The Coleman column
Rowan finds it’s the old fashioned things that help to banish the autumn blues
As much as I love cosy nights drawing in, jeans-and-boots-weather and finally something good on TV again, like most of us, I do also rather dread the short days and dark mornings. Like many, my mood suffers from a lack of sunlight. There are all sorts of proper scientific reasons for this that you can look up, if you’re so inclined, but basically it’s easier to be upbeat and optimistic when the sky is blue and the sun is up when you get out of bed in the morning.
So how to counter the winter blues? In recent years many lifestyle magazines and books have been all about Hygge, the Scandinavian way of embracing winter by super cosying up with faux furs, thick socks, open fires and scented candles. Nice in theory, but when you have five kids and two dogs to wrangle you’re more likely to end up with your socks chewed to ribbons and biscuit crumbs in your throw. Not to mention zero chance of reposing in front of a fire (or in my case a radiator turned up) until you are so tired you fall asleep face first in your artisanal hot chocolate.
So then what? Well, in one word, walks. In Hertfordshire we are lucky to have lots of beautiful countryside, and even on the darkest and gloomiest of days, it lifts my spirits to let my dogs loose into the woods and go for a good old fashioned muddy tramp.
As a middle aged woman with my very own internal tropical weather system, I positively welcome feeling cold, and spending time outside is always guaranteed to lift my spirits. Unless it’s raining, in which case I instantly feel like I’m starring in a Russian novel.
Then there’s comfort food. I’ve started cooking healthy meals, or as my 17-year-old daughter calls it, Dystopian Cuisine. So no more of my favourite cake-based foods, rather a lovely stew or soup. And the occasional nice single malt of an evening in front of that radiator is always cheering.
Let’s not forget clothes. The best thing about winter is the boots. Closely followed by the coats. And topped off with accessories. Last winter my bright orange scarf cheered me up so much that I wore it even when I wasn’t outside! And I bought a new one exactly the same, ready for this year (my dogs ate the original).
Lastly, I have a natural daylight lamp. I turn it on while I’m sitting at my desk and I do think it helps a bit. When I use it I think I have more energy, and less of an inclination to stare moodily out of my window in the grip of ennui.
But what about you? Tell me your top winter blues beaters. I’d love to hear them!
‘You are so tired you fall asleep face first in your artisanal hot chocolate’
ABOVE:Getting out in the woods with the family and dog – sure to give a sense of wellbeing