• Aoife

Getting through winter... When running to the sun isn't an option

As someone who, for the last 5 years or so, has run off to the sun for the year's darkest days I thought I'd share my experiences of staying at home for the long winter months with anyone who may be struggling to see the light.

I realise it is only January so I have a way to go yet in completing a full trip round the seasons but I'm feeling strong and have found some really useful tricks for getting through. I chose to stay in the UK, more specifically, Bristol, this year because I began to wonder what lessons I may be missing out on by skipping a whole chunk of the natural year long cycle. Also, I'm 31 now and I'll admit, the nesting vibes are strong!

So, here are some tricks I've found useful, personally, for getting through winter, when running to the sun isn't an option.

1) (Controversially) Keep, or gain, a healthy layer of fat Eat good food, share your table with friends. It doesn't have to be expensive... a lentil Daal can feed 10 for about £2.50. CHEESE. Im sure there's a reason there is an abundance of cheese this time of year. Enjoy it, stay active, add a little to each portion. I put on a little weight by accident this year and I'm noticing how right that feels for me. That layer of fat is keeping me all toasty! Plus my boyfriend can't keep his warm hands off my bum, so there's that too!! cosy!!

2) Used to travelling? Not this year? Look for wonders in your back garden, in the depths of a friends eyes, in nature, in yourself. Travel the rivers and mountains of your inner landscape. Or if that's too etherial for you, get yourself a magnifying glass or even better, a microscope and go for a walk with it. There's a whole world of sights yet unseen on your very doorstep. What treasures can you find in your own culture? It might not looks so sexy on Instagram but it's what's here, now.

3) Celebrate This is important. If I'm not celebrating I'm feeling sorry for myself. Had a shit day? Wicked, you're alive! Celebrate! Light a candle, put on the fairy lights. Celebrate the little things.

4) Surrender Don't fight it. You probably won't feel like going out as much as you do in summer. You may feel groggy, you will probably have lower energy levels than other times of the year, the hibernate instinct is strong. It's ok. Rest. Turn inwards, winter can be a time for reflection, of letting go and listening to what you want to welcome in. Surrender to the quiet, dark days... there is gold here for you. This is the main thing I've loved about staying home for winter. A year of following the sun is so outward, giving, high energy, sociable for me. Winter is my permission to slow down, to receive, to rest.

5) Get outside when it is light Rain or shine try, TRY to get outside in the daylight hours. Even if only for a short while and if that's all it is, relish those moments. Drink them in, bathe in them! Be grateful for the light there is.

and lastly

6) Find the little light that burns inside you. That spark that keeps you alive. The flame that keeps you from complete dispair. It's the same flame that usually books the flights, the one that wants to make things better. Find that flame, it is light in the same way the sun is light. It is warmth like the sun is warmth. What does it need to burn brighter when a white sandy beach isn't an option? Mine wants Baileys hot chocolates, games nights, my partners hand in mine, fires, cold country walks.

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