This year, though its had plenty of challenges, has also been a new start in many ways. That new start has made me happier so far – despite the pressures of Covid – but, could it be that as the optimism of Spring, and the hazy luxury of Summer moves into the darker days of Autumn I will come undone?
I have often struggled with this time of year emotionally and physically. Like many, I am affected by the reduction in light and spending less time outside. Its no coincidence that every time I have requested medical help with depression and anxiety it has been in the dark months of winter, and, whilst I appreciate the beauty of the Autumn season, it fails to distract me from what is just around the corner, never more so this year. Everything feels much more ominous, we are going into what could be an incredibly difficult time for many many people, the mood is becoming more pessimistic and energy levels are dropping so I need to take some action, and hopefully this will give you some ideas to make your own plan.
Not wanting to repeat the same pattern as previous years, its time to ‘do something different to make a difference’. So, I have two things I want to do differently that I am hoping will help me keep balanced and maintain a positive attitude this winter.
Making the most of the garden – no surprise that this is a big part of my coping plan! I am terrible at getting out in the garden in poor weather, so, as well as my usual resolutions, I have some specific winter projects to get me off the sofa – the potting shed, healing herbs, and learning more about houseplants.
The Potting Shed – This is the time of year for planting up bulbs, sowing seeds and pricking out. I also need to clean and oil my tools, wash plant pots and generally get organised. The shed is a dumping ground of gardening paraphernalia and toys that is crying out for a bit of TLC. By spending some time out in the shed I will get a different environment away from the house and it will allow me to get my hands dirty. At the same I’ll take the opportunity to check up on the seedlings that are overwintering, always a sign of spring that brings a smile! Overwintering seedlings is a great way of keeping that reminder that spring is coming – I have written previously about sowing my sweet peas for over winter, and the picture below is one of my little charges now. A true symbol of how something so delicate can overcome a harsh winter.
Healing Herbs – Having made some herb infused oils and tinctures its about time I completed the project! I have made some hand balm successfully and want to refine that to a recipe that harnesses all the power of my herbs to make a balm for our dry and chapped, heavily washed and sanitised hands! To read more about my early experiments with Hand Balm have a look at my other post.
Houseplants – a recently developed interest for me, as I have always been an outside gardener, however as I get increasingly addicted to propagation and have been spending more time at home during lockdown, my houseplant collection has grown considerably. I also have plants that were perfectly positioned around the house for the summer, but now need moving to better light, or away from radiators. I also have cuttings to pot on, leaves to clean and lots of learning to do! I will write more about my houseplants over the coming few weeks, and hoping to get a bit crafty with my plants for Christmas presents too!
Making Working Flexibly work for me, may be the key to achieving this balance. Like many, I am working from home for the foreseeable future. This means I am finally spared the early mornings de-icing the car and the long commute. However it also means I risk hibernating in my home, the same four walls and little natural light. With regards to true flexible working, I really struggle to actually do this, despite being lucky enough to work for an employer who supports the concept. I watch my hours carefully and usually end up working longer and harder when at I’m home to prove I’m not taking advantage. This pressure and expectation is all coming from me, not my employer, and I need to let it go! So, I have decided to book out a longer lunch break twice a week to do something for my wellbeing. Ideally this will be walking and gardening if the weather allows, which should give me time with nature, fresh air and exercise, to help me get through this winter as healthily as possible.
Are the changing seasons something you are conscious of? Do they affect you? Are you putting any plans in place or changing your routines to adapt to the coming winter? It would be great to hear your thoughts.