Hello everyone, and Happy New Year! Personally, I know that I am excited for a fresh start this year. 2020 has not been easy, and I am ready to move on. Doesn’t 2021 have a nice ring to it? Anyways, regardless of how last year went for you, January is always a time for new beginnings. That’s why I have some ideas to help you start the new year off right. I know that I do not adjust well to change, and it can be difficult and anxiety-provoking for me when the future is uncertain. But I have learned that no matter what, there is always something great awaiting you. So, I have come up with a list of SEVEN (lucky seven to kick off the new year!) activities to keep your thoughts positive and your body calm, all while having fun. I hope that you guys enjoy this, and give a couple of these ideas a go.
Number One: Four Square Championships
Four square is a simple game where a square is drawn and divided into four sections, and each square is either a king, queen, jack, or newbie. The queen is the best, king is second best, then jack, and finally the newbie. Players will take turns passing the ball from square to square, and if a player bounces the ball twice in their square, on a line, or they bounce it out, they must move down or exit the game, depending on the number of players. At the end of a selected time frame, whoever is in the queen spot wins. This game is a classic schoolyard activity, and can get competitive! All you need is chalk, concrete, a ball, and you can play with family or mask up and stay socially distant with some friends!
Number Two: Ice Cream-Maker Workout
Grab a plastic bag and fill it with ice, sugar, and vanilla extract. Then, SHAKE!! You will begin to feel a solid forming in the bag, but don’t stop shaking until it feels like a large hunk of ice cream has formed. A fantastic arm workout that supplies a sweet treat at the end! What could be better?
Number Three: Deep Meditation
Take a pair of headphones and a phone into a calm, quiet space where you can safely close your eyes and be left alone. Go on YouTube, and search up “meditation” and dozens upon dozens of videos will show up. Select one based off of the time that it lasts, or the benefit- like relaxation, or sleep. Then, close your eyes and listen to the soothing voices and sounds. Meditation is fantastic because it can allow your stress to float away and can also help you break down worries. Meditation does good for your body and your mind.
Number Four: Family + Friend Butter Talk
Butter Talk? Yep, it sounds super weird, but trust me, it’s not. This is a fantastic activity, because it allows people to do a cool experiment while still staying socially distant. Have friends sit in a circle, everyone six feet apart with a mask. Put heavy cream and ice water in a jar, and seal it up tight. Start talking, and while you do, pass around the jar and have everyone shake it for a while. At the end of your conversation, open it up and you’ll have a creamy butter! Kind of a silly experiment, but it sure is fun and makes conversations interesting!
Number Five: NaNoWriMo Free Write
Some people may have done this in school, but there was probably more pressure and deadlines for this creative writing project. Essentially, NaNoWriMo usually takes place in November, and the acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. All ages can take part, and all you have to do is create a story idea, sit down and write for about ten to fifteen minutes a day, and let your mind flow. At the end of the month, or year, you can look back on your work proudly, and who knows- maybe you will publish your piece one day? Writing helps me cope with my struggles and anxiety, so I hope that you too will discover the magic of healing through writing- just relax and pour out your feelings through the pen. Get creative!
Number Six: Google Earth Explorer
Not much travel is happening now, due to COVID-19, so why not travel the globe virtually? Go to earth.google.com or download the app “Google Earth” on a phone, tablet, or computer. There are many options for exploring, including “I’m feeling lucky,” or the roll the dice option which will take you up close to a fascinating random part of the Earth. You can also type in landmarks or cities in the search bar, and you can explore them and learn all about them. Head on an adventure with Google Earth, and you’ll walk away with a new appreciation for our diverse world.
Number Seven: Bake Off Challenge
If you’re like me, and you’ve binged watched Nailed It, Cake Wars,The Great British Baking Show, and ten thousand other baking shows over quarantine, then chances are you have dreams of making fantastical cakes, cookies, and breads. So why not give it a try? Get a sibling or a friend and put together an awesome series of baking challenges- maybe even have someone film it! Whether you opt for cake mix, or from-scratch sponges and decadent butter creams and no matter if your final result is a true flop or a $10,000 winner, this will be a true delight. Baking is a hands-on, therapeutic, inexpensive way to enjoy yourself and de-stress.
So, there you are. Seven simple ways to have lots of fun this winter, all while staying safe. I hope you guys stay healthy and active, and excel in your schoolwork and extra-curricular activities this year. Best of luck to all!