Beating Those Persistent Winter Blues

So we’re about 108 days into January – I mean, it feels that way, right? – and I am thoroughly over winter. Granted, the sun has come out a couple of times this week, but I still have feet that are perpetually cold and I can’t really remember how it feels to have bare arms. Woe!

I’m usually a real misery guts in January. I can’t stand the early dark mornings, hate the fact I’m always drowning in itchy wool and the slow post-Christmas work pipeline leaves me panicking. But something has been different this year, and I think it’s largely down to the fact I’ve tried really hard to show myself some kindness, making the effort to lift my spirits in what is usually the most depressing month of all. Here’s how I’ve done it…

Do something nice for you
There’s a reason why I buy the majority of my beauty products in January: I need the treat desperately. And generally the purchase of beauty products leads to an increase in relaxing candlelit baths which results in feeling happy, calm and pampered. Win/win. The ultimate winter pamper products are heavily moisturising… go here and here to see my favourites.

Other things I’ve done to be nice to myself this winter include eating a box of chocolates on a Tuesday afternoon just because, allowed myself to nap instead of eating during my lunch hour and gone to bed early to read a book instead of staying up cleaning the kitchen. It’s cool to be kind (to yourself).

winter blues

Do something nice for someone else
The absolute best thing about being so ill this January was knowing how many people were thinking about me. I had text messages, emails, flowers, chocolates, food deliveries… it was the loveliest to have people checking in every day saying “hey, I’m thinking of you”.

So last week when one of my friends was having a bit of a January-based shit time I popped in a quick order for some custom biscuits from Lady Bakewell Park to let her know I was thinking of her, too.

And you know what? It made me feel so nice that I’d made my friend feel loved and cared for. Nice all-round.

Eat your feelings
Yoga aside – though who am I kidding, there are so many ‘New Year New Me’ gym members booking into my favourite classes that I haven’t been since December – I always give myself a bit of a break from fitness in January, which has worked out well with my op and its following enforced period of rest. No matter how lovely Christmas is, it is also bloody stressful, and when the holidays are all done and dusted the last thing I want to do is eat nothing but carrots and activated almonds for a month.

Which is why for a while I’ve decided it’s OK to eat my feelings in the form of comfort food (erm, in slight moderation). Baked Camembert? Get in my face (twice). Leftover Christmas chocolates? I’ll have you. Jacket potato with beans and cheese? Yum! Kale can wait until March, thank you very much.

Review and Plan
January is always a bit of a dry patch when it comes to freelance work, and though that means I enjoy an uptake in the number of times I wake in the night panicking about cash flow (such fun to be a small business) it also means the month is a great time to review and plan. I like to take a look back on last year first and highlight all the good things that have happened – because none of us do that nearly as much – before looking forward and planning the things I want to achieve in the next. This video on the Power of Intention by brilliant life coach Kate Taylor really helped get my butt in gear last week: her advice is practical and makes such sense.

I also love a luxurious notebook to help with winter planning – Smythson’s sale is always a great place to pick up a leather-bound bargain – and I’ve been loving Phoebe Lovatt’s Working Woman’s Handbook. Next on my list of inspiring reads is Jen Sincero’s highly recommended You Are A Badass at Making Money.

De-clutter your life
Literally nothing makes me feel refreshed in the New Year like a big sort-out and throw-away. It’s something I try to do at least once every couple of months, but in January with the influx of toys and gifts at Christmas my de-cluttering takes on a mind of its own.

I follow this process, which clears the house but also gives me the most amazing sense of calm: get a couple of bin bags, one for rubbish, one for the charity shop, and go room to room. Be brutal, chucking away anything you haven’t used in six months or anything that’s broken. Don’t save your charity shop bag to sell on eBay, it won’t happen and will sit languishing in your hallway for months (making you feel just as stressed as you did at the start of the process); the same day take your cast offs to the tip and charity shop and relax in your newly clutter-free home. Glorious.

How do you make winter not feel so horribly depressing?

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  1. Lauranne wrote:

    Love some of these tips, I’m in the middle of decluttering and I feel so much better for it – 7 bags to charity the other weekend, and I only rewarded myself by buying one new top (from the charity shop I was dropping my clothes off at, so really it was a good turn I did buying that top!)

    Posted 1.30.18 Reply
  2. Deborah wrote:

    Well. My top tip is not to move to Sweden.

    Posted 1.30.18 Reply
  3. Babawaga wrote:

    candles & wine & Now TV & a soft blanket = standard Hygge fair really! Throw in some moon-gazing too, if weather allows.

    Posted 2.1.18 Reply