As the weather gets colder and the sun sets faster, it’s easy to slip into negative thinking and focus on how much more difficult it just became to remain indoors through this pandemic.

But I’m trying to hold fast and focus on the brighter side of life. I want to enjoy the cozy weather. I want to recognize that waning daylight grants me permission to savor my evenings and life outside of my job.

So, I’m tucking into activities that feel like comfort food. I’m keeping lists of the books I want to read and the movies I want to watch. I’m researching slightly adventurous, but not daunting cuisine that I can give a try in the kitchen. I’m learning about new activities I can do at home, like increasing the size of my indoor garden, making a terrarium and learning to knit.

Being proactive about researching these ideas helps me feel less overwhelmed about actually getting started. Otherwise, I find myself succumbing to hours of screen time every night. As I’ve watched my average screen time number tick up weekly since March, it’s become even more of a priority for me. I don’t want to while away my entire winter on TikTok and Instagram, or watching television every night just a few feet away from where I worked all day in my home office.

Luckily, a library card makes all of this so much easier and more affordable.

Every time I start researching a new activity I want to try, I go straight to my Pikes Peak Library District app to search for information. Most recently, it was how to pour my own candles. I searched “candle making,” and within seconds, I found dozens of books on the subject. I placed them on hold and was notified as soon as they were ready for me to pick up.

Once I got the books home, I had so much fun flipping through the pages to see how experts go about it, and learning more about how I could get started on my own. I wrote down the supplies I needed and instructions I needed to remember and returned the books, easy as that.

Our collection holds millions of titles. Regardless of what you want to learn more about — cooking, jewelry-making, woodworking — you can find what you need. If you need help navigating the collection (which I have needed on occasion!), reach out to a librarian by phone, email, or chat by visiting ppld.org/ask.

If you’re looking for popular new book titles, renowned films and documentaries, music, magazines, or other things to make home entertaining with your library card, get started by visiting ppld.org/MyLibrary.

I hope you’ll join me in this endeavor to stay active, learning, and cozy at home. If you want to commiserate about your ideas and the things you tried, my email address is at the bottom of this story, and I’d love to hear more! We can inspire each other as we find creative ways to enjoy our homebound evenings.

Kayah Swanson is director of public relations and marketing for Pikes Peak Library District. She’s a former journalist turned nonprofit communicator. Reach Kayah with any questions at kswanson@ppld.org.

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