This year may be the toughest January within my lifetime. Knowing it will be months before any kind of normality returns, aside from the usual blues of this time of year. When business is dire, when pay day is further away than is helpful, and just before shoots start to push through in the garden, even here in the Garden of England.
Having just had a particularly low week or so, when I found focusing on anything to be too much to cope with – that time when my “black dog” visits – not an often experience, but a little lower each time – and pulling out the other side, I am determined to put things in place to help me for future low times. And to encourage myself, and others as a side-effect, through to feeling more optimistic and Pollyanna. For it does not sit well to be so unenthusiastic and depressed, I’m one who sees good if it is there to be seen, who steps up to help other people. But sometimes we just cannot. Our well is dry, our batteries empty. And then we must recharge and fill-up with that goodness that others can then tap into too.
So, how am I going about this? Firstly by reaching out to others, letting them know that I’m not as chipper as usual. This can sometimes be really hard to do but actually it can be exactly the best thing. Not just for yourself, but for the other people, the other givers. You know how it feels when you make a difference to someone else. So we should give that to others.
But on a more simple level, I’m doing stuff. I wish I could get out and walk or cycle or garden with a vengeance, but that’s not an option. But I can do small things in the garden, plan what I want to do here even if it is for just one more year (renting). And inspired by my sister’s rather awesome Christmas gift (pictured) I’ve started an ambitious cross-stitch for a friend. I’ll also experiment with baking with different ingredients. I love cake but also want to lost another stone in weight. I will see if it is possible to do/have both!
What else? Well we’ve not really settled here properly. Pictures lay on their side in the hall. Lights are lampshade-less (even though I have the compenents and fabric to create them). Tending to those two areas will make a big difference to how it feels here. It will be worth the time invested. And I will light the fire when it is cold enough, not just for the evenings. I adore this fire – not the actual fireplace (which is not the most pleasing to the eye) but the fire. Definitely a “sparks joy” thing.
And those days when even doing some of the simple things above, well I’ll give myself a break and not give myself a hard time about not doing things. I will pick up my copy of “Simple Things”, and Charlie Mackesy‘s “The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse” – this is a time when every page can give something. I shall post cards to people – I have so many, chosen for their cheer, but yet to send them. And I’ll stop and watch the birds queueing up in the hedge for their turn at the bird feeder. Or simply watch the rabbits in the field behind us, the smaller bunnies chasing each other, the elders sat stoicly keeping watch. I will listen to my Spotify playlist for such days. How easy it can be to do such seemingly obvious and simple things.
Of course I should also write. Often.
We each need to find joy in small things. And for most of us that is possible. We should be very glad for that.