December marks one of my favourite times of year. It’s getting cold and dark but it’s cosy inside and there’s plenty to be thankful for. It’s the perfect time to get into a good routine of looking after yourself before the full depths of winter set in, and a great time to practise some self care. For those that suffer mental health problems, or are susceptible to seasonal affective disorders, I find December marks the start of the period where things start to become the most difficult, but the festive season can be a great way to ease in gently, and a good excuse to take care of yourself!
It’s dark when you wake up, and chances are it’s dark when you get home too, so I find bringing some light into your home particularly helpful. Light up the Christmas Tree if you haven’t already, and string some lights around the room; the warm glow of fairy lights is so much more comforting than an overhead lamp, and comfort is key in December. Light candles and invite festive scents as well as warm flickering light, and make your space as cosy as possible.
December is not a time for dieting either, and if you need to make and eat a whole plate of chocolate chip cookies, then you should do just that. Cook stews, casseroles and pies, and warm up chilly lunch hours with soup and crusty bread. Opt for comfort over style, switch out that stylish but cold jacket for a thick layer of warmth, and grab a scarf that doubles as a blanket to snuggle up on the go.
Rewatch your favourite Christmas films even if you’ve seen them a hundred times before. Listen to your favourite Christmas album on repeat and sing along where possible. Never be without a hot drink to warm your hands, and add marshmallows where you can.
Go easy on yourself and if you can’t do anything other than snooze on the sofa when it’s dark outside, then that’s just fine. There are plenty of other times where productivity can come first, but December can be, if you need it, a time for a mini hibernation, to batten down the hatches and see out the darkness can cold as comfortably as possible. In previous years I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible and then felt frustrated when I tired myself out and couldn’t do it all. This year I’m taking things slow and taking as much time as I need to relax, eat cookies, or do simply nothing at all, and all of a sudden those wintery days and nights have become a lot more pleasant!