So that’s that, then: the darkness is upon us (or at least it is in the UK). We’ve got used to the clocks going back; Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night have been and gone; and very soon it will be dark at 4 pm.
In the past I might have fought against this closing in of the winter but more recently I have decided to embrace it – because winter, whilst dark, can also be full of light. I like the fact that you know where you stand with winter (no huge question marks over what to wear – just choose something warm or layer up). What do you eat? Well nourishing food of course, but more often than not this has to be hot or warm and comforting. Sleep also seems to come easier when you can hunker down like a bear in a cave. And exercise? Nothing for it but a brisk walk, a swim in a warm, heated pool or a class of like-minded people who want to escape ‘cabin-fever’ – for me it’s a ‘just do it’ action, no thinking allowed.
And perhaps this is why I like seasonal weather rather than all-round sunshine climates – they offer imagination. I need winter to to take stock, slow down, re-boot, re-evaluate, re-search, re-solve, re-direct and all the other re-‘s in the dictionary that mean basically reassess. I understand how some people loathe this time of year and find it depressing, but unless it’s a clinical thing then often the best way of getting through it is to sink into its warm embrace.
How? Well cosy up in the dark; make something nice to eat; play board games; take up a craft; go for walks; set aside a designated time (non-negotiable) for a re-charge day where you do something different to the norm, no matter how mundane that may be – all the things that you often think are presents to yourself in a busy day. Gift them to yourself!
This year has been personally exhausting, so this early winter lull is going to be my breathing space – a sort of ‘putting on the slippers time’ before the demands of Christmas press too urgently. Yes, it’s dark but I am, for the next few weeks, going to hunker down and read; write; go for a swim; check out my food intake and see if it can be improved (by recording in my diary); go to bed early; de-clutter and clean up a few things (and not just my environment); make a list of things I wish to do and action them for when ‘quiet time’ is over; and chat to those who never seem to get enough of my time and me theirs. How about joining me? I’m drawing up a bit of a list (I’m a list maker) – this week’s explore one reads a bit like this …
This week I’m going to:
- Write for 2 hours a day my new bariatric book intros and type up the recipes I have been developing.
- Designate a day off that is sacrosanct and have a list of wet and dry day activities to go out and do with Mr B. Wednesday looks like a good one for this month.
- Go for a swim on a couple of days and a walk, no matter how short, every day.
- Use what is in the freezer (plenty!) to make some nourishing meals and free some space for Christmas specials.
- Clean the inside windows to allow as much light in as possible – do a room at a time if it looks too much in one session. Do not put this off again …
- Check out all the new diets/regimes and advice that is flooding into my inbox (in advance of the New Year/New You! features) and report back whether they have any validity or usefulness about them for WLS patients.
- Finalise the Christmas Newsletter recipes etc – there I’ve said it – the ‘C’ word!
- Stop second guessing about portion sizes some mealtimes and use my portion plate at all times – and review whether my regime can be improved (I’d wager it can), by writing everything down and analysing it.
- Attack the pile of newspapers, magazines, books etc that threaten to topple by my desk and bed to glean some ideas, ditch fanciful ones, and make some space.
- Pick up the phone or speak in person to some people I have neglected rather than e-mail, text, instagram, tweet, message or shout from the rooftops in vain to them.
Bet you have some … do share ….