• Austria's news in English
 
app_header_v3
The Local List
Ten ways to beat the January blues in Austria
Photo: Wien Info

Ten ways to beat the January blues in Austria

The Local · 18 Jan 2016, 15:12

Published: 18 Jan 2016 15:12 GMT+01:00

The idea for Blue Monday came from a calculation involving factors such as cold, wet weather and debt levels. Many of us have come to dread the weeks after Christmas, when the party spirit has subsided and we are left with January diets, empty bank balances and overly-ambitious New Year’s resolutions. However, with some positive thinking and action you should be able to beat those winter blues. Here are our suggestions:

Get tickets for a Viennese ball

The Vienna ball season reaches its peak in January and February - and with more than 450 to choose from you should be able to find one which takes your fancy, whether you prefer the traditional waltz or shaking your stuff to a disco beat. Some of the more famous include the Hunters' Ball - Jägerball (January 25th), the Doctors' Ball (January 30th) and the Lawyers' Ball (February 6th). The Coffeehouse Owners' Ball (February 5th) is one of the most atmospheric, and takes place in the Redoutensäle at the Hofburg. Many of the guests end the night at Café Landtmann, after being transported there by a fiaker. And the Bonbon Ball (also on February 5th) at the Wiener Konzerthaus is known for its fun and informal ambiance. Now you really have a reason to dress up and forego another evening at home in your pyjamas.

Go for a hike in the mountains

Being outside, exposed to natural light, helps stabilize serotonin and boosts endorphins, both hormones which will improve your mood. That, combined with some aerobic exercise such as a hike up one of Austria’s beautiful mountains, will leave you feeling calmer and happier. And even if the temperatures out there are chilly, the forecast is looking sunny.

Get your sweat on in a sauna

One way to unwind after a stressful day at the office is a visit to the sauna - which has been shown to increase a feeling of relaxation and well-being. The heat of the sauna is also believed to help detoxify your body, and alleviate mild depression. Saunas are a part of Austrian winter culture, most swimming pools have a sauna complex, and even some city apartment blocks have their own communal sauna. They are not for the faint of heart as it can get very, very hot and Austrian sauna etiquette doesn’t allow you to wear swimwear. Many are mixed-sex but you will find that some do ladies-only days. And do remember to greet everyone with a 'Gruss Gott!' and a 'Wiedersehen!' as you enter and leave the sauna.

Go ice-skating

Skating in front of the Rathaus. Photo: Wien Info

Another fun way to get some aerobic exercise, and enjoy the benefits of being outdoors. It’s a fun family activity for all ages and once you feel confident and can glide over the ice it can be a great way to relax. For those of you in Vienna the Wiener Eistraum rink in front of the Rathaus opens on January 22nd and is a fun place to spend an afternoon or evening with friends. Other rinks in Vienna include Eishalle Stadthalle at Vogelweidplatz in the 15th district, the Wiener Eislaufverein by the U4 station Stadtpark; and the rooftop Kunsteisbahn Engelmann at Syringgasse in the 17th district.

Allow yourself something delicious

OK, so you’ve been battling away at your January diet which may involve no alcohol, sugar or dairy and generally reduced calories. But all this deprivation probably isn’t helping your mood. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself one eagerly anticipated ‘cheat day’ once a week - when you allow yourself to eat your favourite foods without the guilt. Days on end of eating nothing but grilled chicken or fish and vegetables can wear you down, and a cheat day can bolster your mood and fortitude. If you have a sweet tooth, you might decide to tuck into one of these Austrian delicacies.

Visit an art museum or get creative

Photo: Andrew Bossi

Engaging in the arts has been shown to promote wellbeing - and it could be something as simple as visiting a gallery, joining a choir or dance class or taking drawing lessons. Swiss-born author Alain de Botton believes that art holds the clues to many of life’s dilemmas, such as ‘How do I stop envying my friends?’ or ‘Why is politics so depressing?’ Maybe a visit to an Austrian gallery such as the grand Kunsthistorisches Museum will prove more enlightening than you think.

Do something altruistic

Research has shown that altruistic behaviour is linked to improved health and a greater sense of wellbeing. Why not do something nice for somebody? This could be something as small as complimenting someone, or perhaps you have time to visit an elderly neighbour, or volunteer to help at a charity, night shelter or refugee centre.

