Beat the winter blahs
Some people thrive during the winter months. For them, there’s not a shortage of fun activities to do. But for those who don’t enjoy cold-weather sports, the winter months can drag on. Cabin fever sets in.
What frugal activities do you do during winter months?
To help you avoid going stir-crazy waiting for spring, here are a few blah-busting tips:
Splurging a bit on food is a nice winter luxury. Planning a special meal once a week will give you something to look forward to. Winter is the perfect time to expand your cooking repertoire. Buy or borrow a new cookbook or search online for new recipes to try. Make eating healthier part of your goals for 2012. It’s the perfect time to grow kitchen herbs, too.
Grab a comedy and laugh, catch up on a TV series you might have missed or watch programs that focus on the outdoors. Gardening shows can inspire you, and it’s not too early to order seeds and get a jump-start on your garden with winter sowing. For more information, check out www.wintersown.org.
While you can’t stay out as long during colder months, a brisk walk will do you some good. Breathe in the air and absorb the sunlight. Set up a bird feeder and birdwatch. Grab your camera and take some scenic pictures, too.
If you’re not into winter sports, there are plenty of exercises you can do inside. There’s time to get in shape before summer. Work out with an exercise video for 20 minutes a day. For ways to stay fit at home on a budget visit: www.frugalvillage.com/2009/12/03/stay-fit-on-a-budget.
Take a class:
If you’ve been thinking about taking a class like cake decorating, knitting or learning a foreign language, do it. Get out and interact with other people. Look for classes that interest you at your local craft store, gym, community center or community college. If you can’t find an affordable class, start a group yourself.
Prefer not to be around other people? Take free classes online. There are plenty of resources available, such as:
— Open Yale Courses. Information on free introductory courses is available at oyc.yale.edu.
— The OpenCourseWare Consortium at www.ocwconsortium.org is a collaborative effort by colleges and universities to share courses and lectures online. Notably, MIT is now offering official certificates for online study.
— UC Berkeley offers audio and video classes at webcast.berkeley.edu.
— Apple makes lectures, films, foreign language lessons and more available through iTunes U at www.apple.com/education/itunes-u.
— The BBC offers audio and video foreign language classes in French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, German, Portuguese and Chinese at www.bbc.co.uk/languages.
— Search YouTube and you’re sure to find virtually any how-to instruction video you’re looking for.
Add some color:
Open up curtains and blinds and let the sunshine in. Add a fruit bowl, scented candles or a decorative accent, such as placemats, toss pillows or a new shower curtain, to add a touch of cheerful color. Bring a few green or blooming houseplants or bulbs into your home, and listen to your favorite music, too.