This new lockdown is starting to bite. Unlike the one that began in March, we can no longer have visits to our gardens, and in any case, the weather is not conducive to that. So what can we do to keep ourselves going?
A few years ago, I ran a feature on this blog, of poems drawing on the notion of hygge, with photographs submitted by the poets or selected by me. This feature is still live. Follow the tags and have a good read of all the fabulous poems by contributors. Hygge is about trying to brighten up the long dark days, with togetherness, kindness and cosiness.
Simple things to stay cheerful
1) Take time for a bit of pampering, doing all those things you rarely have time for, such as face packs, long baths, self-massage and foot soaks.
2) Have one day a week, or more if you like, to dress up a little, put on some special clothes, jewellery, perfume, even make up if you wear it.
3) Learn a new skill or revive an old one, for example, I have gone back to machine sewing, which I had to abandon when I was teaching full time.
4) You might not be able to garden or do outside projects easily, but now is a good time of year to peruse seed catalogues and start planning. Or plan some walks you’d like to do when lockdown lifts. Maps are always fun to look at.
5) I’ve been coping with missing holidays and days out by watching things like Escape to the Country on YouTube. I like seeing parts of the UK I either know or don’t know, as well as seeing lots of interesting houses. This is a good time to indulge those guilty pleasures.
6) Try reading those books that may have languished on your shelves for a while. Slip any you won’t re-read into a bag to pass on to others, or even leave outside with a note saying FREE, please take one, though that does have the added work of bringing it in at night. Or maybe you have a book swap telephone box locally?
7) If you have to work from home, clock on and off and do not let it spill out into your own time or your comfort space.
8) Now can be a good time to plan some craft activities, or journalling, painting or writing. It’s relaxing, and it feels good to play without any pressure.
9) Plan nourishing, inexpensive meals that can be slow-cooked. Nothing says hygge like a big pan of home-made soup to dip into, especially with warm bread. Bake your own, or buy a mix, or get those part-baked rolls.
10) Ring or email or message a friend for a chat. Or even write them a letter. Everyone likes to get post.
January is not the cheeriest of months, but looking for signs of spring can bring hope. New buds on trees, bulbs pushing up, birdsong (make sure you are putting out food for the birds if you want to see and hear them), and the gradual lengthening of days. Things will improve.