How to stay active amid a pandemic winter in Minnesota

This winter weather has been a taste of what’s to come in the next few months, and it could be a tough transition on top of a tough year of COVID-19.

“This has kind of been another surprise in a year of surprises for us,” said therapist Caroline Poland, Founder and CEO of Poland and Associates.

Poland said that with so much already changing in the COVID-19 world, the transition to winter will likely be more challenging than ever. 

“Heading into the winter, there can certainly be a spike of anxiety any given year, but especially in conditions of uncertainty.”

The only thing that is certain is that a Minnesota winter is coming, and while most Minnesotans are used to staying active in the winter, this year, it will be critical.

“Being able to get outside – direct sunlight, physical movement – those things are still really important,” she said.

Skiers and snowboarders are already out taking advantage of an early winter at Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wisconsin, which opened Sunday for one of the earliest preseasons in their 71-year history.  

“We had to stop selling lift tickets at 1:30 p.m. because the lift lines were just too long,” said Marsha Hovey with Trollhaugen. 

It’s a likely indication of what’s expected to be a very busy winter on the slopes. 

“I think there’s a lot of people that are extra anxious to get on snow and do the activity that they know and love,” Hovey said.

Meanwhile, winter lights are already getting warmed up a the U of M Arboretum

“I am really excited for what we can do this year,” said Wendy Composto, Events Manager for the Arboretum.

Winter Lights 2020: Winter in Bloom at the Arboretum starts Nov. 19. Tickets will be available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Jan. 3. 

“We like to highlight what we do here with plants and keep it blooming in the winter with lights, too,” Composto said.

She also said they’re prepared for people get out on the trails all winter long. 

“We have 1,200 acres. We’re the perfect place to be outside.” 

However you like to do it, Poland said now is a good time to start planning ways to get out of the house this winter.

“Create a plan so that when we have those hard days, we’ve already planned for it.” 

Visit Poland’s YouTube channel for more information on mental health during the pandemic.