When the fifth person told me today that they are feeling really down at the moment and are finding everything more difficult than usual I knew it was time to write this blog. The nights drawing in – it’s a pisser isn’t it? Suddenly things are harder, motivation is lacking and moods are dropping. We had such an amazing summer and now it is well and truly over. A few warm days have remained but it’s getting dark early and it will soon be Halloween.
I wrote this piece a while ago about what the seasonal festivities mean to me, and so much of this time of year is about chasing away with winter gremlins and brain weasels. We will be fine again this year, we always are, but we need to remember what works. Because the sun on our face, the wind in our hair, the music on loud as we lay in the park…..those are for summer joy. Now we need to remember what makes us feel safe in the darkness, and all cuddle up together, cosy and warm.
The first thing we need is: LIGHT! Be it candles, lamps, stronger light-bulbs or a SAD light, this is the main thing that chases away the winter blues and brightens up our mood. It is no coincidence that lights play such a huge part in our winter celebrations. Put the fairy lights up early if you want to – we need that twinkling warmth to see us through.
WARMTH! That’s another one. Cosy hoodies, fluffy slippers, warm blankets – all the extras that make us feel safe are a must in the winter. Thick socks, duvet days, an extra layer against the chill – don’t let the wind get through, stay warm and your mood will be so much better. Plus tensing up against the cold is awful for our muscles. If you can run to it, a hot stones massage would be just the trick for the coming weeks.
COMPANY! Don’t be alone this winter. Face to face or online, we all need people, even the most introverted of us need company sometimes. Loneliness can be particularly brutal in the run up to Christmas so reach out to each other, and put some fun plans in the diary. Time spent with friends doesn’t always have to be drinking / socialising / a special activity – although I loved my session at the climbing centre with my pal the other day. Just doing things in each other’s company can lift your mood so much. A friend and I today brought out all of our household paperwork and each of our shredders and tackled our filing and shredding together on her living room floor over coffee and a bagel. A far better way to do a necessary but boring task!
ESCAPISM! As always, I am not a huge fan of this “reality” business. It’s overrated. A good book, a good film, a good TV show – close the curtains and take yourself to another place. I have just finished two seasons of The Last Kingdom which I really enjoyed. There is something about the cold autumn nights that makes huge overenthusiastic Vikings even more appealing! Last night I started Twin Peaks, which I have never watched before but which so far, three episodes in, is enthralling television and the characters so well realised.
I was delighted to find that the mulled wine has already hit the shops. It is such a seasonal favourite of mine. I don’t do anything fancy, just put the readymade stuff in a mug and microwave it. An instant warm treat. Hot chocolate, warm soup, herbal tea….anything you can hug in a mug whilst indoors out of the rain. And make sure you eat enough too. A good hearty breakfast and sensible snacks will keep out the cold, we all need a bit of stodge. And cake. Obviously.
There is so much to look forward to about autumn, winter, Christmas and the seasonal fun and games. We will enjoy ourselves immensely once again. We just need to remember how to do it, now that the blazing summer sun has left us for another year. I think the best way to tackle the winter is together.