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The Winter Blues

This page added 31 May 2012

By Alycia (ADAVIC Volunteer)

Its official: Winter is on our doorstep!!  Daylight savings has finished and the onset of chilly weather marks the end of summer barbeques and balmy nights and the beginning of freezing mornings, darker days and the longing to stay in bed. As our time in the sun decreases and our nights get colder and colder, even the best of us can find our feelings a little down. These feelings are often referred to as the "winter blues" and are characterized as mild depression, fluctuations in eating patterns (eating more with cravings for carbohydrates), some weight gain, more sleep required than usual, and a decrease in motivation or interest. Occurrences of the Winter Blues are actually more common than you might think and any of us can experience a bout of it from year to year.

Luckily, there’s a lot we can do to both prevent the blues from coming on and get ourselves back on track if they’re already here. Firstly, exercise and eating a healthy diet can have a great effect on your mood and vitality.  As much as we love to hit comfort foods in the cooler months they do not provide our bodies with the extra energy we need nor do they help manage our waste lines. It’s important to eat more complex carbohydrates in winter and stay active! Remembering that exercise releases feel good chemicals into the body that improve our mood and help keep those sluggish feelings at bay.

Secondly and extremely helpful tool in the fight against the blues is getting some sun.  Having a good dose of vitamin D is a really good way to stay feeling up beat and motivated. Winter days bring with them reduce sunlight and sun exposure as a lot of people spend less and less time outdoors,  but this lack of sunlight can actually be quite detrimental and leave many of us feeling quite depressed.  Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Try to spend a little more time outdoors and keep your shades up during the day to let more light in. Sitting near windows in restaurants and during class is also a good idea.

A third tip is.... treating yourself!!!  Having something to look forward to can keep anyone motivated. Winter seems endless! But if you plan something exciting, your mood improves when you’re anticipating it and when the event actually comes. Plan something that’s stimulating to you—a weekend trip, a day at the spa, a party or special event like a play, girls (or guys) night out, or sporting event. When winter rolls around it can be all too tempting to fight against it, but perhaps  instead of always avoiding the cold and the snow—look for the best that it has to offer! Take up a winter sport like ice skating or hockey! Enjoy these opportunities while they last—after all, they’re only here a few months per year. Seeing winter in a positive light, with all the fun activities that it has to offer, will keep your spirits high.

While on the topic of fun activities, Melbourne is amazing in the winter!!! Our beautiful city is just loaded with exiting things to do, and, just in case you’re struggling to think of them I’ve listed some below.

Fun Activities Melbourne has to offer in winter

Chocolate Cafes: 
Remember what I said about treating yourself?  Well If you have a sweet tooth and feel like doing something a little special with a group of friends or family, chocolate cafes like Max Brenner, Koko Black or San Churro are the perfect way to share some stories and why not go all out with a chocolate fondue.. mmm YUMMY!!

Melbourne often has some amazing once in a lifetime exhibitions! They’re inside, they’ll entertain you for hours and did I mention they’re amazing? So why not head down to the Melbourne exhibition and Convention centre on the Yarra River and have a good wander around. Here are a few upcoming events that I think would be extra special.

  • The Good Food and Wine Show - Friday the 1st of June - Sunday the 3rd of June
  • Mind Body Spirit - Friday the 8th of June - Monday the 11th of June
  • Decoration and design - Thursday the 19th of July - Sunday 22nd of July   

There are so many restaurants in Melbourne that are going to be heater ready to cater for your snuggle needs. Can you imagine a better way to enjoy this winter than having a warm meal like a roast with mash and veggies and being in the company of friends? Maybe your friend circle can start a winter competition and find the best winter warmer food! Some of my favourite restaurants to visit in winter  are in the beautiful Dandenong ranges, these places have a really charm about them in winter, not to mention wood fires!!!!

  • Sky High Restaurant Mt. Dandenong - Tel: 03 9751 0443
  • The Cuckoo Restaurant Mt. Dandenong - Tel: 03 9751 1003

The Arts:
The city of Melbourne has enough talent and creativity to wow just about everyone. Unfortunately, though many of us have never experienced it. Too often in winter people find them self heading to the movies for entitlement, how about catching a live show instead? Her Majesty's Theatre has some very entertaining events coming up that might just be worth a look.

Her majesty’s theatre:
  • Sleeping beauty: presented by the Imperial Russian Ballet Company - Performance dates: 24 August – 26 August 2012
  • Michael Jackson History II: Musical Biography - Performance dates: Friday 17 August 8.00pm and Saturday 18 August 8.00pm
  • Barry Humphries: eat, pray, laugh - Performances from 19 July 2012

Feel like really braving the cold?
For those of you who feel that exhibitions and live show aren't really up your alley, and would like to really embrace winter in all its chilly glory, I have a few special activities in mind. Firstly, the Medibank Ice House - if you want to experience a real winter, The Ice House in Docklands can offer you skating on ice, while snowflakes are falling down on you! It’s for all ages and they have special activities for kids on the ice. Secondly, how about a ride on Victoria's famous historic Puffing Billy train which travels from Belgrave to Gembrook? This train ride can be a really wonderful  family activity. Although it may be cold, the scenery and majestic train are beautiful enough to warm anyone's heart. Finally, if you are after a more grown up activity, a trip to the Yarra Valley wineries might be just what the doctor order... just try not to over indulge or you may find you feel sorry when the morning comes!


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