While the pandemic wages on and we edge closer to one full year of the often overwhelming threat of COVID-19, some things remain steady as ever –like the clockwork transition from one season to the next. As the onset of blustery, cold weather kicks into high gear, many seniors and their loved ones are challenged to maintain a strong focus on safety and social distancing, all without succumbing to the potentially harmful effects of social isolation, cabin fever and boredom. In truth, the carefulness warranted to counteract the dangers of the virus have left many seniors feeling the monotony of daily life during a pandemic. And winter’s sometimes gloomy outlook can bring fresh concern from older adults and their loved ones. But even though things look quite a bit different than they used to, there is still plenty of opportunities for seniors to engage their spirits and enjoy the season. So, let’s get a little creative and spark some wintertime fun.

Check out the following COVID-safe winter activities to help foster enthusiasm and engagement for yourself or the senior in your life.

Put a pot on
Balance your outdoor excitement with a cozy indoor experience that’s sure to bring new meaning to the term “comfort food.” Winter is a great time to experiment with new recipes for satisfying soups and stews. From traditional options like chicken noodle soup and beef stew, to more adventurous selections like white bean, butternut squash, split pea or carrot ginger, there’s an array of choices to try out especially given our Cajun roots!

Put pen to paper
This winter consider engaging with a pen pal (or a few) to keep the lines of communication open and have something to look forward to. It’s been said that the very act of writing can help improve memory function, decrease the symptoms of certain medical conditions and evoke greater feelings of happiness. This is a fun way to stay connected, start a new relationship and partake in the joy of writing and receiving.

Dig into nature’s delights
If you have a green thumb or fancy yourself a garden enthusiast, you don’t have to let the chilly weather put a damper on your endeavors. As a matter of fact, there are certain vegetables that actually taste better after being exposed to frost. These include varieties like kale, Brussel sprouts and cabbage. Winter is also a great time to perform any necessary pruning of fruit trees, vines, deciduous shrubs and ornamental trees. And it’s the perfect opportunity to begin planning the new year’s blooms and harvests. Consider plotting out your garden spaces, ordering seeds and summer bulbs and building your garden design.

Stretch it out
The practice of yoga has long been known to help people manage stress and anxiety, improve flexibility and coordination, support mental clarity, increase strength and promote overall physical health. Often, when we think of yoga activities, we envision young, able bodies stretching and contorting in difficult positions. The truth, however, is that yoga can be practiced by people of all ages and abilities and has become quite popular among the senior population in the form of chair yoga.

Ultimately, staying engaged this winter is all about finding joy in new activities all while practicing them safely. Particularly amidst the challenge of a global pandemic, many seniors and their families are finding that perhaps a senior living home that offers this type of ongoing engagement in a warm, home-like environment is the best option to meet their changing needs from one season to the next.