Right about now, people are starting to complain about the cold weather and shorter daylight hours. “Oo, it’s getting wintry,” they’ll say as they shiver and rub their hands together forcefully. Some of us have not so happy memories of low moods during the long, dark season. Spring and summer are like autumn and winter’s bubblier, more popular cousins; the ones we long to be around and can’t wait to see. However, autumn and winter do have their own unique, positive attributes. Here are some tips for surviving (and enjoying) this time of year:
- Follow in nature’s fashion footsteps and treat yourself to some autumn-coloured accessories.
- Wrap yourself in cute woolies and go outside. Who needs makeup when you’ve got fresh air to blush your cheeks and brighten your eyes?
- Walk through a park or by the water and watch the leaves dance.
- The most important thing is to continue getting exercise and daylight so, if it’s raining, pull on the waterproofs and connect with nature.
- Take a good book to your favourite café and allow yourself to relax and enjoy just as much as if you were on holidays.
- Put together an amazing costume and throw a Hallowe’en party for adults. Except do all the things you used to do as a child – play bob the apple, eat coconut and colcannon, watch movies and buy stuff in for the trick-or-treaters.
- Make plans. If you’ve something to look forward to, it’s less easy to fall into an apathetic mood. Book a January sun or snow holiday or a city break. Or buy tickets for an upcoming show or gig.
- Grab your best mates for a comedy night or get all dressed up and go for dinner followed by dancing.
- Join a dating website and use the never-ending nights to chat up some potentials. Then, line up a few dates.
- Enrol in a new class like pilates or flower arranging or take the time to learn a new language or instrument. Or be proactive and start your own book or film club.
- Keep warm. Light a fire and snuggle up in a blanket with a mug of tea or hot chocolate.
If you’re worried that you have all the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), get support from loved ones and professionals. Then, to help yourself further, try out alternatives like homeopathy and acupuncture, take a vitamin D supplement, and do some research on purchasing a lamp. Also, make sure to get at least 30 minutes exercise in daylight each day.
And if it’s (dare I mention it) Christmas you’re (already) dreading, take the pressure off by buying the odd present here and there, starting from today. Or even better, suggest a Secret Santa arrangement so you only have to buy one or two presents each. Remind yourself that Christmas is a time to spend with loved ones, many of whom will travel home from abroad. So, you can look forward to being together, to fun nights out, good food, movies, hilarious board games, magical fairy lights and the inimitable scent of pine.
And just remember, if it weren’t for the cold, dark times, you wouldn’t appreciate the sunshine, would you?
Posted in Health, Modern Society
Tagged accessories, acupuncture, appreciation, autumn, christmas, daylight, depression, enjoyment, exercise, fashion, friends, galileo, hallowe'en, holiday, homeopathy, lamp, mood, nature, outdoors, plans, relaxation, sad, seasonal affective disorder, support, survival, tips, treat, walking, winter
It’s all well and good having brilliant flashes of insight into our behaviour. It’s marvellous to come to some understanding as to why we might be miserable. We can have many an Aha moment as we read tonnes of self-help books and watch endless YouTube clips of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. But what’s the point if we never actually change? We moan:
“I’m exhausted because I push myself too hard. I’m constantly striving for perfection. Because I think I’m only worthy of love and acceptance when I’m perfect.”
What a wonderful realisation! But what can we do with it? We might take a little rest (if even) and resolve to love ourselves unconditionally, before falling right back into our old self-destructive patterns. Working too hard, exercising and dieting to excess, and denying ourselves any morsel of pleasure in life… until the next time we binge or act lazy or reconnect with a bad habit; until we fall ill or get depressed and can no longer do all those things that make us feel we deserve a space on this planet. And yet again, we punish ourselves and cry, and wonder what’s the point of life… And if we don’t break down completely or (worst case scenario) decide to take our own lives, we pick ourselves up, wipe away our tears, root out those Mooji clips and dusty Thich Nhat Hanh books and start all over again…
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. At least we’re trying. I know I do the exact same thing, time and time again. I thought my life would never be the same after watching an inspiring movie, after being introduced to Byron Katie’s work, after reading Awareness, Mutant Message Down Under, Veronika Decides to Die, The Power of Now… And I really believed it. Every single time. Until my next spell at rock bottom, when I was left wondering where it all went wrong.
Maya Angelou wrote, “When you know better, you do better.” So, if we know what’s to be expected from that sort of conduct, why not save time, energy and heartache and just change, once and for all?
All the motivational books and videos and quotations do help. But they can only bring us forward a certain amount. It’s not called “self-help” for nothing. Ultimately, it’s you, and only you, who can help yourself. People can give you advice, tips and recommendations, but if you’re not ready to take them on board or if you’re unwilling to change, then it’s not going to do much good, is it?
“You can’t teach anybody anything, only make them realise the answers are already inside them.” Galileo
It’s much easier telling others how to live their lives, and to spot where they’re going wrong. We can talk all we want about needing to transform our thinking, but when it comes to actually making a change, most of us chicken out. Because it’s unfamiliar and scary. It takes courage, determination and persistence to change.
I’m not going to finish this off with a persuasive video clip or a book list that’s guaranteed to change your life.
Just change. Do it.
Images: http://blamethecrane.tumblr.com/; http://stylishwebdesigner.com/50-stunning-photographs-to-refresh-your-mind/
Posted in Personal development
Tagged acceptance, advice, aha moment, anthony de mello, awareness, bad habit, behaviour, belief, books, breakdown, byron katie, change, clips, courage, deepak chopra, determination, diet, Eckhart Tolle, energy, excuses, exercise, exhaustion, fear, films, frustration, galileo, heartache, hurt, insight, inspiration, laziness, marlo morgan, maya angelou, misery, mooji, movies, mutant message down under, pain, paolo coelho, patterns, perfection, perseverance, personal development, pleasure, positivity, quotations, quotes, realisation, recommendations, rock bottom, self-acceptance, self-belief, self-destruction, self-hatred, self-help, self-love, sickness, striving, suicide, the power of now, thich nhat hanh, thinking, tips, tough love, unconditional love, veronika decides to die, video, wayne dyer, youtube