Spend an afternoon in a traditional Kaffeehaus

Story continues below…

Cafe Braunerhof. Photo: Andreas Praefcke

Feeling lonely. Got cabin fever? Why not spend an afternoon in a Viennese coffee house with a good book or a newspaper. Whilst you pretend to be absorbed in your reading material, you can sit for hours undisturbed, eavesdrop on conversations and people-watch to your heart’s content.

Socialise around a vat of melted cheese

It won’t win you any points with the health brigade but a cheese fondue is a great way to invite friends over for a meal without spending a lot of time on preparation. If you want to make it healthier you can always opt for vegetable crudites to dip into the cheese, rather than bread. But try not to lose your bread or carrot stick in the pot. It’s a tradition that if a man drops bread in the fondue pot, he must buy a round of drinks. If a woman loses her bread in the pot, she must kiss all of her dinner companions.

Party like it’s going out of style

When you’ve tried all of the above, and still need cheering up, perhaps some good old fashioned hedonism is the answer. Get all hot and sweaty at a rock, hip hop or pop concert - there are so many to choose from in Austria’s indie music scene. If you’re in Vienna, we recommend checking out what’s on offer in January at the WUK, Arena, or Stadthalle.

For more news from Austria, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Border security tightened after Munich massacre
File Photo: Paul Gillingwater

Austria has "significantly" tightened security measures along its border with Germany and put an elite police force on high alert following the Munich mall attack, a government security chief said Friday.

Rampage shocks Munich leaving nine dead
Photo: Thomas Wolf, www.foto-tw.de

Elite German police were hunting for gunmen who went on a shooting rampage at a busy mall in Munich, killing eight people in cold blood in the third attack on civilians in Europe in barely a week.

Newspaper sellers attacked with iron bar in Vienna
Pfatter/Creative Commons

Three newspaper sellers in Vienna were assaulted by attackers with an iron bar in two separate incidents that took place over one evening this week.

Bank takes new €50 note on Austrian-wide tour
OeNB

Forget Beyonce or Muse - this is the tour you want to make sure you catch in 2016.

Austrian switched at birth unlikely to meet 'real' mum
Mahlknecht/LKH-Univ. Klinikum Graz

An Austrian who may have been switched at birth is unlikely to ever meet her birth parents after a call for hundreds of women to come forward and be tested failed to find another switched baby.

Austria ready for 100km border fence with Hungary
J. Ott/Creative Commons

Austria has finished preparations for building a possible 100 kilometre fence along its eastern border with Hungary.

Outrage after Nazi memorial used for Pokemon battles
Youtube screengrab/funstuffnthings

A memorial to victims of Nazism has become the latest controversial location for Pokemon battles after Pokemon Go hunters visited the site to play the app game sweeping the globe.

Brexit predicted to cut growth in Austria by 0.5%
Ed Everett/Creative Commons

Austria’s Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) announced today that Britain’s decision to leave the EU is expected to cut economic growth in Austria by half a percent by 2020.

Corruption charges against ex-Finance Minister confirmed
A fresh-faced Karl-Heinz Grasser when he entered office over a decade ago. Photo: BIG SHOT / Christian Jungwirth

Austria’s Justice Ministry is expected to announce corruption charges against the country’s former Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser later today following a seven year investigation.

Austria summons Turkey's ambassador following protest
BMEIA

Austria’s Foreign Ministry summons the ambassador for Turkey to discuss the crackdown in the country following the failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Politics
Surviving the Brexit for British expats
Gallery
Day 2 of the World Bodypainting Festival 2016
National
Another 10 million Euros for fresh elections
Society
Is Islam hostile to Western society?
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Bodypainting festival in southern Austria
National
It's gonna be hot... here's how to cope
National
Europe's ice cream capital
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Best Austrian beauty spots
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel & Tourism
Three days in Vienna as a tourist
National
How to make friends in Austria
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Don't hesitate - break the window
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Sport
Ready to watch some football? Here's how!
National
Cake rules
Politics
Austria's choice for a new president
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Profile on Norbert Hofer, Freedom Party Presidential Candidate
Politics
Austrian politics explained. TL;DR: worry not.
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
Refugees need practical help
Lifestyle
All you need to know about Austrian Faschingskrapfen
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Why looking good on the ski slopes has never been easier
Lifestyle
Live in Austria? You might develop some of these weird habits
National
How 'Silent Night' rules the carol world
2,487
jobs available