By Mara Benner
In the popular HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” a constant mantra was, “Winter is coming.” Little did the writers know how real that mantra would be for Alexandrians and the rest of the northern hemisphere this season. Resilience training and a focus on our health and wellbeing is critical as we continue to physically distance over the next couple of months.
Don’t despair. There are many creative ways to enjoy the upcoming months by exploring Alexandria, connecting with family and friends in new ways, beginning a long-awaited hobby and more.
While we maintain physical-distancing and avoid traveling outside of our local area, why not become a tourist in Alexandria? Our city offers wonderful excursions and free ways to explore. Some options are virtual while others are self-guided experiences. Check out a complete and updated list at https://blog.visitalexandriava.com/free-things-to-do-outside/.
Shopping for the holidays?
Now more than ever, Alexandria businesses and restaurants need your support. As you begin to shop for the holidays, here is a list of local and personalized options for your gift giving. You have the added incentive of supporting our local economy, too.
Virtual Art on the Avenue: Rather than just one day, Art on the Avenue is now available virtually through December. Enjoy local artists with the perfect gift for your loved ones. Visit https://www.artontheavenue.org.
Alexandria shopping: Take time to view the various shopping options listed here both virtual and in person with special discounts too. https://www.visitalexandriava.com/things-to-do/shopping.
Del Ray’s Wellness District: Earlier this year, Del Ray announced the launch of the Wellness District for mind, body and spirit. The gift of wellness is likely at the top of everyone’s wish list. View the wellness businesses for gift certificates and special offers at www.visitdelray.com.
Alexandria restaurants: Our local restaurants, pubs and breweries are also perfect for gift certificates or signing up for special offers. View a list of your favorite establishments at www.visitalexandriava.com/old-town-alexandria/restaurants.
Nonprofit organizations: Don’t forget your favorite local nonprofit organization for charitable gift giving or volunteering. For a complete list go to www.nonprofitlist.org/VA/Alexandria.html.
Everything old is new again
During COVID-19 is a great time to revisit old entertainment ideas. Do you remember “paint by numbers” coloring books when you were a child? Now you can enjoy an adult version. Check out all of your options at www.paintbynumbers.com.
Prior to COVID-19, you may have attended a murder mystery dinner party. Now, these parties have gone virtual. This holiday season, try a multi-layered murder mystery game that allows you to see friends and family from far away. Red Herring Games offers a variety of dinner party options: www.red-herring-games.com.
Declutter your house
Time inside this winter is perfect for beginning to declutter your house, shredding documents no longer needed and identifying items that may be given to charity for better use.
Schedule the decluttering activities to fit your schedule. Plan a weekend dedicated to reorganizing your home. Or schedule it over the colder months by room or area. If you would prefer some professional assistance, contact local Alexandrian, Karen Gardiner with Simplify for Life. When spring arrives, you will be happy that you did.
Learn a new hobby
With the world of virtual exploration, there are no limits to the opportunities available to you. Consider what you would love to learn or explore. Virtual experiences are available for whatever your heart desires.
Take cooking classes with the best chefs, join a choir, learn a new language, explore photography classes, take a course online through a local college or university, visit the National Parks through a virtual tour or enjoy an opera from the comfort of your own home. There are unlimited options in every interest or hobby.
The colder and darker months ahead are daunting for many of us. Please note that this year may be especially hard to navigate. As we continue to practice healthy physical boundaries, it is important to know that help is available. The City of Alexandria offers an array of social services including mental health resources. Learn more by visiting www.alexandriava.gov.
The writer is founder of Four Directions Wellness, intuitively connecting body, mind, emotions and spirit. The organization is affiliated with the GW Center for Integrative Medicine and offers individual sessions, classes and consulting. Purchase a gift certificate or learn more at www.fourdirectionswellness.com.