I'm a Melbourne based freelance writer with a diverse portfolio including performing arts articles and reviews, human interest stories, and social comment. Visit my blog for an overview lucy-mattersoflife.blogspot.com
Published May 7th 2013
Hibernation doesn't have to be an option this winter
So the days are getting shorter, and the nights cooler. But winter doesn't mean you have to shut yourself away from the world. Instead our coolest months can present opportunities to live a little differently, and reconnect with the world, our local community and our very selves in creative ways.
Here are ten suggestions to consider.
1. Book-up with a Difference
Curling up with a good book remains one of the top ways to see out the winter months. Sure, you can pop along to your local library. That's a tried and tested (and free) way of getting your literary fill. But there are other creative ways to get booked-up.
Book Crossing is a wonderful global initiative in which participants simply donate a book, and leave it lying around in a public place for someone else to adopt. Here's how it works. You adhere a plaque to the book and leave it somewhere, for somebody to pick up and read.
Book Crossing label
Once they've finished with it, they may choose to leave the book in a public place for someone else. If recipients register the book online, donators can follow the journey of their books, find out where it has been and who has read it. More than seven million books have been book crossed in over 130 countries.
Those working in Melbourne city might avail themselves of Melbourne Central Little Library, which operates on an honesty system. And for pre-loved books Brotherhood Books is an online sales initiative which supports the charitable work of the Brotherhood of St Lawrence.
C'mon, you know you want to. Now is the time to get involved in your local community theatre company, whether it is on stage, backstage or in a support role.
Visit Stage Whispers for up-to-date information about who is running auditions around Australia and New Zealand. Failing that, why not support a local school or community production by buying a ticket. Many schools get a show up on stage between July and September.
3. Make a Handmade Something-or-other Indoor ambiance takes on greater significance once the winter weather sets in, and opening windows for fresh air is less appealing. Make your place a tranquil sanctuary by investing in new aromas and comforts.
Knitting is a great way to embrace the cooler months
Making a new cushion or beanbag might do the trick, or consider doing a course making candles or soaps. Scented varieties are perfect for winter. If you're communally minded, you could arrange a weekly gathering at yours for friends to come and do craft work in each other's company.
5. Start or Join a 'Singing Circle' Instead of starting on the garlic and vitamin C tablets, have you considered the health benefits of singing? There are numerous scientific studies that suggest immune systems are strengthened by the physical act of singing. To find a singing circle in your area, visit Community Music Victoria. CMV also has resources and guidelines for starting your own singing circle if that's your bag.
6. Have a Queen's Birthday holiday with a difference
Every year I marvel at how well timed the Queen's birthday holiday is. Winter has begun and everyone is beginning to dread the shortening days, the cold mornings and impending head colds. One way to make the most of the holiday weekend is to embrace the Queen's Birthday with one or more of these activity ideas.
7. Visit a Long-Lost Rellie Most of us have a long-lost someone who occasionally pops into our mind. Perhaps you swap Christmas cards each year, but never get around to a real-life meeting. Winter presents a great opportunity to quit procrastinating and make an effort to visit or meet up somewhere.
8. Make mulled wine No more to be said here. Just do it!
9. Get your Footsies into Plush New Slippers
I don't know about you, but there is nothing I like more at the end of a hard cold day in 'grown-up shoes', than to kick them off, and don a pair of soft warm slippers. Personally I'm not a fan of the hard-soled variety, but I do love slippers with a soft and slightly spongy sole. The plusher the better for relaxation value.
The deeper into winter we get, the greyer it looks. But there is a solution, and one that will enthuse traditionalists and radicals alike. You've heard of guerrilla gardening, but what about guerrilla knitting – known as 'yarn-bombing'. Every community has a dull and dreary space that needs cheering up with a dose of coloured yarn. Or perhaps you might transform your own surrounds? I've got the tree trunks of the deciduous trees in my garden in my sights. Here is some yarn bombing inspiration and information about the legal status of such activity.
Picture this now. You. In your plush new slippers. The room is lit by the gentle light of your handmade candle. You sit on your newly made bean bag, glass of mulled wine in hand, as you look around companionably at the members of your 'singing circle'. Welcome Winter.