Beat those Winter Blues

Are you finding the gloomy days and cold nights are getting you down? I’ve come up with some blue-busting winter warmers to drag you out of the doldrums:


There. I said it. It’s essential. Yes, I can hear you moan! Nothing warms the body up and produces happy brain chemicals like moving. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, a gentle stroll can do it. Christchurch City Council’s Sport and Recreation page has walks, fitness centres, bike, beaches and boating, activities, leisure clubs for older adults pages full of info and contacts.

Find a local club in CINCH or simply walk the dog, dance around the house to some cheerful tunes or get exercising with friends.

Get out of the house

Now this is a simple one. Withdrawing from day to day social contact with your fellow humans can have a negative effect on your mood. Yes, it’s cold out but there are warm places to go such as your local library! Ensure that you socialise with your friends and family regularly or find a social group on CINCH.

Brighten up your house

Let more light in by opening curtains and trimming trees. Ensure your body gets light by sitting by the window. Less light in winter can affect your mood.

Help others

Volunteer your time. Helping others is great for our own mental health. It gets you out of the house, socialising and you may even get some exercise too.

I just can’t do it!

Is depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress stopping you from having a positive outlook and fulfilling life? Visit your doctor/counsellor and these organisations to get help getting your life back.

More resources from our catalogue

Resolving My Resolutions

I am firmly resolved not to make any New Year’s Resolutions this year.

Cover of The Calorie MythActually, I make the same statement at around this time of year every year without fail and invariably New Year’s Eve finds me trying to think of something that isn’t too ambitious so that I will not let myself down.

If these resolutions involve depriving myself of food or ramping up the ‘I don’t do any’ exercise regime, they are quickly kicked into the ‘totally undo-able’ bin. I have tried to commit to healthier eating and gentle, diligent exercise, but by about Day 5 I’m bored, bored, bored and bored with the whole idea. I need instant results with none of the hard labour!

Cover of The 100To help me feel better I thought I would see whether anyone else had the same failure rate as me. Unfortunately, typing in ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ in the library catalogue came up with Judith O’Reilly’s A Year of Doing Good. The author ’embarked on a mission to Cover of A Year of Doing Gooddo one good deed every day. Some called it a social experiment. At times she called it madness.’ My opinion is firmly anchored in the latter camp. Still, it did give me an idea… I am not making a Resolution, but I will try to read this book at some point during the year.

What ‘tried and tested’ Resolutions have proved successful for you?

Crossfit at the Library

Cover of High intensity interval training for womenChances are you will have heard of Crossfit. It will either strike fear to your bones or have you salivating, depending on what side of the fence you sit (or jump ) on. Perhaps you have tuned into the Crossfit games, labeled rather grandiously as the “premier test to find the Fittest on Earth”, personally I would rather stick needles in my eyes, but each to their own.

Crossfit runs, jumps, pulls and pushes beside its slightly friendlier cousin HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Gone are those long hours spent quietly slogging away on the treadmill or bike, now it’s all over in 30 minutes max and you are left in a pool of sweat, gasping for breath and wondering “why? why? why”?

Crossfit comes with its own language

Cover of 365 WODsTraining takes place at The BOX…whatever you do, do not call it a gym, gyms are for sissies. The box is where you do WODS (workouts of the day) and AMRAPS (As many reps as possible) and you embrace the SUCK…ie you get to feel really really bad.

I am not particularly enamoured of the trend. My daughter has joined up and I have been abandoned to muddle my way around the gym on my own, so I am feeling a bit bereft, however in an attempt to get to grips what is obviously appealing to many here is a list of crossfit and HITT titles.

What do Hollywood and libraries have in common?

You may not think there is a lot in common between a library and Hollywood.  We may not be as glamorous as the likes of Angelina Jolie or Jamie Dornan, but where would they be without Unbroken and 50 shades of grey?

However it isn’t just books that we have in common, it is our need to keep up with The Next Big Thing, and nothing typifies this more than and diet and exercise industry. You may have just come to grips with the low-fat ideology which has spawned the likes of low-fat bacon for goodness sake, only to now be told now that butter is good!

Paleo is still huge and cavemen everywhere must be beating their clubs with glee as there seems to be a never-ending plethora of books published in this area. Fasting is also popular although having holidayed with someone when they were on their fasting days was a pretty unpleasant experience, and one I don’t wish to repeat. Of course you can also use this time to detox using juices and smoothies, or you could munch your way a plate of raw food. It would seem that actually cooking food is akin to devil worship in some circles!

ECover of Embrace the suckxercise has also gone through a variety of Metamorphoses over the years. Jane Fonda feeling the burn has now been replaced by so-called gyms or  “boxes” where you push around tires and lift heavy chains. Perhaps all that paleo has indeed turned us into cavemen/women?

HIIT is  also big, High Intensity Interval training … gone are the days of slogging it out on the treadmill for hours on end. It’s all fast and intense now, perhaps better for the time hungry?

Craft is another area that is trend focused.  Fancy a bit of scrapbooking/mosaic/ beading? Well actually no, now it is all about quilting, knitting and a side of crochet, and if you branch out into the vintage aspect of things all the better.

Cover of Yarn, yarn, yarnYou may have thought hacking involved some sort of illegal action with computers, however now we have life hacks: Any Procedure or Action That Solves a Problem, Simplifies a Task, Reduces Frustration, Etc. in One’s Everyday Life.

