Staying Social in the Winter
The winter can feel isolating. With shorter days and less opportunities to be outside, it’s harder to stay social.
Believe it or not, maintaining relationships is an important part of mental and physical health. Relationships provide social support, which has been proven to improve overall health. Relationships can reduce the impact of stress and increase empathy and self-esteem by fostering a sense of meaning and purpose in life. Healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system and may even lengthen your life.
Studies show that as you age, staying connected to others becomes even more important. In fact, keeping up with social relationships as you get older acts as a workout for the brain, increasing cognitive function and helping reduce your chances of dementia.
Here are some cold weather activities you can do with friends and loved ones:
- Book club. This is a great way to stay connected. Have long distance friends? Try hosting virtual meetings.
- Trivia night. You can find a locally run one or host your own!
- Potluck dinner. This is a great opportunity to test out new recipes or even set up a friendly cooking competition.
- Game night. There are tons of options for the whole group with cards, charades or board games.
- Team up with a workout buddy. Physical fitness is a great way to release endorphins and improve your health. Exercising with a friend or loved one can make it more fun and easier to stick to a plan.
If you’re looking for something more physically active, you can do winter sports, like skiing, snowboarding, sledding or snow hiking.
What’s most important isn’t the activity, it’s the quality time spent. If you are struggling with feelings of isolation, there is support available to you. All FEP members have access to telehealth services from Teladoc®, where you can speak with licensed mental health providers anytime, anywhere.