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AboutMyArea Guide to Beating the Winter Blues

Published: 12th January 2010 20:41

Girl looking sad sitting looking out of a winter  

Do Something Different in 2010!

Winter in Britain - don't you just love it!  It's dark when you get up and go to work and it's dark when you get home, it is freezing cold and this year to add to the mix we have lots of snow too!  All you want to do is hibernate and forget you ever made those unrealistic New Year's Resolutions.

So much emphasis is put on January 1st, the first day of a brand new year, a time to make huge changes and big decisions that most people buckle under the pressure and come down with a real case of the "winter blues".

Local community website AboutMyArea is your one-stop shop for everything you need to help tackle the January doldrums from a directory listings for the location of your local fitness centres, beauticians, parks and tourist attractions and a Calendar of forthcoming events and activities for all the family. 

AboutMyArea have done some investigating and come up with some fun and easy ways to brighten up the dark winter months:

Go Outside and Get Walking - Take some time for yourself even if it's just a stroll down to the end of your road and back.  Wrap up warm and get some fresh air in your lungs it will improve your mood no end.  Despite the cold our bodies need natural light and 90% of adults suffer from a lack of vitamin D in winter, so remember to take a short walk during your lunch break in day light hours whenever possible.  Walking is one of the best ways to beat the winter blues and is often described as the perfect exercise as you do not need to learn anything to do it and it is absolutely free!  Nothing like a change of scenery to put the day in perspective.  Why not take a longer walk at the weekend in Lee Valley Regional Park or Epping Forest.  Please see our Places to Go section for further information.Winter leaves close up covered in frost

Get Green Fingered - The garden is probably feeling the winter blues too, so tackle the old shrubs, prune the foliage and plant some bulbs.  Before you know it the garden will be filled with colour and life.  What a reward....and you get fit too!

Let There Be Light - Buy a daylight bulb. They give off a more natural light and more daylight hours in the darker months can really help lighten the mood.

Aromatherapy - Essential oils have great benefits physically and mentally, helping to improve health and alertness and keep the mind clear.  Choose Lavender to relax, citrus oils like Bergamot and Pink Grapefruit to uplift and revive and Peppermint for a physical and mental boost.  Why not visit Abbey Health Food Shop on Sun Street to pick up some aromatherapy products.

Pack Up Your Troubles - If you really can't stand the cold and dark without a Bank Holiday weekend in sight, then book a last minute break and get some sun - get down to Abbey Travel on Sun Street or call them on 01992 716444.  Or why not fake it with a spray on tan at Rehab Tanning & Beauty on Sun Street, why not give them a call to make an appointment on 01992 678646.

Colourful party streamers close up Get Cosy - Think big coat, warm gloves and woolly hat for comfy, cosy outdoor exploring or tuck yourself up at home with a good book, thick duvet and a hot drink.  We think the best kind of warmth is from a cuddle, so grab a pal or loved one and give them a squeeze!

Party On - Don't follow the crowd, why not celebrate your new year whenever you want.  Throwing an impromptu party is a great way to cheer everyone up or why not just invite a few friends round for a catch up or to watch a movie together.  Ask friends to bring something with them to save time and money. Why not Celebrate the Chinese New Year - its the Year of the Tiger from 14 February!

Be a Better Friend - Don't put off calling that long lost pal anymore, pick up the phone and dial.  Write a letter, send a card, give a compliment or even just find the time to call your mum and tell her you love her.  When you're nice to someone, you immediately feel better.

Volunteering - There are lots of organisations needing volunteers.  If you have some time to spare why not spend it helping others rather than spending hours sitting in front of the TV or the computer - this is often a great experience that will help you feel more positive and motivated. 

Are you already involved in a project that needs volunteers, please tell us about it and add it to our Hours 4 Ours section of the website to let others know about it.

Belly dancers in colourful costumesStrut Your Funky Stuff - Dancing not only brings up the heart rate and is a great form of exercise; it's a fantastic way to break a bad mood.  Fling your arms and legs about and dance like no-one's looking around your living room. 

Why not join a local dance group and make some new friends while you're at it. The reason why exercise has such a profound effect is that physical activity increases the amount of endorphins in the body and endorphins boost feelings of happiness. Why not have a go at Salsa Dancing at Krunch Gym 01992 764433 or Belly Dancing at Everyone Active (Waltham Abbey Swimming Pool & Gym) 01992 716733 or join the new beginners Ballroom and Latin American class at Town Mead starting on 20th January call 01992 564220. Exercise can be fun - why not give it a try in 2010.  

Get Natural - There are lots of ways to get that extra boost you are looking for try vitamins, natural health supplements or herbal medicines. Many people believe they help the immune system to combat winter colds, lack of sunshine and detox your system after the festive excess.  Why not visit Abbey Health Food Shop on Sun Street, they stock a wide variety of natural remedies or give them a call on 01992 650014.  Check out our new Complementary Health page in the Health Section.

De-clutter Your Home - New Year is the ideal time to get rid of unwanted clutter in your home.  It is amazing how much better you will feel if you clear a few cupboards.  The local charity shop could benefit and you could make some money too by taking some of the items to a car boot sale or putting them on AboutMyArea Classified section (easier than Ebay, we do not charge you a selling fee and as you are only selling to local people who can collect the goods, so there are no trips to the Post Office either!). Why not get the kids involved sorting out their room as well, if they know there is a chance of making some money on their unwanted toys you will be surprised how quickly they will tidy up.  For advice on where and how to start de-cluttering why not take a look at Cluttergone website: http://www.cluttergone.co.uk/

Learn Something New - Developing an interest in something new will make you feel good during those long winter months.  Why not join a local club this year, meet new friends and learn or improve a skill. There are lots of clubs going on in EN9, how about about joining the Waltham Abbey Art & Social Club, Waltham Abbey Floral Art Society, Abbey Genealogy Enthusiasts, Waltham Abbey Art & Social Club or Becket Drama Company.  

Please see our Clubs & Organisations section for full details, do you belong to a club that does not feature in this section - please get in touch so we can add their details. 

Jeff and I started learning Tai Chi in April 2009 and will be learning it forever as we are a long way off mastering this discipline, but thoroughly enjoy the class on a Tuesday afternoon at the Community Centre. Currently they have too many members to promote this class, but will let you know when a new beginners class starts.

Stay Positive - Understand it is difficult in the current economical climate, but try to keep positive, if you have been unfortunate to lose your job, try to see it as an opportunity and take this time to re-think what you would do next, perhaps it is time to do something new, change your career path or learn a new skill. 

Smile - It's Infectious!  Even if you're having a less than fantastic day, try to see the funny side to something and smile.  Why not go to see Becket Drama Company's "Babes in the Wood" panto which will make you laugh too!

A little girl smiling with her dog

Do you have any ideas on how to beat the winter blues?  Please comment below and share with others.  We'd love to hear from you.

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