Health & Wellness

“Oh the weather outside is frightful…”

Winter has arrived and with it comes the end of the school term, colds and flu, and lots of holiday stress for many people. Finding a balance between enjoying the festive season, dealing with the end-of-term busy-ness, and managing the winter blues can be difficult. To help you out, Access Learning has put together a few ideas to help you and your family make the best of the winter season. Take a look!

1. Get outside every day.

Start by making sure you and your family have the right clothes and gear to stay warm and dry when playing outside in the winter. Waterproof mitts, a decent pair of a snow pants, a warm hat, a cosy winter jacket, and a pair of sturdy snow boots are the essentials, but items like a neck warmer, thermal underwear, or wool socks can go a long way to increasing your comfort outdoors when it’s chilly.

Getting outside in the winter can help combat seasonal depression and alleviate the sense of “cabin fever” we all tend to feel when we start staying indoors to avoid the cold. And we can put to rest the old idea that spending time in cold weather causes illness; a runny nose is simply our body’s way of secreting bacteria in the cold!

2. Eat well.

It goes without saying that eating healthy foods improves our overall health dramatically. Since it is cold in Ontario in the winter, our bodies need to expend more energy to keep us warm enough. Eating warm, well-cooked meals like stew, curry, chili, or soup, puts less strain on our system because they are easily digestible. You get all your protein, veggies, and carbs in one bowl, plus, what’s better than enjoying a hot bowl of soup, or a delicious plate of curry after being outside on a cold winter day?

Here’s a delicious recipe you can try making with your family!

Three Bean Chili recipe to make at home this winter

3. Make a schedule.

December quickly gets filled with things like final projects, exams, and holiday celebrations. If you or your child don’t already have one, make and post a schedule that keeps track of all the activities and items your family needs to remember when things get busy. You can also provide a daily checklist or agenda and take time every night to sit down and look over what was accomplished that day and what needs to happen tomorrow. Remember to celebrate your successes, as well as identifying what you still need to work on.

Other ways to stay organized include posting a large family calendar in a central location, sharing an online calendar through an app such as Google Calendars, or setting up text or email reminders to keep you or your student on track with what’s going on.

4. Have some fun!

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! Outdoor and indoor play offer opportunities to build your relationship with your child and foster creativity, resilience, and cooperation. You can also support academic learning through fun activities like playing cards, word games, and reading.

Here’s a list of some fun outdoor activities you or your child child can do this winter:

  1. Find a local sledding hill and take that toboggan out that’s been sitting in your garage all summer!
  2. Build a snowman. Or snow-woman. Or a whole set of snow-animals! If there’s packing snow outside, you and your kids can create endless shapes and characters by shaping and molding it, or adding accessories like twigs, stones, scarves, and hats. You can even paint the snow, using diluted craft paint in spray bottles or trays.
  3. Play Follow The Trail, a modified version of Hide and Seek. One person covers their eyes and counts while the other players make trails in the snow. Some trails lead to their hiding spot, others are just decoys. The counter finishes and follows the tracks to try to find the other players.
  4. Even if there’s no snow on the ground, you can still have fun outside when it’s cold out! Play some road hockey, go skating at an outdoor rink, take a nature walk, or play a game like Capture the Flag or Freeze Tag.

And here are some great indoor activities you can do when you need to come in and warm up!

  1. Play a card game. Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Memory, and War are all accessible for younger kids. For older children, games like Uno, Rummy, and Cheat are fun.
  2. Pull out a board game. Not everyone likes Monopoly (but if you do, that’s great!), so here are some of Access Learning’s favourite board and dice games to play:  
    1. Show Me the Kwan
    2. Cranium
    3. Bananagrams
    4. Robot Turtle
  3. Cook something together. Bake cookies, make some soup, learn how to make your own bread… There’s nothing better than working together to make a recipe and then enjoying it afterwards!
  4. Snuggle up and read. Set aside a pile of stories, grab a magazine, or pull out a favourite novel and read together. This is especially fun if you act out the characters and voices, or take turns reading.

5. Take a break

After all that food and fun, you’re bound to need a break. Or maybe you haven’t even managed to have some fun yet and are still caught up in the end-of-year stress. It’s great to be active, but healthy bodies need rest too.

What kind of self-care nourishes you and your family best? Is it a family movie night with warm, cosy blankets and a bowl of popcorn? Is it a relaxed afternoon spent reading quietly or taking a nap? Do you need calming music to soothe your frazzled nerves and set a quieter tone in your home? What about taking a break from chores and cooking, and either ordering in, eating out, or finishing up leftovers from the night before?

Whatever kind of self-care works best for you, make sure you find some time to do it. Even a few minutes of meditation, a moment spent sipping a warm cup of tea or coffee, or closing your eyes for 15 minutes can have a hugely restorative effect.

Winter often feels long and although the holidays are exciting, they can be draining too. Hopefully you can use some of our suggestions, or come up with your own, and enjoy the winter month. At Access Learning, we hope you and your family enjoy a healthy, happy winter season. We’re looking forward to taking a break, recharging, and getting back to working with our students in the new year.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Are you looking for academic support for your child in the new year?Contact Access Learning for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help unlock your child’s potential

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