“Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.”
Yule conjures up such warm and festive feelings. Roaring fires, hot drinks, carbohydrate laden foods, friends, family and the promise that as from tomorrow, the days will begin to lengthen. Celebrations go one around us but not everyone feels the light returning. This time of year, weighted with memories and pinned in place with darkness, can be a struggle.
If you’re not feeling the solstice spirit, you’re not alone. I’m walking right alongside you. The darkness outside has mirrored the darkness inside and I’ve struggled since the shorter days. Anxiety, depression and a feeling of futility has accompanied me since the equinox.
It’s not as easy as flicking a switch and your inner light returns, at least I haven’t found it to be so yet. But I have been taking small steps in self-care to stop the darkest night from consuming me completely. Maybe give it a try too?
Self-care for the darkest night
It’s cold. I get it. But a short walk can do wonders that sitting indoors can’t. Wrap up warm and give it ago. I know a walk by the beach, even on dark and stormy days, makes me feel better. It clears my head and getting battered by the elements makes me remember I’m alive.
I’ve kept a gratitude diary this year and haven’t skipped a single day. In the evening I reflect on the events of the day and write down ten things I’m grateful for. Some days it’s a struggle to reach ten but the blessings are there if you focus on them.
Shifting your focus from your inner world to being of assistance to someone in the outer world can really help. Give your time or even just your kindness. It’s the little things – opening a door for someone, thanking someone for good service, donating to charity, or giving food to homeless – that can light up someone’s day.
Gift yourself time
During the past couple of months, I’ve been so busy working with clients at my company the Quiet Rebel Bureau that I’ve made very little time for myself. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I took a whole weekend off. This hasn’t helped my mental health.
I’m gifting myself no more work from today until the New Year. It’s not a case of wanting time off (I love what I do) but needing it.
In the chaos of the season, it can be so easy to just carry on or keep adding to an already full list. Make time for yourself, even half-an-hour can be helpful.
Do something that makes you happy
It seems so obvious but when you’re feeling down, the obvious can escape you: do something that makes you happy. Even if you don’t want to, still do it.
I’ve made time to read, bought rose bubble bath, bought a new pen (who doesn’t love new stationery?), baked and burnt muffins, gone to the cinema and taken a long walk by the sea. Initially, I didn’t want to do any of those things but I did them. But you know what? I felt better afterwards.
What makes you happy? Go do that.
If you can’t find your light during these dark days, please reach out. Talk with a friend or call a support line. This time of year can be challenging and it’s okay not to be okay. The Samaritans (UK) are open 24/7 .