You are currently browsing the daily Archive for January 8th, 2012.

Supposedly, the third Monday after Christmas is the ‘saddest’ day of the year, based on amount of debt, motivation levels and lack of sunlight.  There is no real mathematics behind the ‘formula’ used and the whole thing was part of a marketing campaign by a travel company (and the ‘happiest’ day in June, is an ice-cream promotion!).  However, if you are feeling a little blue, The Mental Health Foundation has some great resources and suggests ten ways to look after your mental health.

Talk About Your Feelings
Talk About Your Feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.
Eat Well
Eat Well
There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect.  But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health.
Keep in Touch
Keep in Touch
Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems.
Take a Break
Take a Break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new.
Accept Who You Are
Accept Who You Are
Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different.
Keep Active
Keep Active
Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.
Drink Sensibly
Drink Sensibly
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.
Ask for Help
Ask for Help
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.
Do Something You're Good At
Do Something You’re Good At
What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem.
Care for Others
Care for Others
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

UNICEF and schools have been working together on Day for Change for over 20 years. On the first Friday in February (3 February 2012) UNICEF asks schools to make a change in their day and ask students, staff and parents to make a donation to UNICEF for making that change.

You can now register for Day for Change 2012.

Sports for Development in Uganda

Each year a different country and a different theme is chosen. In 2012 your school can help change the lives of children Uganda by funding Sports for Development programmes.

UNICEF believes that sport can be used to engage children, developing their confidence, talent, skills and sense of teamwork. It is essential for their physical, mental and social development. But lots of children, especially girls, are being denied their right to an education. In Uganda, UNICEF is helping children realise their rights through sport.

Denying children’s rights is wrong. Help put it right.

Free resource kit

Every school that registers receives a free resource kit packed with fundraising ideas, assembly and lesson plans, real life stories, stickers, posters and much more to make their Day for Change a success. Schools can also download additional resources or print out extra copies on the Day for Change 2011 resources page.

Simon King holding a nest box

“National Nest Box Week is great for birds. Starting on St Valentine’s Day, it’s the time we remind ourselves to provide homes for dozens of species, from Blue Tits to Barn Owls.

If you’ve never built a nest box before, why not give it a go this year? Or if you haven’t got the time, it’s easy to buy a good one. Go on, take part for Britain’s birds!”

Simon King's signature

National Nestbox Week (14-21 February 2012) aims to encourage everyone to put up nest boxes in their local area in order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our breeding birds and wildlife.

The natural nest sites on which many of our bird species depend, such as holes in trees and buildings, are fast disappearing as gardens and woods are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. Since National Nest Box Week was launched in 1997, thousands of enthusiastic naturalists across the UK have put up boxes to compensate for this loss. It is estimated that there are now 5-6 million boxes in gardens across the UK.

Whether you’re a family with space for a box in your garden, a teacher, a member of a local wildlife group, or you belong to a bird club and could organise a work party, National Nest Box Week gives you the chance to contribute to the conservation effort in the UK whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your garden.


The theme of this year’s National Science & Engineering Week is “our world in motion” and it runs from 9 – 18 March 2012

National Science & Engineering Week shines the spotlight each March on how the sciences and engineering relate to our everyday lives and helps to inspire the next generation of scientists with fun and participative activities.

With over 4,500 events and activities attended by 1.7 million people in 2011, this is the UK’s widest grassroots celebration of all things science and engineering.   Each year, the British Science Association produces a series of new free resources and activities for event organisers and schools to help them run a science, engineering or technology event..

Following last year’s successful inaugural event, Dunbar’s second Science Festival will be held on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th March. The venue will be packed with a diverse mix of exciting science activities – shows, drop-in sessions, workshops, storytelling and talks. See website nearer the time for more info.

Edinburgh International Science Festival runs from 30 March – 15 April 2012

East Lothian’s forgotten engineer:

James Howden, Marine Engineer and Inventor, was one of Prestonpans most illustrious sons, yet no monument or memorial exists in his home town.

He was born on 29th February(!), 1832 and lived with his parents James and Catherine and his four younger siblings in a property in the town’s High Street.

By 1851, James had moved to Glasgow to begin his apprenticeship and where he was later to perfect the forced-draught system for boilers.

He went on to found Howden – now a worldwide engineering organisation.

Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for Hindus, and is celebrated in almost all parts of India with different names and different rituals.

The festival marks the commencement of Sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere, thereby making the days warmer and longer than the nights – i.e. it marks the end of winter season and beginning of harvest or spring season.

It is one of the few Hindu festivals which is celebrated on a fixed date each year – 14 January.

Some common rituals include spring cleaning, wearing new clothes and exchanging gifts.

In Gujarat and Maharashtra, Makar Sankranti is a festival of the young and the old. Colourful kites are flown all around.

In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is called Lohri. December and January are the coldest months of the year in Punjab and huge bonfires are lit on the eve of Sankranti. Sweets, sugarcane and rice are thrown on the bonfires and friends and relatives gather together.

In Uttar Pradesh, this period is celebrated as Kicheri. It is considered important to have a bath on this day and masses of people can be seen bathing in the Sangam at Prayagraj where the rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswathi flow together.

In Southern India it’s the harvest festival Pongal and lasts for 3 days. On the first day, rice boiled with milk is offered to the Rain God. On the second day, it is offered to the the Sun God and on the third day, the family cattle are given a bath and dressed with flowers, bells and colours, to honour them for their hard work in the fields.