Imagine this: I’m a few glasses of wine in, slumped on my couch, alone, under a chunky blanket. “Are you still watching?” is the first question anyone has asked me in 24 hours — but does it really count if the questioner is Netflix?

“No matter the weather or time of year, we need community and connection.”

When the dormancy of winter makes staying in more and more enticing, the urge to socially isolate is never stronger. But no matter the weather or time of year, we need community and connection. It is an important component of general wellness, and mental health in particular. 👥

Read on for my 10 favorite strategies for connecting with others during the slow winter months. If you’re still looking for your people, check out our piece on finding and strengthening community bonds.

1. Enjoy a snail mail book club

Choose a novel, book of poetry, nonfiction, or cookbook. Give it a read, annotating in the margins, or, if you’d like to donate later, use sticky notes to add your thoughts on parts that resonate. Include dried flowers or leaves pressed between the pages or slip in Polaroid photos of the view you enjoyed when you read a particular chapter.

From there, mail it to your pal. Your friend can annotate around your writing or use different colored sticky notes to add their thoughts. After, they can either send it to a new reader or mail it back to you. When it’s returned, you’ll have a treasure trove of shared friendship.

2. Start a neighborhood soup train

’Tis the season for a hearty, immune-boosting soup or stew! Consider doubling up on your favorite recipe and starting a soup train with your neighbors.

Secondhand shops typically carry an affordable selection of canning jars perfect for transferring liquids, making them a great way to give the gift of a meal without sacrificing your favorite containers. You and your Soup Train Pals can make one recipe a week to share, sending jars of coziness around the apartment complex or neighborhood. 

Be sure to inquire about dietary preferences and provide ingredient details for meals shared! 

3. Host a group watch

Host a virtual movie night without anyone needing to leave their home. 

Free browser extensions like Scener and Teleparty allow you to host watch parties amongst multiple users. These extensions enable webcams, audio, and chat features so you can talk and react together as you watch.

Hulu Watch Party and Amazon Prime Video Watch Party also offer built-in group watch abilities to synchronize the playback of streamed content.

4. Swap texting for voice messages

The tone of a loved one’s voice enriches digital conversation. When carving out time for a phone call is not in the cards, try exchanging what you would share over text with a voice message instead. 

If you and your loved one don’t share the same type of smartphone system (iOS or Android), third-party apps like Voxer, WhatsApp, and the audio features in Facebook Messenger and Instagram are the most accessible routes to send voice notes back and forth.

5. Join a virtual club

Meetup is a platform that connects individuals by interests, offering in-person and virtual events.

On Meetup, you can browse book clubs, writing clubs, classes, and game nights, connecting with others virtually from the comfort of your home. Tap into an existing community of others with the same interests, or find a new passion. The best part? Most events are free!

6. Embrace the darkness and go stargazing

This may require you to bundle up and venture out, but wintertime skies offer the longest hours of minimal light pollution, making it the best time of year to stargaze with a loved one.

Make it a midnight or early morning adventure and find a safe location away from city lights and traffic. 

To indulge in the best view, stargaze when it’s a new moon. Apps like The Moon: Calendar Moon Phases can help you track the moon’s phases to find the best night to go hunting for stars — and often, your standard weather app will have some information on moon phases too.

7. Host a PowerPoint night

Like this TikTok creator, you can host a PowerPoint Night for friends and family to share reflections, favorite photos, and memories from the season, as well as celebrate milestones and reconnect. These can also veer towards the humorous, with topics that pinpoint your friends personalities or recap the group’s most embarrassing or outlandish moments. If you can’t host this in person, it’s easy to go virtual!

Tools like Google Slides, Prezi, or Canva are great alternatives to PowerPoint.  

8. Create a collaborative story

Write a collaborative short story with a pal over text, email, or by snail mail. It’s as simple as going scene by scene or chapter by chapter, passing the story back and forth to build the plot.

Start with a story premise and write as many or as few lines as you’d like. With your final sentence, end it with, “And then…” before passing it off to your friend to take the baton and add their own scene or chapter. 

Go back and forth as many times as you’d like until the story is complete. 

9. Film a day-in-the-life vlog

Instead of you and your loved one telling each other about your days, show them! 

Using your phone, film snippets of a day in your life. Include tiny details — the coffee cup you chose that morning, the shoes you wore, the win you had at work, and the dinner you cooked that night.  

String your favorite clips together in a short video with iMovie or CapCut. For files too large to send, upload them as an unlisted video on YouTube and send the link to watch. 

10. Have a communal journaling session

Call a friend for a journaling session to explore a handful of self-reflective prompts together. 

Potential prompts could be:

  • What’s been heaviest on your mind lately? 
  • What’s something you love doing but don’t do it enough? Why?
  • If you had zero fear of failure, what’s one thing you would go after this year?

Go prompt by prompt, allowing each other time to write and contemplate. Play music or set a timer as you journal. When you’re both done, take turns sharing your responses, diving deeper into the subject matter as it feels comfortable. 

Creativity thrives with limits, and while the chilly dark days of winter may change how we connect, it doesn’t have to limit it! Let the constraints of the cold inspire you to think outside the box when it comes to pursuing meaningful moments to continue enriching your relationships.

How will you initiate connection with those you love this winter? Share your creative ways of maintaining connection with us in the comments!

Cheyanne Solis is a copywriter relieving entrepreneurs to rest and invest more in what they love. She writes on practical wellness and mindful productivity from the perspective of sustainable work-life balance. Explore her work and connect here.