Here are our picks for starting the year off right:
Volunteer to Help Other Humans
Home Sweet Home has provided relief to the homeless since 2005 with an outreach program where those in need are offered a hot meal, clean clothes, a shower, and a place to socialize. They also offer a vocational program, with funding in part from donations and the sales of products made in the program. Volunteer opportunities are on Wednesday mornings from 10am-1pm or Saturday afternoons 2pm-6.30pm; at these times you can take part in the outreach program by playing games, cooking, or cleaning. Read more about the organization here or WeChat: homesweethomesh, email: email@example.com.
And Also: Stepping Stones is currently recruiting volunteer teachers for the spring semester, training sessions will be held in February; more on their site. If you want some more variety (like something with animals) check out a full list of volunteer opportunities here.
If “stop being a human dumpster” is one of your goals, you can kill two birds with one stone by… not killing birds. Yep, talking bout going full vegan (or at least dabbling in it). Find support from the Vegans of Shanghai for tips on mindful eating and eco-friendly living. The group started in 2016 and have since delved into activism and educational events. Eve Samyuktha, the group’s founder, also worked with Maya to create a vegan menu that's still there, you can read more about that here. If you're interested in learning more, check out the VoS WeChat: veganeve.
And Also: The go-to Green Initiatives is always putting on events, including an upcoming screening of a documentary on education (intersectionality!). A low-stakes way to keep green is to reduce/reuse; Feibao's a kind of didi service for electronic waste and recyclables, an app that connects you to people who want to reuse your old stuff, and they'll come to you to pick it up. Read more about it here.
HIIT gym and Camel group franchise F45 will have a soft open of their second location in Jing’an next week and has already got fitness and diet challenges set to make those NY resolutions a reality. They're peddling an efficient 45 minute workout with supportive, non-aggressive trainers in a small studio class (maxes out at 27). But be warned that hard bod comes with a price tag at 200rmb per session or 1,688rmb per month.
And Also: For (more) affordable studio classes give TriFit a go, or maybe 2018's the year you learn to belay at Park Climbing Gym; the “Slackers” will also be there hanging out and teaching folks to slack line. If you want more here's a list of new gyms that sprung up in 2017.
Join a Sports Team
If you're looking for a casual-sporty regular activity The Hungover Games might be the ticket. Basically, dodgeball with bows and arrows -- it's a non-traditional kinda sports team that draws a friendly mostly young professional crowd, but also gets competitive for those who like to take their sports teams seriously. Games run at Cages every Tuesday night and Sunday during the day. Costs 90rmb for two hours of play and a beer; new members can join each time but should go a bit earlier to get acquainted with a bow. For sign-ups follow the WeChat: hungovergamescn.
And Also: Cages also does traditional dodgeball Monday nights, costs 50rmb for 2 hours of play. Starts at 8pm, new teams are formed each week. If you're looking for more commitment, we've got a whole list of teams from the spring to get you inspired.
Make New Friends
For those of us who don’t flourish in cleat-clad settings, there are plenty of happenin’ communities to check out like Shaving in the Dark, a collective of illustrators and editors who put together compilations of their comics. You don't have to be a professional to get in on the fun, everyone's welcome to their Drink and Draw nights, which happen on the first Monday of every month. This month's event will be held on January 8, at Daliah -- due to the untimely closing of it's usual home District. Read more about Shaving in the Dark right here.
And Also: Organizer Frank Tsai has put together several lecture series, including Hopkins Forum, you can read all about it here. More importantly, the group now does mixers to mingle with like-minded peeps who <3 lectures. The next one is not yet set, keep in the loop via mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org. And for the ladies check out IPWS, a professional women's organization that's been around since the '90s. If you turn up, you're bound to get lots of WeChat adds, read more about the group here.
If you're looking for a special friend you're not alone, online dating surges in January, maybe it's time to make your own profile...just a thought.
Learn Something New
Non-profit creative space Xinfab provides tools and machines annnnnd organizes workshops on the cheap. There's 3D printing and laser cutting intro workshops, as well as a random assortment of DIY sessions, including A GIF workshop (January 6), make a sleeve for your laptop (January 10), Photoshop photomontage (January 13), and an Illustrator intensive workshop from January 22 to February 3 (deadline to register January 13). Sign ups on their site, workshops are run by volunteers and cost about 150-200rmb, but are free for members--check pricing details here.
And Also: GoEast is offering Winter Immersion Chinese Courses for beginners, elementary, and intermediate students. More info on their site, where you can also make an appointment to take a placement test gratis. Community Center Shanghai is another resource for adult learning, from Chinese courses to yoga to cooking to painting. Check out all the options on their site, or read more about what they do here.
As January is a time for reflections, we'd be remiss not to offer suggestions on getting outside help for those who need it. If you are struggling with depression, read this for advice on finding the right therapist and tips on getting insured. If you've recognized addictive behaviors around drinking you can read about AA here, and find a meeting near you on their site and if you're confronting a drug addiction check out NA.
*Happy New Year's Resolutions y'all*