Have you heard that today is 'Blue Monday'? I am not sure I believe there is any science behind it and I kind of agree with Innocent Drinks that it was made up by someone in Marketing. However, it does seem plausible.
As someone who has battled with bouts of anxiety and depression (thankfully less often these days than in previous years), I have to be extra kind to myself at this time of year. I have found lots of tips and tricks to help support my mental health; principally mindfulness and meditation but also yoga, aromatherapy, journalling, knitting and chocolate.
I used to hate winter. September through to 31st December was (and still is) my very favourite time of year but as soon as New Year's Day hit I would feel the familiar dread and despondency of the looming winter months.
I know that I am not alone and many of us feel like this, to varying degrees. So far this year, though, I am loving winter. Loving it! So, I thought I'd share some of the little things that are giving me joy this January.
- I prepared well. My Christmas list consisted of mainly books, craft kits and art supplies. I chose a few books with winter themes and they were gifted to me by Andrew as a cheering 'bundle of books' to snuggle up with on the dark evenings.
- My new year resolutions are joyful and spoiling. No strict diets, exercise regimes or money-saving schemes for me just now. My number one resolution was to buy myself flowers every week. So far, I've nailed it! Daffodils were on sale in Aldi for 95p a bunch last week and I bought some hyacinth bulbs in Sainsbury's for the price of a coffee on Saturday. Although the hyacinths are just shoots at the moment, it is really cheering to have some greenery around the place.
- Andrew and I made up a lovely big watch list on Netflix of all the boxsets and films that we have been meaning to watch. Every single night we light the fire, cuddle up and watch an episode of something together. We don't watch an awful lot of television; we don't really bother with the soaps or reality shows so it is nice to make an effort to watch something great on the box every day and means we make time for a smooch too. (We are currently watching the American version of The Killing and really enjoying it; it is just as good as the Danish original.)
- I walk every single day. Lizzie gets dragged out, rain or shine, and at the very least we do a quick circuit of the village. The fresh air and even the drizzle make me feel alive after a day working indoors.
- Soup! I am working my way through one of my favourite soup recipe books. Very little food is more comforting than a hearty bowl of soup and hunk of crusty bread. Great way to eat more healthily too, as the ones we love most are chock full of veg.
- Something to look forward to helps; I am no artist but have signed up for weekly watercolour classes that start in February. I took my first lesson in mid-December just before the teacher finished for the year and I am champing at the bit to start properly.
- Self-care is always important but feels especially good when we have slipped into a habit of being hard on ourselves. Gabrielle Treanor launched a free seven-day e-course called The Warm Embrace this year. I have so enjoyed receiving her gentle emails, reminding me to look after myself and be kind. The course is based on mindfulness and positive thinking - there is still time to sign up if you are interested and Gabrielle's website is packed with uplifting articles and photography.
- Candlelight... Ah! We all know how much I love candles and these antique black candlesticks in my shop are my absolute favourite. I have them dotted around the house and use small pillar candles from Ikea which last ages and melt very prettily. They make me feel Dickensian and cosy, trick me into thinking I live in simpler times. They are rustic and old-fashioned and coordinate nicely with our black cast iron woodburners. Treat yourself here if you fancy; I promise you will love them!
I hope my approach to winter will help if you struggle at this time of year. If nothing else, maybe it will be comforting to know that you are not alone. If you have any other happy little tips it would be great if you could share them here or use my hashtag on instagram and twitter #blues_busting. I also recommend the hashtags #savouringJanuary2017 and #making_winter for some cosy, soul-warming photos.
With my very best wishes for a joyful and healthy 2017. Thank you for coming to visit this little webspace of mine, it is so nice to have you here for a virtual cup of tea every now and then.