This has been big on social media so we should expect more books on this subject in the next while.

Having a bad hair day? Need a makeover? A new look for summer?

Cover of The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair
You don’t need to host mice in your locks to have a bad hair day!

Christchurch City Libraries may just have the solution for you.

Check out our many books, e-books, dvds and magazines on do-it-yourself:

These are just a small sample of the many resources we have on our shelves. So, how about giving it a go? It’s inexpensive and very rewarding. Be adventurous – try something new and do it for you!

Cover of Hairstyles Cover of Complete Guide to Manicure & Pedicure Cover of Green Beauty Recipes Cover of 20 Minutes to Master Yoga Cover of Tai Chi Cover of Vintage Fashion and Couture

Confessions of a reluctant runner

Search the catalogue for RunningI’m still finding it hard to believe, but a month ago I took part in the relay in the Buller Marathon, running 10.55k. 10.55 kilometres!

It was about a year ago I started this running caper. At the time a neighbour asked if I would like to run the 6k in the City to Surf with her. ‘Like’ wasn’t quite the word I’d have chosen but it was time to try and shift some post preggy weight and get out and do some exercise.

But running? Not really my thing. Or so I thought. At the start different parts of my body certainly took turns in telling me how much it disliked this new activity I was subjecting it to. Initially, running with friends helped a lot as it was good motivation to A) show up in the first place and B) keep going when you really want to lie down and gasp. The secret saving grace of a beginner runner is the fact that no one can tell by your sweaty red faced state, how far (or little) you have actually run…

After awhile, going for a run every two or three days became a pattern or dare I say it, a habit. As with a lot of things, it’s all about your attitude and managing trick your brain into going along with this exercise nonsense.

In the process I’ve run in all sorts of weather, up hills, taken part in a duathlon and now, been part of a successful relay team. I won’t ever be in the league of “Running with the Kenyans” but running is a free form of exercise that’s strangely habit forming and even at times enjoyable! So, if you’ve got one of those new year’s resolutions that’s yet to be started, or you’ve thought about running but never got around to putting on the appropriate footwear, there’s lots of help out there if you need it. The library has loads of resources and links to community groups to get you started.

In the words of that huge multinational “just do it!”

Has winter made you ‘sturdy’?

I love my mother very much, but like many mothers she has this way with words that can floor you. Last time I was visiting her in my hometown of Invercargill she cast an appraising eye over me and commented “You are looking really healthy”. Healthy I asked? Yes she replied – “lovely and sturdy”. Now I know this is a form of compliment from my mother but sturdy for me is a large table that you could cower under in the advent of another decent aftershock!

I can confess that I may have taken the quake weight concept a little too far. You know the concept – I will eat that cream bun because the Alpine fault is next!

The fat lining my body is not going to save me – it will though clog my arteries and have me in an early grave. As my father would say – you are a long time scratching at the lid.

Here at Christchurch City Libraries, we have a multitude of  items that can help us lose weight and experience a healthier lifestyle – now that the days are longer and the days warmer. Our internet gateway introduces a huge amount of online information on health issues  while our BiblioCommons catalogue will find you numerous resources on weight loss, nutrition and exercise.

Put that cream bun down, my fellow sugar lovers and let’s get moving … tomorrow?

How DIY and flappy arms have hurt me

So I have decided this summer since I am poor but still reasonably able-bodied to do the exterior painting on my wee house. Luckily for me most of the house is brick  but the eaves and the barge boards (new word for today) were looking grim.

The problem with this is that I only have a two step ladder and  ‘tuck shop lady arms’ which do nothing to help sustain the movements of a  paint brush above my head! After six odd hours of this I was losing the will to live.  Today I am at work – and I ache. Don’t ask me to wave at you – I can not.  A grimace is all you get.

If you like myself are undertaking projects in Christchurch this summer then the library does have resources to help. It does pay to do your homework as there is nothing worse than being stuck in Bunnings trying to describe that you need paint for  “those woodie bits that your gutter are stuck to” to a bemused tradie!

We have the Home Improvement Collection that you can access 24/7 and print resources all on DIY.  Also of use upon reflection are items on weight training to make us all stronger –  personally I think I have done enough for one weekend – or at least until the second coat! Sigh.

Get ya geek on: Really useful resources for NCEA Physical Education

Cover image of "Year 11 physical education study guide"Taking NCEA Physical Education this year? Get fitter, faster, stronger and smarter with these great resources.

Want some more really useful resources for another NCEA subject? Go to The Pulse, the library’s website for teens.

Fire up your internal heater

book coverWinter is fast approaching and if you’re anything like me you reckon it’s going to be pretty cold.  It feels natural to go into hibernation mode and wrap yourself up with warm clothes, warm blankets and eat substantial one pot meals sitting by a warm fire (or heatpump).  But let’s be honest here, that can pile on the kilos.

So how about some light exercise out in the elements or in our cosy homes to keep us slightly fit and motivated? It doesn’t have to cost anything. Your library has many books on walking around Christchurch and its surrounds, running, cycling, and home exercise.

How about joining a local walking group? There are many walking groups around Christchurch and surrounds with differing levels of exercise, some even have a speaker and a cup of tea afterwards.

So instead of turning up the heater, get your internal heater fired up!