The sky today seems to be a steely, miserable grey. It’s also windy and drizzly, and it kind of feels like it’s been like this forever. I think I’m reaching that point in the year when it seems as if winter will never end, sunshine will never return and this soggy, cold feeling will be permanent. I’ve been trying hard to battle this grey, sluggish feeling; if you need a bit of spirit lifting here are my favourite remedies:
1. Feel-good books. This is really not the time for serious, depressing reads. It’s probably best to leave the holocaust memoirs for when the sun is shining. Books that are the equivalent of comfort food are great for this endless series of gloomy, cold winter days.
Of course, I am partial to some P.G.Wodehouse when I need some cheering up. The Jeeves & Wooster short story collections (The Inimitable Jeeves, Carry on, Jeeves, and Very Good, Jeeves) really do the trick; it’s simply impossible not to smile while reading them. Any funny memoirs or light-hearted stories will do the trick. Another suggestion is to return to a beloved book or a childhood favourite, this year I’ll be rereading Persuasion by Jane Austen.
Perhaps unexpectedly, I find reading cookbooks and food memoirs to be extremely cheering. I’m currently rereading Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights which is charming, and I’ll be checking Julie and Julia out from the library.
2. Bright colours. You wake up when it’s still completely dark, you get ready and it’s still dark, you leave the house and it’s only just getting somewhat lighter, you get home from work and it’s dark. Wearing a bright coloured jumper, and putting on some happy red lipstick or sweet pink blush can be surprisingly effective. The sun isn’t out today, but my bright yellow cardigan is making my day just a little bit brighter.
3. Treat yourself with kindness. This is of course always true, but even more essential during this dreary time.
Cook and eat your favourite foods, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Stay active; I’ve found 15 minutes of yoga every morning to be really helpful, but any kind of exercise will help keep your spirits high.
Wear soft, warm clothes. I love wearing my soft denim jeans from Uniqlo, I call them “my hug jeans” because that’s how they feel. Cashmere, merino and angora jumpers are the way forward. Sweater dresses are awesome too.
4. Notice the changes. It may seem like it will be winter forever but if you pay attention you’ll see that things are happening. The days are certainly getting longer, it can be almost imperceptible but it’s there. The flower stalls are selling daffodils, and the snowdrops are out in the garden. Warmer, sunnier days are coming and that’s good to remember when you’re feeling desperate.
What are your favourite ways of staying positive during this time of the year?