I’ll be honest: This year, I’m worried about the winter blahs.
As a New Yorker looking toward many months of cold weather, I’m starting to feel prickles of panic. Usually, I’d be looking forward to some sort of warm weather vacation with the family, but that’s probably not happening this winter. Just having something to look forward to—a break from the gray skies and cold temps—gives me a boost, and the confidence that I can make it through another chilly winter.
This year, it’s different. So what’s a person to do when a beach vacation may feel out of reach? It’s time to get creative. Your mental health is depending on it!
Book a nearby, cozy weekend away.
From AirBnBs, to cozy lodges and hotels, there are plenty of lovely places you can get to on less than a tank of gas. Look for places with a hot tub, sauna, fireplace, anything that really dials up that hygge vibe (that’s the Danish word for cozy). Is it close to fun outdoor activities, like snowshoeing, cross country skiing, or trails? Sign me up!
I have some tips for staying at hotels during covid here, but a few things to keep in mind are calling the hotel directly (not the 1-800 number, but the actual hotel) to see what they’re doing to ensure safety for guests and staff. Also ask what common areas are like, and the onsite and nearby food situation. Doesn’t having food delivered outside your hotel room sound heavenly? I sure think so!
Do an extended stay somewhere.
Are you already working remotely? Could you work remotely from somewhere else that has more sunshine and less snowstorms? I know many vacation rentals homes (like you would find on AirBnB or Vrbo) offer major discounts for those who book month-long stays. This may be the year to pile everyone into the car and set up shop at a different latitude. That sure sounds magical to me!
If you are thinking of flying, check out the first-hand travel accounts from a few of the most traveled people I know. I found their insight so helpful when considering if I was ready to board a plane in the near future.
Take a Staycation.
Typically, I am leery of staycations. How can you really “vacation” at home when there’s a pile of laundry, a junk drawer that needs decluttering, and a pantry that you now feel compelled to organize by color (thanks, The Home Edit!)? This year is so different. So many of us aren’t traveling at all, and thus, a staycation is really better than nothing. I have a whole post on how to make a staycation feel special, but here are some of the biggest takeaways:
Spend some time before your actual staycation cleaning the house. Put new sheets on the bed, clean towels in the bathroom, stock the fridge and try to get through all that laundry! If the house is put away, it’s so much easier to relax.
Set the tone. There’s nothing like fresh flowers in unexpected places to transform your home into a pseudo hotel. Put some in your kitchen, bedroom, hey, even the bathroom! And if you find yourself eyeing a fancy candle from Voluspa or Diptyque, now is the time to splurge.
Agree on the ground rules. It’ll never feel like a vacation if you’re tethered to your regular life. Set some ground rules with your fellow staycationers—like only checking email once in the morning and once at night, no using social media. You could even pretend it’s 1983 and lock everyone’s phones away for the weekend.
Pick a theme. I know a couple who does an annual reading weekend, where all they do is read books for three days straight. They even cook all their meals ahead of time so they can just heat them up! You could watch all the Star Wars, Lord of the Rings movies. Never watched Game of Thrones? I’ll bet you could put a big dent in that one over a long weekend (though make an appointment with your therapist for the following week—there may be a lot to unpack after so much carnage!). Cook your favorite meals from trips you’ve taken in the past. if you can’t go to Italy, maybe just eat and drink like you’re there! Board games, puzzles, home spa weekend…. The possibilities are endless.
How are you planning to break up the winter blahs this year? Share in the comments!