TFN looks at ways that you can stave off the winter blues while also supporting Scottish good causes
Have you got a touch of the January blues after an action packed festive season?
With cold and wet weather having been a feature for what seems like months, the new year is the perfect time to get away from the darkness and try new things.
Scottish charities and social enterprises offer a range of fun and interesting activities and events that also ensure you can lap up that feel good feeling of supporting a good cause. Check out our list of ways to beat the January blues.
First up - take it easy! The festive period, and the winter in general, can be a stressful time, so why not organise some relaxation this month?
Activities such as yoga, massages and T’ai Chi can help to release that tension in your shoulders and give you a positive mindset for the new year.
The Health and Wellness Hub provides a number of services including health and wellbeing programmes, personal development training courses, classes and therapies to organisations and community groups in Lanarkshire.
There are few better ways to make yourself feel good than helping someone else.
Volunteering can be a great way to do something different and meet new people, whilst also providing a vital service for the community.
With funding harder to come by than ever and a greater demand for the work of many charities, there are no shortage of exciting and interesting roles available at a variety of organisations.
The International Voluntary Service launched its Volunteer Pledge campaign on 1 January in a bid to curb a national decline in people helping out.There are lots of opportunities and information available on the campaign’s website.
Run a marathon
It may be a a bit of a stereotype, but running is a great way to boost your mood and release some endorphins. If you’ve always planned to run a marathon, this could be your year.
Marathon training plans generally run for between 12 and 20 weeks, so there is still plenty of time to get prepared for marathon season.
The rush of crossing the finish line is sure to make all the hard work worthwhile, and taking part in running events can also be a great way to raise funds for good causes. Lots of charities are offering places for events such as the Edinburgh Marathon (27 May) and the Stirling Scottish Marathon (29 April). Shorter distance and family races are also held across Scotland throughout the year.
If you have read the above with interest but don’t think you have the time for the more traditional type of volunteering opportunities, then micro-volunteering may be right up your street.
Micro-volunteering takes a simple idea – that people are more likely to volunteer their time in short and convenient, bite-sized chunks – and turns it into a new approach to community action. It offers volunteers a series of easy tasks that can be done anytime, anywhere, on your own terms. Organisations are often particularly keen on getting help from those with digital experience, so if you are digital savvy your skills are likely to be in demand.
Join the gym
Getting fit is one of the most common new year’s resolutions, and if you have indulged over the festive season then you may be considering getting your old running shoes out the cupboard.
Joining a gym can be daunting, but Edinburgh social enterprise Projekt 42 aims to take the stress away from getting fit.
The Leith fitness centre offers a gym space which is welcoming to all – and runs a range of classes and activities, from Circuits to Hip Hop Fitness.
Learn first aid
If you are looking to learn a new skill but don’t fancy taking on a part-time degree, then a first aid course could be a great option.
Not only will you be able to save a life or put a bandage on properly, but a first aid certificate also looks great on your CV.
Spend time with an older person
Everybody feels lonely at times, but charities are warning that isolation is already a serious issue in Scotland. If you feel that you have space in your life for a new friend, perhaps you could spend some time with someone who finds it hard to meet new people. Not only could you get the chance to hear some great stories there’s a cuppa and cake thrown in too.
Contact the Elderly organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over, who live alone, offering a regular and vital friendship link every month. It is always looking for younger people to add to its network of volunteers.
Learn to cook
Did you cremate the turkey again this Christmas?
Cooking classes will give you the chance to unleash your inner Jamie Oliver, while also encouraging you to consider a few more health options this year.
With classes such as an introduction to bread making and Turkish mezze cook and dine, you’ll be heading for the Masterchef finals in no time.