Cooped up or just plain tired of going outside in subzero temperatures? If you're bored and cabin feverish during these nasty winter storms, TakePart's listed 10 ways you can stay warm and keep busy—while doing things that matter for the world at large!
1. Shop Online for Gifts That Give Back
Shop for a friend's birthday, Valentine's Day or for your lovely self. Each of these great gift options gives back.
Jewelry: Buy a peaceBOMB bracelet crafted by Laotian artisans from bomb debris left in Laos during America's secret war there. Your purchase supports the village where the bracelets are made.
Handicrafts: Purchase purses, business card holders and other accessories made by sex trafficking survivors. The funds help them rebuild their lives.
Candles: If your power goes out, be ready with a candle created by war widows in Baghdad. Proceeds help the widows support their families.
2. Do Yoga to Stay Fit and Help Kids With Cancer
You probably won't take a run in the freezing rain, and it's tough to reach the gym; so here's a way to stay in shape while helping others.
First, buy a tpECOmat plus™ yoga mat from Kulae. Kulae's products are much better for the planet than other mats, and part of the purchase price goes to the Give Back Yoga Foundation, which funds yoga instructors who teach classes to prison inmates, veterans, and children with cancer.
After you have your mat, download Bendyware's Hatha Yoga apps for some at-home yoga.
3. Play Games to Feed the Hungry and Save Habitats
Download games on your iPod or iPad that give back. When you buy the addictive spelling game Sprouster, a boost goes to the U.N. World Food Programme. If you play Puzzllotto, you're funding endangered lemurs.
4. Cook Healthy and Delicious Soups
If de-icing your car to drive to a restaurant sounds like a drag, here are a few yummy soup recipes to make at home.
Veggie Farro Soup
Creamy Carrot and Chickpea Soup
Green Pea Soup
5. Write a Letter That Plants a Tree
With Facebook and other social networking sites, it's easy to send messages to friends and family across the country. But nothing says "that fool really cares!" like receiving a handwritten note from someone who's thinking about you. Trust me, Grandma can't get enough of these.
If you do write letters, scribble them on paper that can grow into a plant: Bloomin' Flower Cards!
6. Make a Difference in Five Minutes Flat
TakePart's compilation of 5 five minute actions can all be done while you're toasty and snug next to the fire. Actions include spreading the word to stop dogfighting, visualizing your energy use and learning your CO2 baby steps.
7. Read a Book, Be Inspired
TakePart writer Max Follmer highlighted eight must reads for 2011. To get through the cold weeks ahead, here are two inspiring titles from the full list.
Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World by Jonathan Tisch
Publishers Weekly says Tisch writes with "contagious excitement" about a new era of civic engagement. At the end of his book, he gives readers 51 ways to "join the movement."
Just Kids by Patti Smith
Patti Smith has written a memoir of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe that celebrates friendship and caretaking and mourns the legacy this country has been deprived of because of AIDS. Smith's narrative draws you in and holds your interest from the first chapter to her final thoughts.
Follow the link for all eight must reads.
8. Watch Movies About Stuff That Matters
Add the Planet Earth series to your queue for mesmerizing looks at animals and our marvelous planet. Also, the films The Cove, Food Inc. and The Soloist will leave you plotting out ways to make a difference.
9. Do a Little Green Winter Cleaning
That's right, it's true: cleaning isn't the funnest thing to do. But it must be done. Plus, if you clean with green products, you earn the satisfaction of knowing your home is toxin-free. For starters, here's a list of green brands.
10. Plan an Event to Support Malaria No More
If you're feeling extra ambitious, plan an event for your friends and colleagues that benefits the organization Malaria No More. Malaria is a treatable and preventable disease; still, a child dies from it every 45 seconds. You can make a major impact by hosting a charitable event.