5 Ways to Spend the Long Weekend and Take Care of yourself this Winter

Martin Luther King Day is right around the corner, which means we are right in the heart of January. If the winter blues are pushing you down try one of these ideas to lift your spirits.


Go For a Winter Hike

Ah! The Great Outdoors. We think of spring and summer as the time to enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty, but winter can be a great time to explore. The Sourland Mountain Preserve, Hacklebarney State Park, and the Washington Valley Reservoir are three great places, which offer easy to intermediate hiking opportunities. Make sure to always bring a hiking buddy, drink plenty of fluids, and always use the trail maps- most parks now have a QR code which allows maps to be downloaded directly to your phone.


Bake a Tasty Treat

Cooking a new recipe can get your creative juices flowing, and you will end with a tasty treat! From rolling out and decorating store bought cookie dough, to crafting your own layer cake, the possibilities are endless!


Try a New Drink from Starbucks

Take yourself on a date, and try Starbucks’ New Iced Sugar Cookie Almond Milk Latte or their featured drink: The Pistachio Latte- Iced or Hot!


Read a New Book

Ready to fall back in love with reading? Many kids stop reading for fun between ages 9-12, which is when more reading is assigned, and parents are less likely to read to their children.


Pick up a new book this winter. Some of the most anticipated YA Novels include: Concrete Rose, the prequel to Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. Namina Forna’s The Gilded Ones, a High Fantasy Novel that burns the patriarchal ideas of purity to the ground. The Ones We’re Meant to Find, a Sci-Fi novel by Joan He, is a thrilling story of two sisters separated by an ocean trying to find each other. And Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End which begs the question: what would you do if you only had one day to live?


Meditate

According to the University of Michigan Health, “Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body.” One example is Belly Breathing; this is anytime and anywhere breath work. How to Get Started: First get comfortable, and put one hand on your belly just below your ribs, and your other hand on your chest. Then, breathe in through your nose, and notice your belly push out, while your chest stays still. Push all of the air out from your lungs before breathing in again. A tip is to purse your lips, while you do this. Do this 3-10 times and take your time during each breath. Notice how your body feels before and after the exercise! Are you calmer, more relaxed? Take note and repeat daily.





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