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Beating the winter blues: feel-good things to do in Bristol

Post-Christmas winter can be a bit of a dreary time for many of us, with the short grey days, the after-effects of Christmas on the bank balance, not to mention the slam of deadlines and exams that most of us will be experiencing too.

By Chloe Fox, Fourth Year English

Post-Christmas winter can be a bit of a dreary time for many of us, with the short grey days, the after-effects of Christmas on the bank balance, not to mention the slam of deadlines and exams that most of us will be experiencing too. So, to get us all through what are arguably some of the toughest months of the year, I’ve found some of the best bits that Bristol has to offer to brighten up the greyest of winter days!

Get a move on

When the weather is cold and rainy 80% of the time, its no wonder most of us aren’t too keen to venture outside. However, on the odd crisp and sunny winter’s day, a walk or a jog around the Harbourside or at Ashton Court could be just what your body is craving to get the endorphins going and replenish some of the body's much-needed vitamin D levels! Alternatively, adhering to the ‘new year, new me’ mantra could be motivation to invest in a gym membership or start a new exercise class, it’s advice that is well drilled into us but the effects of a small change such as exercising once or twice a week can drastically improve moods and help to fight feelings of lethargy. Keeping active, even during the months that do everything to put you off it, whilst making sure to get sunlight whenever possible, is proven to help with mental health, sleep quality and energy levels, making it one of the best ways to beat those blues.

Flickr / Andrew M. Whitman

Eat your way happy

Studies have shown that eating in the company of others as opposed to alone can be hugely effective for beating loneliness and boosting wellbeing in general. With voucher apps such as Wriggle, Citymunch and Toogoodtogo that provide discounts for different restaurants and cafes for up to 75%, we are pretty spoilt for choice in Bristol in terms of affordable places to go out for food, so organising a dinner with your house or a group of friends could be a great and affordable pick-me-up. Another option is arranging a dinner with friends where you can cook up something tasty together and enjoy socialising, without having to brave the weather or damage the bank balance too much.

Feel inspired

Whether it’s the mountain of work yet to be done, or the many hours of being cooped up in the library/ in your room that have left you feeling uninspired, a great way to get the creative energy flowing is by visiting some of Bristol’s finest art galleries. The Arnolfini is currently showcasing a project by the artist Briony Gillard called ‘A Now or Never Project’ with the name ‘To See, To Feel, To Speak, To Dare.’ The installation is centered around topics that ‘imagine new futures’ such as equality, environmental sustainability and compassion in politics.

Spike Island is currently holding an exhibition by the artist Christopher Kulendran Thomas called ‘New Ealem: Bristol.’ New Ealem is a real estate technology company founded by the artist to develop a global housing subscription based on collective co-ownership rather than individually owned private property. The exhibition displays an exploration of how a more ‘liquid’ form of citizenship might be constructed beyond national boundaries.
Furthermore, the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is holding an exhibition called ‘Leonardo DaVinci: A Life in Drawing’ from the 1st of February to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist's death. The exhibition will be displaying twelve of the artist’s finest drawings in order to celebrate his extraordinary scope of interests including zoology, botany, anatomy, engineering and much more. Alongside this, three young Bristolian artists will also be displaying their work in response to the drawings.

Get the popcorn out

A great way to hide from the weather whilst still managing to leave the house is by taking a trip to the cinema - both the Watershed and the Odeon have some great films on at the moment. For those of you that have seen M. Night Shyamalan’s Split (2017) or Unbreakable (2000), his all-new and explosive comic-book thriller Glass (2019) is well worth a watch. Here, the director brings together the narratives of both films to create a follow on from the conclusion of Split, with James McAvoy reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities that lived within him.

I would also recommend Mary Queen of Scots (2019), a historical drama starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. The film charts the relationship between two women ruling at the same time: Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, as well as depicting the adversity and stigma attached to women ruling. The two queens are rivals in power and in love whilst also being affected by the difficulties faced by female regents ruling in a predominantly masculine world. The combination of trying to navigate marriage whilst struggling to maintain independence works to create a harrowing story of the difficulties faced by women during the era, whilst also highlighting still-relevant issues of gender inequality.

Featured image: Flickr/ John D.

What are some of your favourite mood-boosting activities around Bristol? Epigram wants to know - get in touch!!

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