As this piece is being written, we are nearing the end of Autumn and will soon embark on a new season – winter. Winter has a reputation for ranking the lowest for many people when it comes to season preferences, especially for those who suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), but for us here at Benchmark, it’s right at the top. We just love it.
We cannot change the shorter, darker days or the colder weather, and we are not downplaying the effects of SAD, but we hope to convince you as you read this piece that with little effort you can truly embrace the winter months, or at least make them feel a little more manageable.
We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again. – Katherine May – Wintering.
Embracing the Great Outdoors
There is something quite beautiful about the seasonal cycles – no matter what’s going on in the world, or our lives, the earth keeps moving around the sun and nature does its thing as we transition through each season. With fewer hours of daylight throughout the winter months, it is vital to find the time as often as we can to be outside. If you have a garden or a park nearby why not relocate your mid-morning coffee or even your lunch. Embrace, and really make time away from your screen, perhaps listen to a podcast or music and take time for yourself We believe you’ll find it really quite meditative, and it’s easy to prioritise even for the busiest person. It’s a great excuse to wrap up warm in your cosy jumper and even 20 minutes in the great outdoors each day can make an enormous difference.
We get it; getting up in the winter mornings can feel like an almighty struggle. Winter Fatigue is a real thing with lack of sunshine wreaking havoc with our body clocks and hormones. Sticking to a regular sleep pattern is absolutely key and we strongly recommend embracing a bedtime ritual such as reading and limiting your screen time as much as possible before bed. A calming meditation, or even a night-time pillow spray can have a positive impact on being able to drop off soundly to sleep. We also love dimmed lights and dancing candle flames to help us relax and unwind. Our screeching alarm can sound much more aggressive during the winter months, especially without the birds singing and the sunlight peeking through the curtains, but getting up as soon after your alarm as you can will have a positive impact for the rest of the day. Where possible avoid hitting snooze! Investing in a Lumie light (or similar) can also ease early dark starts during the winter months.
Feed and Nourish your Soul
It’s completely normal for mince pies to be the first food craving to pop into your head during the colder months (please do confirm that it’s not just us?!), but winter is a fabulous time to really nourish your soul, and feed yourself hearty, and healthy food. You don’t need to be a master chef to rustle up a stew, casserole, or soup (there is so much inspiration at your fingertips online). Where you can, opt for in-season foods such as beetroot, potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli, not only will this save you a few pennies, but you’ll be getting the cream of the crop and you really will be able to taste and feel the difference within yourself. Making healthier choices during colder months will give your body the energy it needs as well as help your immune system battle with any coughs and colds that will inevitably try and fight their way into your office.
Light Up your Winter
There is something nostalgic about winter smells, especially around Christmas time. We particularly love candles (The White Company – Winter, Noir, or Highland Escape being favourites), not only does their flickering light soothe, but the scent can fill the room and instantly make you feel calmer. We understand that it’s a real perk of working from home, but we are quite partial to lighting candles during the working day – why should it be essential to wait until it’s gone dark outside? For those of us who work in front of a harsh computer screen all day, candles can be especially soothing and help us transition from work to relaxation mode. We are also big fans of lower light lamps, as well as fairy lights to bring a cosy feel into our home.
There is something particularly special about snuggling down and reading a book during the colder, and darker months. Here are some of our favourites that we hope you will enjoy…
Wintering by Katherine May
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Winter by Ali Smith
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
We understand that we may not be able to convince you to completely love the winter months as much as we do but we very much hope this article has given you a little food for thought and a few tips to help you feel much more positive about the next few months ahead.
If you are ever in need of a chat or a little injection of positivity during your day please do not hesitate to give us a call.