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.
Soups, risottos, stews.
Seasonal vegetables, beans, lentils, herbs and spices.
Cooking is something I have to do most days, and it’s one of my go-to ways to enjoy the winter season.
Simple, delicious and seasonal, Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall is just the best everyday cookbook ever.
I bought a copy at the start of Lockdown and have been cooking from it almost daily. I can’t believe how useful it is.
My favourite online recipe site is Minimalist Baker.
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.
Parks, forest and woodland, riverside.
Getting outside is always worth the effort.
Sunlight helps us absorb natural Vitamin D and is essential for the health of our circadian rhythms.
Physical activity releases endorphins which help our mood.
This is why a walk outside is valuable, even if it’s cloudy.
Getting into green space is even better.
Weekends are when I do my best to get out in the afternoon when it’s brighter and sometimes sunny.
London is a Forest celebrates the ancient trees in the urban landscape.
Even in the city, there are accessible places that make me feel like I’ve had a proper day out.
Hampstead Heath, Greenwich Park, Epping Forest all have big trees and lots of skies.
A solo walk with an audiobook or podcast can be a real treat. Quality time with yourself.
Holding something in your hand while reading is a comforting, sensory thing to do.
The weekend papers offer positive stories, articles, recipes and the crossword!
Warm-hearted novels are best for bed-time reading. I’ve recently enjoyed The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.
Non-fiction has a definite place in my life, but only if it’s upbeat. I’m currently re-reading The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi.
Ask friends for book recommendations, and a book-swap could be fun if you are local.
Sit-coms, films and more cooking!
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.
Schitt’s Creek was my absolute favourite. A hidden treasure that just got better and better with every episode.
Kim’s Convenience was another joy, with warm relationships and laugh out loud moments.
Mortimer and Whitehouse: Gone Fishing is a touching series that celebrates men’s friendships.
The Great British Bake-Off is a mid-week treat.
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!
Tea-lights and candles give ‘living-light’.
Natural light from a flame has a completely different feel to electric lighting.
Lighting candles isn’t only 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 Finnish design brand Iittala come in beautiful colours.
Generally, unscented candles are best unless you are sure the fragrance is 100% plant-based.
Neal’s Yard offers high-quality candles made from organic beeswax and aromatherapy oils.
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.