Well here we are again, the start of another year, already, where did the last year go?
I don’t know about you, but January and February are,for me, the hardest months of the year to find any enthusiasm for anything. The days are long and dark and in our part of the country have been constantly wet and soggy for months with no sign of an end to the bleak weather.
This was taken at my Nieces wedding in early November and I don’t think the rain has stopped since.
It is important then, at this time of year, to find some light, metophorically speaking. Finding the light in life comes in many guises and is always going to be particular to different people but, here’s my survival guide and the little things that help get me through until the spring.
Yoga. Oh no not you as well, I hear you cry but, I swear by it, in fact, it should be on the NHS to battle everything from depression, to back aches and sluggish bowels. I started practising yoga when I had my first born, 20 years ago, on the advice of an older lady who I worked with at the time and who I much admired. She was such a lovely calm and serene person, that she inspired me to try it and I’ve never looked back. I’ve dipped in and out of my practise over the years, as she said I would, but in times of darkness it always leads me back to the light. Below are some of my favourite teachers and venues.
Don’t go on a January diet. Be kind to yourself, it’s bad enough that it’s dark, wet and cold without denying ourselves of everything that we enjoy. We try not to use the D word in our house, having two teenagers, I’m mindful of how destructive that word can become, so we are trying to eat a bit healthier than of late, cutting out mostly sugar and mid week alcohol, but that’s it for the next few weeks at least. Some healthier eating books that I find easy to use, and which provide tasty and satisfying meals are:
Get lots of light and fresh air whenever you can. I find after a week of driving to work, I’m craving some fresh air and try and get outside as much as I can at weekends and I always go outside at lunchtime for some natural daylight. Being cooped up in a photographic studio with no lights is enough to suck the life out of any normally positive person. Joining the National Trust is a great way to get out and about at weekend with lots of national parkland all around the country and free parking within the grounds for members.
Buy yourself flowers, its not indulgent it’s like a pick me up remedy for the soul.
Write a bucket list for the year. Places you want to go, festivals, gigs, exhibitions anything to keep you on track and your eye on the horizon. Plan them in on your calendar and make them a reality.
Part of my wish list is a small scale festival, some where I can take our daughter and a friend and let her off the leash a bit. She’s 14 now and some of the bigger festivals are just too big for her to assert her independance, so small and intimate is on my list.
Go on a course or refresh a skill you already have. There are so many great short courses out there, from photography to styling for instagram, learning an instrument or a foreign language. Keeping the little grey cells ticking, keeps negative thoughts at bay. Some of the ones that have caught my eye and some of which I hope to attend are:
Use the dark damp days to catch up on films you’ve always wanted to see, either on netflix or join a cinema for the year so that it encourages you to go. Mr B & myself recently joined HOME in Manchester, which provided each of us with 2 free cinema tickets on joining and then members discounts on future events as well as regular news letters, including members only offers.
Join the library and catch up on all the books you’ve always wanted to read or self gift yourself some new or used ones from Amazon. I’ve just ordered Patti Smith M Train, the sequel to Just Kids, which I will enjoy indulging in as the rain continues to fall.
Book a trip somewhere to give yourself something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic it can be a short trip in the UK or a day away on the train looking around another city.
Surround yourself with positive people, the people who are team you and have your back.
If all this fails there’s always Gin!