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Winter is Coming: 5 of the best ways to keep your spirits high

Winter is Coming: 5 of the best ways to keep your spirits high

December 11, 2020

As we wrap up one of the craziest years many of us will *hopefully* ever experience, I can’t help but find myself wondering what winter has in store. Ideally, the worst is behind us, and we can look forward to a bright and maybe even snow covered future! After all, we do (at least most of us) live in Iowa.

With winter right around the corner, it may seem like there will be less things to do, as social distancing is still a priority. I’m not sure about you, but I have been suffering a bit from cabin fever this year, so heading in to winter, I’m proactively coming up with a game plan to keep my mood up, remain intentional with my energy and time, and ultimately power through.

I have organized my thoughts and ideas into five main categories that include things like staying active and connected with family and friends as well as hitting up some free family fun and trying something new!  Oh and how could I forget? Winter is the perfect time to review my finances. I had to throw something finance related in here, didn’t I? Here are my ideas of things to do this winter to keep your spirits up:

1. Stay active:

As you may already know, your body releases endorphins when you exercise which helps improve your mood. Who wouldn’t want to feel better during times like these? While it might not always be warm enough to go outside for a walk, you can still find a way to stay active indoors.

Stationary bikes sales have skyrocketed this year and for good reason. One of my favorite quarantine purchases (that’s a thing, right?) was an indoor trainer for my road bike. If you don’t have something like that, you could set a daily step or standing goal or even just spend a little time each day doing basic body weight exercises like pushups, sit-ups, squats, jumping jacks etc.

2. Stay connected with friends and family:

I know phone calls and video chats are not the same as physically being around family and friends, but keeping in touch is still important for everyone. Why not schedule a weekly time to touch base with your friends and family members? Having something scheduled will give you something to look forward to each week and your friends and family will appreciate it too!

At Compass, we have done virtual happy hours as a team to stay connected while we were working from home, and these were a great hit! Start a group chat with friends or your immediate family. Compass team members have also done virtual game nights, cooking classes, and wine tastings with friends, to name a few. Get creative!

3. Try new things:

Cliché, I know, but it is so easy to fall in to the habit of doing the same things over and over. What better time to try new things than right now? Some new things Compass team members have enjoyed this year include bike riding, sewing facemasks, practicing yoga, reading for fun, and trying a whole lot of new recipes!

Maybe you had a goal at the beginning of quarantine to learn something new or pick up a new hobby. For some of us, maybe that also never happened. As winter comes around, perhaps you can pick up where you left off. Exploring new things and hobbies will not only help stimulate your brain, but it can improve your mood as well.

4. Find free things to do:

It’s always a pleasant surprise when I find family-friendly (and sometimes free) things to do around town with my son. In fact, I’ve written a blog about it before! Our favorite thing to do during the holiday season is drive around and check out the holiday light displays. One benefit to the sun setting around 5pm in central Iowa is it doesn’t keep my son up past his bedtime either. Win-Win!

You may be able to find cool holiday light displays right in your very own neighborhood, but there are also fundraising light displays around Des Moines including Jolly Holiday Lights in Altoona and Santa’s Rock N’ Lights at Living History Farms. If you and your family are feeling ambitious, get your holiday playlist ready, pack up the car, and take a road trip to check out these Light Displays all across Iowa.

5. Review your finances:

The end of the year is a great time to review your finances because you will be getting your year-end statements for all of your accounts. This also makes it the perfect time to create or update your net worth statement.  

I would also recommend that you take some time to see how you spent your money in 2020 and create a budget for 2021. If you are new to the idea of creating a budget, here is a great place to start. Since we generally connect with family around the holidays, you may consider reviewing your estate planning documents and updating your family on your plans.


I am challenging myself to be proactive, tackle winter head on, and keep my spirits high as we head in to a new year. Organizing my plans and ideas like this is important because it is so easy (at least for me) to fall into bad habits, especially during times of stress. What are you planning to do this winter to stay active and keep your spirits high? We would love to hear!

As always, reach out to your Compass Advisor or Contact Us if you have questions or would like to review your year-end finances. We hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and a happy winter!