As the long, winter nights approach again, I’m starting to worry that the anxiety that overtook me last winter will strike again. I’ve been thinking about ways to try and keep it at bay, and although it’s hard to sometimes to follow my own advice, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me.
- It’s important to arrange things in advance – things like days out, books coming out, events to go to, workshops, gatherings – anything that I’ve planned in advance and will be something to look forward to.
- Projects. Some kind of project is always good. I like to plan a few writing projects to focus on, and maybe some other projects – like a craft project.
- Establishing a routine. I love having my own little routines and it’s important to keep these going, even when things get too much.
- Getting outside is so important. Going for walks, taking the dog out or doing something active is crucial, and something that I’d like to do everyday.
- Seeing people. This kind of ties in with number one, but it’s important to make a point of seeing friends, making the effort to get people together, and not cancel too many plans.
- Tying in with the last point – a change of scene is essential at times. Even when it seems like the last thing you’d want to do, it does help, and it puts a new perspective on things.
- Having goals or even arbitrary deadlines to meet, just so that you feel like you’re working towards something.
- Eating well and not just binging on junk food. Although lots of hot chocolate is essential.
- Dressing for the weather and embracing it. I get down at the thought of all those long dark nights, but it’s important to try and be positive about it.
- Finally, it’s crucial to look after yourself – lots of baths, good books and films.
Of course these are just things that help me. Different people may have different ways of coping, but I hope I try to remember all this as the nights get darker – got to be positive after all. It’s the only way forward.