The mornings are dark and gloomy. When I finish my day job (in my home office currently), it’s pitch black and the other day I finally gave in and switched the heating on. Hot drinks are on rotation and comforting & hearty dishes made way into our meal plans. Autumn or even winter is well and truly upon us, and I suppose this year I have been struggling to adjust to change of seasons more than years before. Add to it a global pandemic along with another lockdown and I have truly caught some winter blues…
Despite some restrictions, we had a great summer, and it was hard to go from shorts and t-shirts to raincoats and wellies but the last couple of weeks have been particularly hard. Dark, wet and gloomy.
Of course, there is sure cosiness about Autumn, and I know some people jump with joy when Pumpkin Spiced Latte season begins.
However, I could not help but feel a little bit under the weather and lacked the enthusiasm for all those autumnal vibes. Last year we did quite a lot of season-themed crafting, hunted for acorns and conquers. This year I put the effort in to repeat that or even do more but found it hard to get up and go for some reason.
That’s how I came up with an idea for this post. I decided the other day that unless I make some changes, the winter blues will take over.
MAKE YOUR HOME COSY :: RE-DECORATE
As we naturally spend more time indoors during winter months (and even more this year), I like my surroundings to be cosier and inviting. In the summer I concentrate on the garden and the kitchen/dining as that’s where we mostly spend our time. In winter months my focus shifts to the living room and the bedrooms.
We have just refreshed the walls to a soft grey colour, and I will be adding some warm yellow or orange accessories, such as pillows, a couple of throws and blankets to brighten the space a little. Soft lighting as well as twinkle lights make all the difference when suddenly at 3pm it gets darker and darker. House plants will also make the room look fresher – I’m not green fingered, however noticed how plants brighten up the space and also learning about how to look after them keeps us busy. There is certain joy coming out of not killing a plant but also seeing new leaves appearing.
Lastly, what would autumn and winter be without candles? I already have some Woodwick candles which give out amazing smell as well as crackle noise which sounds like a log fire. Very cosy…
GET OUT DESPITE THE WEATHER
It is all well and good to be cosy indoors, and I would love to hibernate throughout winter months. It is also essential to get out and make the most of the daylight. Having two little boys, who need to burn some energy during the day is enough for me to get out and go but I know that if it weren’t for them, I would probably be a hermit during winter. I love warmth too much.
Also, working from home means that I’ve noticed I move less and going out makes such a difference to our mood as well as productivity.
I have learned that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!
Thanks to the first lockdown we have discovered great walking paths a stone throw away from our house and every time we go out we manage to see and find something new. It made us appreciate a lot more where we live and make the most of it.
And of course, nothing beats a cup of hot chocolate or lemon tea after being out in the cold.
HAVE A SPRING CLEAN
I’ve noticed, that a lot of my irritability and bad mood came from cluttered space. I used to keep hold of things just in case and the more I gathered the more overwhelming it felt. I tend to declutter every 2-3 months and either donate stuff or sell them on Ebay / Facebook Marketplace. It’s amazing how much better you can function in a less cluttered space and also tidying up takes half the time.
TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
It’s all too easy to come home, do your chores, have dinner and park in front of TV binging on Netflix – believe me I know! I am partial to a good crime drama. I set up this blog as a hobby a while back as I wanted to write, learn all the stuff that involve blogging and it was an obvious choice. Setting up a blog is very easy. Once you know what you want your blog to be about there is a whole host of things to learn, starting from setting up themes, social accounts, managing social media to promoting what you write – it has kept me very busy :). This also made me realise that I lost passion for my current career path and potentially want to do something completely different. You never know where your little hobby may lead you.
I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. I certainly do more of that in autumn/winter than summer months. Baking is easy, cheap and if you have little ones you can involve them as well.
Eat the season! This is the time when slow cookers come in full force and our family embrace soups, crumbles, stews and curries. I love collecting recipes and then trying them out depending on the season. I already have a folder full of what I would like to cook this winter.
Other things that can make those longer evening more interesting are crocheting, knitting, learning a new language, taking up Yoga (my recent favourte), Pilates or starting a new workout plan – You Tube is full of fitness videos and you can choose whichever activity suits you.
ENJOY QUALITY FAMILY TIME
It sounds cliche and somehow strange as we have spent most of this year together, with homeschooling and working from home. Between maths and a Zoom meeting there wasn’t that much of a quality time. We spent as much of the summer outdoors as we could and with shorter days and restrictions due to lockdown in place, evenings seem longer. Since seeing your family and friends is somehow restricted we have done a lot of virtual meets and our eldest also plays some Battleship games with his friends over zoom.
We are making the most of all the board games accumulated over the years and the 5 year old seems to be beating us all at Ludo, Checkers and most of his Orchard games. Those longer winter evenings are perfect for movie nights, so we try to have one every now and then – homemade popcorn and some other snacks are a must.
Currently it is hard to plan anything too far ahead but planning something to look forward to, doing research and even plotting next year holiday makes me a little bit excited. It’s nothing extravagant, only a staycation but keeps me going. We tend to focus on one big holiday during summer, which gives us plenty of time to research the place, things we want to see & do. Then we usually break it down to half – term holidays and Christmas break when we can go and visit some places and people we don’t get to see that often. We don’t know what 2021 brings but even if it is daydreaming at the moment it makes those long, cold nights a bit more bearable.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF
With our life being constantly busy (even in lockdown) I forget to make time for self-care and making sure I re-charge the batteries. I have been feeling so overwhelmed running from one place to another, looking after everyone else that at some point I forgot about myself. I realised I caught winter blues – I felt slow and unmotivated but now I am determined more than ever to carve out some “me time” and make sure I relax.
I now make sure that I have a nice relaxing bath once in a while, take more than five minutes to do my nails, sit with a face mask on while reading a book I was meant to read months ago and never got to it, journal and have an early night. It’s not much but some of those things put a smile on my face, don’t cost the earth and make me feel a lot better about myself.
What do you do to cope with the winter blues? Please do share them in the comments below!
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