and board games are a fantastic way to keep your brain engaged and contribute to positive mental health.
Websites such as MIND have sections dedicated to games and puzzles that can keep your mind active. Or if you’re more of a traditional tabletop person, chances are you’ve got some board games and puzzles lying about somewhere. Nothing says cosy like a snug blanket, a cup of hot chocolate and a long game of Monopoly.
5) Join an online book club
Reading is another great way to keep your brain strong and the concept of being curled up inside with a good book is a lovely winter image. But reading is also a great way to be social and make new friends. Online book clubs invite members to read specific books and then come together to discuss them regularly. This can involve video calls or making comments on social media posts to get the conversations flowing.
If you don’t fancy interacting with strangers then why not try and kickstart a mini book club with your neighbours, family and friends? It’s a great way to get to know people on a different level while learning new things and keeping your mind challenged. If you’re not much of a reader, you could even try podcasts or audiobooks!
The festive season is going to be different this year but it’s important to look after yourself this winter. So whether you’re going to crank up the oven to bake your own mince pies or try and hit a triple word score in scrabble, we hope you find something to fill you with cheer.