Published:
December 18, 2020

IIN Staff Picks: Plans for a Quieter Winter Holiday Season

Enjoying a quieter winter holiday this year

It’s no question that this winter season feels different than in years past. This time of year is generally full of holiday parties and the hustle and bustle of traveling – whether it be for vacation or to visit extended family. Though this season may feel quieter, it also presents an opportunity to immerse yourself in things that boost your emotional health.

Planning time for self-care and quality time with family this holiday season can give you something to look forward to, lifting your spirits and improving your emotional and mental health in the process. It’s also a chance for you to keep any yearly traditions you have, even if they’re not carried out in the same way as years past.

 That could look like:

  • Planning a movie night over Zoom
  • Making yourself a festive hot cocoa
  • Enjoying a home-cooked meal that reminds you of the holidays
  • Going for a winter hike or outdoor ice skating
  • Driving around the neighborhood to look at holiday lights

When life gets a bit uncertain, it can be helpful to nourish yourself with primary food – what we at IIN call the “food” off your plate that contributes to your well-being. This is the warm feeling you get when you take time to strengthen your relationships with loved ones, practice self-care, or extend kindness toward someone in need.

How our staff is spending time with family, in person or from afar:

“Every winter solstice, my family and I have a small ceremony during which we enjoy our favorite warm beverages and treats while setting our intentions for the upcoming year. Sometimes we will write down our intentions on dissolving paper and add them to water, and other times we toss them into a fire. This year we will likely make a fire pit in the backyard, have s'mores and mulled cider, and share our blessings for a beautiful year ahead!”

– Sheri Vettel, Education

“This will be the first holiday in a long time where I am home instead of traveling to be with relatives. I'm looking forward to having my own Christmas tree! I love decorating my tree – it gives me a little emotional boost every time I see it, and I've missed that over the last few years.

Instead of doing New Year's resolutions, I like to do end-of-year acknowledgements of the changes I’ve made, the things I accomplished, and new things I’ve tried. This keeps me focused on the positive instead of things that are going wrong in my life.”

– Libby Romfh, Project Management Office

“I'm excited to continue the activities social distancing has encouraged me to adopt this year. I plan to explore more natural surroundings around my area through hiking with my family, walk around different local towns to take in holiday decorations, and have video-conferenced cookie-making and snowflake-creating sessions with friends and family online. We're making sure to involve as many family and friends as we can on Zoom calls, especially those with a heightened risk of loneliness, when carrying out our holiday traditions.

My New Year's resolutions won't involve my usual travel hopes but will instead focus on fun self-care items and new things I can learn while I continue social distancing. I like to set a variety of challenges for myself so I can check some items off in a single swoop, and work on other items over the course of the entire year. This helps me feel immediate accomplishment but also encourages me to keep moving forward with repeated effort in other areas. This year I'm excited to put learning how to sew a zipper, writing to my two senators, and learning to cook tomato confiture on my list! I look forward to continuing to learn Spanish through a daily language app and making time for stretching twice a week!”

– Cheri Johnson, Education

“My family and I love visiting the Winter Festival of Lights near D.C. during the holidays, and we plan to do that again this year. Right after Christmas, we will head to Shenandoah National Park to hike the trails with thermoses of hot chocolate.”

– Rachel Lajoie, Admissions

“We're having a big Zoom meeting to connect with our extended family online. We decided as a family to pool the money we were planning to spend on gifts and give it to a family member who has medical expenses from cancer treatment.”

– Merritt Tracy, Education

“I will be visiting my family in New York. I also plan to do a lot of writing, since I am currently working on a couple of books.”

– Marissa LaRocca, Education

“I'm moving into a new apartment, which is stressful on its own, but especially now during these strange times! I'm looking forward to having the winter break to settle into my new home and start the new year with a fresh slate! I'll also want to break in the new (bigger!) kitchen by cooking and baking my favorite things.”

– Nina Zorfass, Marketing

“Decorating our 200-plus-year-old home for Christmas is an annual tradition. Even though many will not see it in person this year, we decided to do it anyway and make this little video tour to share with others. This home is located on the Connecticut River and is part of a National Historic District, where they built tall ships in the 17–1800s.”

– Janet Verney, Education

“It's not that fun, but I'm hoping to do some de-cluttering in the new year!”

– Jennifer Bobbe, Marketing Tech

“My fiancé and I are taking a road trip to New Mexico!”

– Noah Zingarelli, Education

Spend time doing things your future self will thank you for.

Still unsure of how to spend your time this winter season? Remember that one of the best things you can do is carve out time to boost your own health and happiness, like starting a new book you’ve been meaning to read, making an effort to drink more water, or buying more fruits and vegetables on your next grocery trip.

Making time to take care of yourself is a powerful thing, and it starts with understanding that every little positive change you make plays a role in your overall health. That’s holistic health in action! At IIN, we offer courses that teach these basics, starting with our Health Coach Training Program. Check out our Curriculum Guide today to find out more!

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