Beating the blues

Waltham Forest Echo

January 2020

Helen Bigham offers her advice for staying positive this month

Blue Monday, which falls this year on 20th January, is supposedly one of the most depressing days of the year. A combination of post Christmas bills, abandonment of new year resolutions, darkness and cold weather makes it a day you’d not want to celebrate – but to be contrarian I plan to embrace it! Rather than stay indoors I’ll be enjoying the healthy benefits of Epping Forest.

As Kerry Rolison, head of Suntrap Forest Centre, said: “No matter what time of year, I love being in the forest. Although the days are shorter, it’s worth a visit, enjoying the sculptural shapes of the pollards, made clearer as the leaves are off the trees.”

If you don’t want to be on your own, you can join a 'Walk for Women' group who meet Monday mornings at the Aveling Centre's café in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow. From Monday 13th January, 11am–12pm, another free weekly session called ‘Connecting Communities Through Walking’ is meeting at Friday Hill Tenant Management Organisation in Chingdale Road. Alternatively, throughout the week there are regular free walks in different parts of the borough suitable for anyone to join. They are run by volunteers from the Ramblers’ Association, funded by People’s Postcode Lottery.

You can just turn up on the day. On Saturday 25th January in Lloyd Park there’ll be a winter plant identification walk. Run by Waltham Forest Adult Learning Services, this is a taster workshop for anyone interested in gardening or the natural world. If getting your hands dirty appeals, get involved in your local community garden where you’ll be able to help develop your nearest green space. Find our more through Forest Flora, a group which supports community horticulture and promotes events and volunteering opportunities across our borough.

Getting outdoors through playing sport is an option, but why not combine walking with sport? Leyton Orient Walking Football Club runs weekly walking football sessions for men and women over the age of 50. Walking football is one of the fastest-growing, albeit slower sports to play. It follows many of the same rules as five-a-side football but is non-contact and no running is allowed.

So please embrace the month of January. To paraphrase Garfield the cartoon cat; we should all try and look on the bright side, Mondays only happen once a week and Blue Monday only happens once a year.