Wintry Comfort at Home

As we move into the colder months, have you started to feel the shift in moods around your house? Here are some suggestions to beat back those winter blues, by focusing on some of the more comforting aspects of winter.

Wintry Comfort

Let’s start with winter in the kitchen

Winter in the kitchen

Have you pulled out the slow cooker and started planning your soup recipes for winter? Don’t forget to add Tim Bone’s roast tomato and basil soup with crispy cheesy croutons to the list. Try out this twist on the favourite tomato soup and along with some of his other recipes that are now available at Wilson’s Fruit and Vegetables. Also, don’t forget to share the love and follow Tim Bone on Facebook while you’re there. 

If you’re a fan of Carboni’s pasta, pizza and delicious Italian food, then you’re in luck! Carboni’s has been filming video recipes to share. Follow their Facebook page to be the first of your friends to see them drop – then don’t forget to share! 

Are you missing those big nights out with friends and family? Why not try a big night in. Here’s some guides to help you start planning your feast. 

Connect with the world

Be Kine Be Creative

How do you stay entertained when outside is blowing a gale? We’ve put together these ideas to inspire you to keep going through the winter months.  

Support your local creatives by following the Arts & Culture Ballarat page on Facebook, and checking in to the various virtual events, workshops and studio tours being showcased as part of City of Ballarat’s Be Kind – Be Creative initiative.  

Even though you’re inside, it doesn’t mean you need to go into hibernation. Stay connected with community, friends and family – even just to share your newest sourdough creation. 

The Victorian Government has also launched the Victoria Together website to share some of the best that Victoria has to offer for music, entertainment, nature and art. Get lost in the wonders of our home state. 

Even though it may look a little dreary outside your window at the moment, we recommend bringing the natural world inside: 

  • Indoor plants and herbs to care for can provide enjoyment and calm during this time.  

  • Jump on to the Science and Nature section of the Victoria Together website to view the Great Barrier Reef, penguins on Phillip Island, Zoos Victoria’s live stream of animals, virtual tours of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and Scienceworks lessons at home. There’s so much to see and do from the comfort and warmth of your own home. 

A book, a cup of tea and a warm blanket are the key to armchair travelling where you can roam the desserts, forage in the Blue Mountains or walk through the streets of Melbourne and Sydney.  

For those that enjoy listening to the rain on the roof, now is a great time to pull out the mindfulness activities such as colouring in, paint by numbers and cross stitching. 

If you’re tea supply is running low or you’re feeling adventurous, have a look at Blossom Infusion’s website. Why not order some Blossum Infusion tea from local stockists, Kittelty’s and the Turret Café and Catering, and add some cakes to your order too. 

Keep calm and read a book - it can reduce your stress levels by 68%!

Readathon

How have you been feeling lately? Have you been getting frustrated more easily, or snapping at friends and loved ones? Maybe you’ve been exercising every day to release built up tension, or you’ve been flicking through Netflix for the past three days and have only just come up for air.

Have you been working your way through project after project to find a sense of fulfilment - and to stop yourself from having the time to think about what’s troubling you? Or maybe you’ve been watching social media for constant updates and planning for each contingency?  

Stress and anxiety are affecting many of us, including our friends, family and colleagues. We’ve all put coping mechanisms in place to keep us going each day.

One you might not have considered yet, but we’d recommend, is taking some time each day to pick up a book. Whether it’s in the morning when you’re feeling fresh, or during the day if you’ve hit a rough patch, or at night to help you relax before bed – pick up a book.  

What does the research say?  

  • Reading can “affect personal and social development, happiness, behaviour, relationships, education, employment, financial well-being, health and community and cultural participation” (Evans, 2017, page 1).  
  • Reading for pleasure is important. It can make you feel good, give you opportunities to learn new things, give insight into other cultures and people’s lives, reduce your stress levels and provide you with an escape from real life (Evans, 2017) 
  • The University of Sussex has also found that it can reduce stress because when you’re concentrating on what’s happening in your book, you’re distracted from reality, which then eases the tensions in your muscles and heart (Evans, 2017).  
  • Cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis, has found that reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%, compared with listening to music (61%), a cup of tea or coffee (54%) and a walk (42%) (Evans, 2017).  

Raid your bookshelf for gems from your past. Now is a good time to revisit them. Alternatively, you could try these options to grab some new books to read. 

  • Sign up to the Ballarat Libraries to access eBooks, eAudiobooks and magazines from your smartphone, tablet or computer 
  • Download books out of copyright for free from Project Gutenberg 
  • Create an account for Amazon Kindle to purchase eBooks and eAudiobooks to read on your device. They even have some free ones. 

Need some recommendations? 

We’ll keep adding more content to this page so check in for more suggestions and reading opportunities.  

Source: Evans, N. (2017). Reading is good for you: A literature review, Australian publishers Association, https://www.publishers.asn.au/news/reading-is-good-for-you

Be kind and read a book

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