The festivities of Christmas seem long ago and the darling buds of spring are still far away. Here we find our selves in the middle of winter. Bare trees and white skies. If we’re lucky, the pale blue January light burst through the mundane weeks with it’s golden rays. Birds are quiet and the mornings dark. There’s a hush on the trains in the morning, coats buttoned up and hats pulled down, faces barely visible. These darker months bring with it a distinctive mood, fading light at sunset and quietness in the streets. This time is often the hardest for us all, we long for sun on our skin and to rise with the light and the singing birds, and yet, this time can be soulful and warm, it can be ritualistic and gentle and has it’s own joy to be found.
How do you care for yourself and make the most of these months? Usually I really dread the January - March stretch and once Christmas is over am desperate for springtime. This year, I feel different. Maybe it’s because we skipped out on winter last year as we chased the sun around the world, or maybe it’s because I am personally in a place of quiet and reflection and some recent sadness, which seems to match the weather outside. Whatever it is, I feel ok about having a few months of the year that look a little bit more slow and comforting.
Nature is such a great way to help understand what is sometimes going inside. Whilst all looks barren and empty in winter, under the surface roots are going deep, pruning is happening, animals are hibernating and being restored. Maybe we could see ourselves doing the same.
A few things I am trying to use this winter season for:
Finding new rhythms. I love the term rhythm because it gives flexibility rather than ridgidity. Winter evenings feel like a lovely opportunity to unwind, whereas summer seems a little more energetic and on the go. I am aiming to read before bed, put my phone down or off my 9pm, and have a little bit of time after work for creativity. Whether that is walking or writing, watching cookery lessons, cooking, reading or crafting to give my mind and body time to ponder and create in a cosy environment.
Health. Whilst often January brings with it the flu and bugs and snotty noses, it also feels like a great time to invest in health. For the record I am anti diet and I don’t mean sign up to a gym membership and a crazy detox just because it’s the new year, I just mean after a full and busy holiday season, this is a sweet time for nurture and nutrition. Homemade hearty soups, warming evening drinks, gentle movement or walking on the weekends in the light, comforting dinners and Sunday roasts, early nights, cosy pjs and hot baths. Self love to feel well and vibrant.
Creating Habits and pondering. This year I haven’t set any goals or resolutions or any major big new things. It just hasn’t been right for me and I have had to take it slow and gentle for various reasons. Having said that I do love this time of year to ponder the coming months, and without heavy expectation think about where I would love to be a year from now in my relationships, in work, in health and creativity and my personal walk. I like to have a go at new habits and not beat myself up if they don’t work. Things i’m trying is adding more movement to my week and having a go at some gym classes of which for some bizarre reason I have always been too afraid to go to. I’m investing in skills such as cooking and writing. Adding more veg to my diet and drinking more water. Phones off early and good skin care.
Wherever you’re at and however these months look for you, the January gloom could be replaced by glow. So here’s to digging deep and slow in these months, to warmth and comfort and gentleness, to remembering good stuff is going on beneath the soil of our lives and that spring is on the way.