By Kimberly Blaker
Does being cooped up through the long winter months have you feeling down and lethargic? Staying physically and mentally active is essential to maintaining your energy and keeping your spirits high. So give the following boredom busters a try.
Film festival. These are often held during the winter months at independent theaters, museums, and on college campuses. If the festival has multiple films you'd like to check out, it likely offers discounted passes to see multiple or unlimited movies during the event.
Join a gym.
Get your cardio workout on treadmills, stationary bicycles, stair climbers, arc trainers, indoor rowers, and elliptical trainers. Then hit the weight machines every other day to tone and strengthen your muscles. Just think how great you'll look come summer!
Aerobics or dance class
. Aerobics is an excellent workout that also enhances energy. But if the 'E' word scares you, opt for a dance class instead. There are lots of styles to choose from: jazz, modern, hip-hop, ballet, clogging, ballroom, salsa, contra, square dancing, and more.
Attend a sporting event.
Get tickets to a football, hockey, or basketball game. If watching team sports isn't your thing, you might enjoy a boxing or martial arts match or ice skating competition.
Try a new sport.
Get your game on with a wide variety of indoor sports. Racquetball, martial arts, tennis, rock climbing, swimming, volleyball, ice hockey, boxing, bowling, and basketball are but a few. Check with your local YMCA, recreation centers, or community parks and recreation offerings.
Revitalize by scheduling a day at the spa, or give yourself a home spa treatment. Bask in luxury with a facial, manicure, pedicure, and hair treatment. A new hairstyle, color, or highlights is also a great way to lift your spirits.
Form a weekly or monthly card-playing group.
Ask friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family to join you in a regular evening of bridge, euchre, poker, or rummy. Ask everyone to bring a snack to share, and take turns with other players hosting the event.
Go to the theater or a dance performance.
Look for performances at your nearby big city performing arts theatres as well as small venues found in many communities. Community colleges and universities also often have performances open to the public.
A weekend away. Are you feeling cooped up?
Take a long weekend away someplace warm, or even just a lively city nearby. Look up attractions and entertainment before you go to make the most of your weekend stint.
Go to a concert.
Check out large venues near you. But don't forget about smaller community venues that often bring in national and international independent artists of a wide variety of genres such as bluegrass, folk, jazz, Celtic, rock, R&B, blues, Latin, and much more. Smaller venues are great because they provide a more intimate experience.
Check out a museum.
Look for museums and galleries in your community, the big city, and on college campuses. Art, history, and science museums are a fun, fascinating way to spend a day.
Visit the library.
If you like to read, many libraries offer cozy reading nooks. So it's an excellent way to get out of the house for a while and still relax. Add to that, libraries offer so much more than books. They house extensive collections of magazines, DVDs, video games, and music CDs as well.
Do a jigsaw puzzle.
This is the perfect indoor activity for relaxing while exercising your brain. Before you begin, cut a piece of wood or cardboard a little larger than the dimensions of the puzzle. That way, if it takes a while to complete, you can store it out of your way.
Volunteer for a local charity.
Choose your favorite charity and volunteer your time and service. Whether you want to help the elderly, poor, sick, homeless, kids, pets, or the environment, there's something out there for everyone. Just choose something meaningful to you.
Rearrange your furniture.
Give your living room, bedroom, or office a fresh look by rearranging for a cozier feel or for a better view of daylight to help brighten your environment.
Paint a wall.
Choose a bright, cheery paint color to brighten a room. Do you need more energy? Try red on a single wall. Orange increases happiness and social behavior. Yellow is also a good choice because it helps you think better while reducing depression. A word of caution, though. Each of these intense colors can cause irritability if overdone. So paint only a single wall if you're using a dark shade. If the color is very muted, you might be able to use the color on more than one wall in a room.
For more ideas, talk to friends, family, and co-workers to see what ideas they can offer. Visit your local library, which often is an excellent resource for local events and activities. Or, research online. Remember, time (and winter) passes more quickly when you stay busy and active.
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