There’s no doubt about it – the COVID-19 pandemic is endlessly stressful. And day after day of gloomy winter weather is surely not helping things. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a pandemic winter can have a negative impact on your mental health.

To get through the turmoil unscathed, you need something to help you cope with the stress and lift your spirits in one fell swoop. What better way to help you feel less stressed, far less lonely, and much more positive about the future than quality time with your family?

If that sounds like just what you need, set your sights on these five family activities. With one, or all, on your itinerary, you can help each other get past the winter blahs and enjoy yourselves this season.

Get Your Game On

Whether your family likes to compete in the digital arena or roll out the classic battlegrounds, you’ll love to challenge each other to a game or two this pandemic winter. To jumpstart those friendly rivalries, set up a video game console of your choice, like the Nintendo Switch or even an old Sega Genesis, and let the games begin.

Or if you prefer to keep it old school, roll out the board games and playing cards for a quick match whenever time allows. Even if all you have is an old set of playing cards, you can find the rules for tons of games with a quick online search.

Play Music Together

Music is a great way to get your family on the same note and plaster a smile on everyone’s faces. It’s also a great stress reliever and makes for some wonderful memories. You can bring out all the instruments you played in the school band or try out something new, like a kalimba. You can even create instruments from items found around the house or just sing together instead.

No matter what’s your instrument of choice, you can look up classic music online or take a trip to the local music store for licensed pieces. If you’re feeling exceptionally creative, you can have everyone freestyle to create original arrangements.

Tell Stories Around the Fire

Whether you have a fireplace inside or a backyard firepit setup, you can get the family together for awesome stories on a regular basis. Everyone loves to hear about fun memories from the past, scary stories made up just for this occasion, and everything in between. Even the youngest in the crowd will enjoy getting in on the fun and telling a few tales of their own.

Be sure to bring out the s’mores or hot cocoa to make this activity even more magical for all. If you want to spend all evening outside, make a foil pack dinner and dessert for each person in your group.

Take a Scenic Road Trip

As long as it’s not too rainy or frozen outside, you can take a scenic road trip with your family. You’ll want to map out your itinerary first to check out the landmarks you want to see. As you do that, find places that are still open for takeout food and figure out where to take bathroom breaks to avoid surprises along the way. Also, mark down a few parks or trails where you can stretch your legs while still social distancing.

Go RVing

If you simply need to get away from it all for a few days, RVing is still an option through the winter pandemic. In fact, since not as many people go camping during the winter season, you won’t have to worry about social distancing nearly as much while you’re out.

Before you go, figure out which campgrounds are still open or find somewhere to stay on Crown land. Also, use a winter RVing checklist to get your rig ready to go and plan for what’s ahead. Then, pack up all your warmest clothes and plenty of comfort food, and then hit the road for an adventure to remember.

As you look for ways to get through this pandemic winter experience, there’s one thing you can count on: Spending time with your family will pay off in dividends now and in the future. You won’t regret all the time you put into finding activities everyone will enjoy – and perhaps even create new traditions that’ll last long after COVID is a distant memory.

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