Dealing with the dark days of winter.

I often feel low at this time of year, probably down to the short, dark days of winter.

Last year in the run up to Christmas I felt stressed by my workload, as well as the preparations for the Christmas celebrations. So this year I made the decision to do things differently, I estimated how much stock I would need from last year’s sales, I made it in the summer months and started listing in the autumn. So all I need to do at this time is network, answer emails, do some custom orders, pack and post. This has helped enormously, I feel rather calm and relaxed this year which is a huge difference to last year.

Even if I didn’t have a rush on at this time of year I would probably feel low, not depressed but dulled, I want to sleep all hours of darkness but  when I go to bed often I wake up about every hour or very early in the morning, then my thoughts take over.

I’m reading a book called The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell, which Lesley reviewed on Art Elements .
Untitled
It’s a beautiful book and I’m really treasuring reading it, I take my breakfast back to bed and read a little from this book while I wait for the house to warm up and the daylight to emerge from the gloom. I could happily sit and read the book from cover to cover but I’m forcing myself to read just a few pages at a time and savour them like a delicious chocolate truffle. I found myself running my hands over the cover and feeling like I was giving the book a hug this morning which I thought was unusual behaviour but it’s  such a lovely book.

I  already know and relate to the ‘feel good’ powers of nature, I try to get out for a walk as often as possible. The little things like ice on some rosehips catching the sunlight, or a flock of redwing visitors squawking in the trees, or crunching through frozen puddles can fill me with feelings of happiness and calm.

Today  it’s sunny so I took a short walk in the bitingly cold wind to see the fells covered in snow.  On my arrival home I had a brief inspection of the newly replanted border to see if the snowdrops were coming up, they are at least a cm tall. I got told off by a blackbird, then I went to look at the vole holes in the bank. I noticed a pile of berries from the cotoneaster gathered at the entryway. I thought this was a little odd as it tells everyone where you live, I  might have to read up online and see if this is typical behaviour.
UntitledDuring the short days I no longer try to work in the semi darkness of mid afternoon, I find the energy saving lights really bad, they don’t give me enough light to work. I just accept this now and stop when the light goes. I do sit and knit or crochet in this half light, so long as it’s a simple pattern. I have also discovered this winter that knitting tactile soft fluffy yarn can lift the spirits. Sitting by the fire knitting is pure, simple hygge pleasure, like stroking a cat on your knee.

Untitled
Comfort foods also help, a bowl of steaming homemade soup ( recipe here) is like a hug in a bowl.
UntitledA slice of homemade cake and a cup of tea can make those looming dark skies at 3 pm seem not so gloomy at all,  if I  sit by the window I often see skeins of geese, or flocks of starlings flying in haste to join the flock for their murmuration ballet before roosting.

I think the weather so far this winter has played a huge role in my more upbeat mood. This winter we have had a lot of bright crisp frosty days with lots of sunshine, I know sunny days makes a big difference because as soon as the wind and rain returned last weekend my mood dropped significantly. So if the sun shines even briefly I try to get out for a few minutes and enjoy it.  Every little helps, and once the end of January comes I can see the days starting to get slightly longer, the snowdrops will start to bloom I know the gloom won’t last much longer.

While writing this I have come to realise this is just an extension of what I’ve been doing all year, I’m working with the seasons and not trying to fight against the long evenings and short days. It seems to be working, I feel really quite relaxed and content .

Do you struggle with the dark days, what do you do to combat them?


 

2 thoughts on “Dealing with the dark days of winter.

  1. Alysen

    Not sure if this will show as a duplicate comment….
    Jill, what an evocative post this is! I never suffered from the short days until I moved to France (Paris region) in 1992. I grew up in the L.A. suburbs, then lived at the beach as an adult. The long, gray days of fall, winter & even spring got to me & I didn’t even realize I had been depressed until about 10 years later!! I just thought it was post-partum depression & other things.
    Only when we built our house & I had a garden to rebuild (4 years later) did I not care about the gray days, rain, snow, freezing cold. I learned to plan the garden during winter & care for it on the warmer days and in the spring & summer. That was the end of my feeling blue about the weather; Each morning when I opened the shutters, saw the birds & heard them chirping was a good day for me.
    Lighting candles, pulling up a chair to the fireplace & contemplating it is one of my favorite pastimes on eves when it’s cold outside. Even at 3 or 4 pm if I’m home. It’s even more satisfying if my cat jumps up and snuggles on my lap :).
    I’d also like to add that the French call a cold, sunny day “une belle journée”; apparently whenever the sun shines and it isn’t raining it’s a beautiful day to them.
    Happy Holidays, Alysen

    Reply
  2. CS Art photo

    Wishing you Peace and contentment for Christmas and New years. I too am in Soup making mode. and in Florida it is not as cold as you , but last few days in the 50 s and 40s and raining and dreary. some people have good luck with daylight lights to simulate sunshine and longer day light hours. Best of Luck. Cookie

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Alysen Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.