5 ways to stay bright and cheerful this winter
As the days grow darker and colder, we need to find ways to stay warm and cosy so we keep our spirits up.
I’m a practical person and I like to find things that I can fit into my routine.
The first thing I do in September is order Vitamin D3 and K2 in a spray for myself and my family to take every day.
Then I make sure I’ve got plenty of candles and tea-lights before I focus on planning meals, and finding new book and TV recommendations as well as making time for walks.
1. Eat well
Soups, risottos, stews.
Seasonal vegetables, beans, lentils, herbs and spices.
Cooking is something we all need to do, and it doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good.
Simple, delicious and seasonal, Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is a great everyday cookbook.
They are great all year round, but their stews and bowl recipes are especially good for this time of year.
The Guardian online has lots of ideas for mid-week meals that are not too hard. They often include spices and seasonal vegetables which I love.
A list of recipes makes meal planning much easier, and a favourite playlist helps too.
2. Go for a walk
Getting outside is always worth the effort.
Sunlight, even in winter, helps us absorb natural Vitamin D and is essential for the health of our circadian rhythms.
Green space triggers the release of endorphins which helps our mood.
There is a saying in Norway, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”
London is a Forest is a book that celebrates the ancient trees in the urban landscape.
Even in the city, there are accessible places that can make you feel like you’ve had a proper day out.
Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park, and Epping Forest all have big trees and lots of skies.
A solo walk with an audiobook or podcast can also be a treat. Quality time with yourself.
3. Read a good book
Holding something in your hand while reading is a comforting, sensory thing to do.
Curling up with something to read is somehow more appealing in the winter months.
My interests are quite wide, so I often have a few books on the go.
Novels, biographies, books about food, and I do love a good self-help book.
The weekend papers offer recipes, positive stories and there’s the crossword.
I’ve recently enjoyed Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver.
Local libraries have a great up-to-date selection of novels as well as a talking book option online.
Ask friends for book recommendations, and a book swap could be fun if you are local.
4. Enjoy something funny
The scientific explanation for laughter is that it helps us release pent-up feelings and nervous energy.
Live comedy is something I don’t get to see so often nowadays, but I love it when I do.
Thank goodness for Netflix, All4 and the BBC!
I hardly watched TV before Lockdown, but now my cosy evenings on the sofa are something I look forward to.
The Great British Bake-Off is a mid-week treat at the moment, and it always makes me laugh.
I asked my son what he likes about it and this is what he said,
“There are always a few people who ‘go the extra mile’ and do some interesting and exotic baking.”
I only wish I was there to eat it!
5. Light candles
Tea lights and candles give ‘living light’.
Natural light from a flame has a completely different feel to electric lighting.
Lighting candles doesn’t only have to be for the evenings.
In Scandinavian countries they have candles lit all day long.
It makes a cosy atmosphere all through the winter.
Tea-lights are easy and convenient and they are very affordable when you get them in big bags from IKEA!
Glass tea light holders from the Finnish design brand Iittala come in beautiful colours.
Generally, unscented candles are best unless you are sure the fragrance is 100% plant-based.
Can homeopathy help?
If the winter months really get you down and you find yourself feeling anxious or even depressed, check your levels of Vitamin D. Everyone should be taking it.
If you think it’s something else, maybe homeopathy can help.
Please get in touch before you find your reserves are too low.
I’m always happy to hear from you.