The Cole­man col­umn

Rowan finds it’s the old fash­ioned things that help to ban­ish the au­tumn blues

Hertfordshire Life - - CONTENTS - Best-sell­ing nov­el­ist and mum-of-four Rowan Cole­man shares the chaos and com­edy of her life in the county rowan.cole­man@hert­ford­shire­ @rowan­cole­man

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

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