I’m typing this while lying in bed surrounded by a box of tissues, Halls cough sweets and a bottle of Olbas Oil. I feel beyond crappy. I’ve had a stinking cold for over a week and it still shows no sign of letting up. This all-too-familiar ’February Funk’ strikes me every year. While it’s been a long time since I’ve been knocked for six by a common cold, it’s often around this time that I start to feel emotionally low, uninspired and a little bit teary. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Late January and early February are months which are often seen as the most depressing times of the year. But are we gonna let the winter blues kick our asses? Nooooh! Let’s join forces and fight the enemy known as S.A.D by partaking in a few activities to guide us back to our happy clappy selves *does Kenya Moore Gone With The Wind, fabulous twirl*
1. Visit The Shard!
Excuse the London-centric orientation of this first suggestion, but Londoners, have you taken a moment to digest all of the fabulous attractions that have popped up in our city over the last few years? Seriously, it’s unreal! I can recall Rich and I going to the 02 cinema last year and upon exiting the car, we witnessed some state of the art looking cable cars flying across the sky. “What the hell?” I exclaimed. I was really taken aback, and felt that we had been transplanted onto the set of an epic James Cameron film. In reality it wasn’t that dramatic, we were actually looking at the Emirates cable cars which runs between North Greenwich and the Royal Docks and takes you on a pretty unique ride across the city. And of course, London’s most exciting attraction right now is the recently opened The Shard. The uniquely shaped glass building is now officially the tallest building in Western Europe, and is now available for visitors to travel to the top of the building and take in the most spectacular views of London town. Once you get up there do ensure you stand with legs apart, arms in the air and scream “I’m on top of the world!” Tony Montana style. Tickets are priced at £24.99.
2. Dance. Dance. Dance. DANCE!
I think a huge part of the reason we feel so meh during this part of the year is most of us live sedentary lifestyles during the winter months - October to March – and by the time we get to February we’re pretty much comatose. Last September I joined my local gym with the intention of losing weight as I’ve gone up two dress sizes since I stopped playing netball in 2010. While I’ve yet to shift the desired 20 pounds, I’ve discovered a new passion that has got me on the path to optimum fitness – Zumba! I know I’m late to this particular party, but better late than never, right? My class is taught be an amazing tutor named Anna. She’s Afro Latina and brings the heat week after week with a high energy soundtrack of Salsa tunes, and some booty shaking, foot stomping routines to make Beyonce’s sultry striptease shtick seem like it’s choreographed by a group of nuns. So if you’re a member of a gym and the treadmill isn’t doing it for you, do change things up a bit by checking out what classes are available to you. And if you’re not? Blast a few tunes from your Ipod at home and back it up like you used to do at the club. The idea is to find your bliss through the joy of movement.
3. Git Money!
It’s often said that us Brits have a complicated relationship with money. We’re always bemoaning the lack of it, but we often tell ourselves that the pursuit of it is in some way crass or not the done thing. One of the best nights out I had last year was a random visit to a casino in Westfields Shopping centre at a leaving do for my mate and former staff writer, Yemisi. We had such a riot. I had never really gambled this way before but found myself with a stack of tokens in my hand, both Yems and I being schooled by an old veteran on how to ace it in Blackjack. While I didn’t strike it lucky as I hoped (I think I won a total of £6 in the end, lol), it did remove a bit of the stigma I harboured about actively seeking cold, hard cash. For a bit of online bingo fun visit a site like www.cheekybingo.com but do ensure you set yourself a budget (mine is £10-15) and don’t veer away from it.
4. Escape to the land of make believe
Ahh, books, marvelous books, what would I do without you, eh? While others achieve escapism through film and TV, I always find the most effective way to get my mind to switch off is by burying myself into the pages of a book. The next few months mark the release of hot reads by some superb authors. US writer, activist and former hip hop artist, Sister Souljah releases the follow-up to her widely acclaimed novel The Coldest Winter Ever, with A Deeper Love Inside: The Porsche Santiaga Story. If you’ve yet to read The Coldest Winter you need to get on it. Set in NYC, it tells the story of Winter, a spoiled, beautiful, morally bankrupt fly girl who is the daughter of a notorious drug king pin. When things go belly up for Daddy, Winter’s privileged lifestyle is snatched away in an instant and she is forced to go it alone. The book is undoubtedly ‘street lit’, but is written in such a riveting, intelligent and profound way that you find yourself caught up in the heart-pounding shenanigans of Winter and her crew. I can’t wait to get my teeth into the follow up, which is centred on the life of Winter’s sister, Porsche.
Other books to look out for in the upcoming months are:
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – An expansive tale about two friends whose relationship is put to the test when one uproots from Nigeria to America. Out in April.
I Would Die For You: Why Prince Became an Icon by Toure – Frequent readers of this blog will know I’m a HUGE Prince fan. I’m not sure what famed cultural critic and writer, Toure will bring to the table as Prince is notoriously private, but I’ll be reading.