I usually get a bit down this time of year. I’m not talking about depression or SAD, but just really fed up. You know the sort of thing: Christmas is over and I’ve overspent. It was let-down anyway, because I couldn’t see my family. My house is cold. We’re in yet another Lockdown - in winter, in the snow and the rain!

So here are my tips for coping with January Lockdown:

  1. Make the most of natural light. You know which room in your house or flat attracts most light during the day – make sure you create your cosy space in that room. A good book and a blanket.
  2. Get out if you can. Yes the weather has been miserable, but once you're out, the winter light can be beautiful and there's something quite therapeutic about walking with snow crunching under foot. Tread carefully though!
  3. Try to keep physically active. If it’s snowing or raining and you cannot face the great outdoors, that means an exercise video or just turn up the radio and dance! Seriously, if you can manage it, you’ll feel better after half an hour of moderate activity.
  4. Keep Busy. I love reading, but it could be learning a new skill online (knitting?) or trying out a new recipe. I find that having a daily routine, however small, really helps. And then I pop little treats into that routine. What about potting up some indoor bulbs? Dig out some old tins of paint and paint the pots you put them in. Try making a patchwork cushion - I've done this and believe me, you really don't need any sewing skills! It's all about choosing lovely old fabrics that mean somthing to you.  
  5. Call or email an old friend. Or someone new - a work colleague for example. Most of us feel awkward about reaching out, but be the one to break the ice and even though you cannot do it in person at the moment, a ‘how are you doing’ email is really nice to receive.
  6. Join an online group. There are loads out there. Sometimes, being with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation. Unbelievably, you might find yourself laughing with your group about Lockdown and Zoom! If you’re shy and don’t like the idea of being tongue-tied in a group, choose a group that has a clear focus, like a reading group, where you know you’ll have something to say about what you’ve all been reading.
  7. If you’ve made any New Year resolutions, use them as guidelines rather than strict rules. So if you stick to them great, but if you don’t, remind yourself that they’re indicators of the general direction you’d like to be going in.

So that’s it. Nothing particularly new in there, but I suppose the overall message is be gentle on yourself, this is a tough time we’re all going through and January IS a tough month.

And if you’re really struggling, please talk to your GP.