Category Archives: Motivation

Winter Survival Guide ~ The Journey So Far (& Request for Reader Feedback and Participation).

Well friends, we’ve reached a mini-milestone of our 40th Winter Survival Guide tip in this series. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on this and exploring how we can all stay healthy, well, motivated, positive, and happy as we reflect upon moving into the latter season of this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed, or are enjoying, reading through my series too, as my main goal is to help and encourage other people as well as myself to get through what can for many be a season that is not without its challenges, in the best way possible  – basically to help us all look out for and look after each other! I hope you have found it encouraging and helpful.

I’d like to request a little feedback if you have been enjoying and reading this series. Would you like me to conclude it with this 40th post, or to round it up to the next ‘milestone’ of 50, and bring you ten more suggestions and tips for thriving this winter? I’d absolutely love to do that, and will have something to share with you to conclude the series of 50 posts before the end of November, so that you are well stocked up with helpful ideas and suggestions before the end of the month, and to take you into December and January!

So what do you all think? Would you like to read a few more posts in this series, or would you prefer if I just conclude it here?

That’s my first request for feedback.

Now my second one is for a bit of reader participation if you are up for it?

I’d like to actually update you with how I am doing in implementing some of my own suggestions and Winter Survival Guide tips, along with some photos along the way!

Would you be interested in that? And also, more to the point, would you be interested in taking this journey with me? You don’t have to do or share updates of how your are getting on with all of the suggestions or even in a particular order – I certainly don’t think I’d be able to do that myself. Even if you want to just let us all know of one or two suggestions you’ve taken forward, you could either share with us in the comments section of that particular Winter Survival Guide post, or you could write up what you did on your own blog and link to the relevant post in my Winter Survival Guide.

Let’s make this season as encouraging and fun for each other as possible, and help one another along the way if anyone is struggling, and share inspiring stories and experiences too! Is anyone up for it? I’d love it if you’d join me on this wintery festive journey, and share with us what it means to you.

So, please do let me know in the comments:

  1. Would you like to see a further ten more posts to take the Winter Survival Guide tips up to 50, or would you prefer me to conclude it with the 40th post I’ve just written?
  2. Would you like to participate in trying out one or some of my Winter Survival Guide suggestions and posting an update to encourage and inspire others and to build a bit of blogging festive community spirit and spread the joy? 🙂 x

 

Please do comment and let me know below.

 

abandoned antique architecture building
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Winter Survival Guide (39) ~ Dance It Out!

I’m a good few years (and maybe almost a decade) late to the party when it comes to the medical drama series ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, as I didn’t really know what the fuss was about and only started watching it earlier this year on Amazon Prime, but already I’m embarking upon Season 11 (of the 15 Seasons available!)…so you could say I’m enjoying the drama.

These young doctors, a few of the young women in particular, like to shake off their stress and deal with emotional situations by having a ‘dance party’ – by that, it’s simply putting on some music, and either by themselves or with one or two or three other friends just ‘dance it out’ there and then.

Hey, if you’re feeling a bit stressed and need a quick ‘go to’ Winter Survival Guide tip that you can do in the comfort of your own living room with a few of your favourite seasonal tunes (is anyone else thinking of Macaulay Culkin as Kevin in ‘Home Alone’ Rocking Around the Christmas Tree? 🙂 ) why not have a little ‘dance party’ of your own to shake off the stress and have some fun?

Dance like nobody’s watching! 🙂 x

photography of woman listening to music
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Winter Survival Guide (37) ~ Go on an Adventure…?

For me, most years I’ll stay at home during this time of year after I finish up at work for the year. I’ll visit family and friends as many of us do. Sometimes I’ll take a couple of days to go on a ‘mini adventure’ to maybe see some friends in the same country, or perhaps take a mini break to somewhere in mainland Europe. This year I have a six day trip (including all of the travel time) to somewhere in Europe….I’ll leave that as a surprise so that you can enjoy my ‘photo diary’ and travel adventures later on.

I didn’t get a summer holiday this year because certain plans fell through, however it left me with 9 days annual leave to use up before the end of the year, and it wasn’t looking likely that I’d get the chance to go somewhere sunny (maybe next year I’ll get some sunshine – it is in short supply here in Scotland ! 😉 ), so instead I’m off for a wee festive adventure to somewhere equally cold, I presume….I’ll blog about that towards the middle of December after I’ve returned.

Some people, however, like to leave the Christmas postcard scenes behind and jet off to sunnier climes. I know a woman who has family in Australia and she will go and visit them there. My boss and his wife this year are going to Hong Kong and Thailand later in November, to be back in time for Christmas. I can’t quite afford to do that at the moment, but even just going somewhere not too far, whether to visit friends and family in a neighbouring town or city, to take a weekend away in a hotel, to go on a city break or a theatre break, to take a few days abroad but not too far away, or to head off further afield – it can be nice to have a bit of an adventure before settling in for the cosier ‘at home’ days as the year draws to a close.

Or maybe you are a full time traveller? What will you be doing? Do you have any winter adventures planned, and what will they look like?

For those of you who stay closer to home, do you like the idea of a few days off to go on a mini adventure before doing all the ‘homely’ stuff, or does the thought of planning and organising that add to your stress?

Although I didn’t get much of a break this summer, other than going for a couple of long weekend trips to visit friends and family, it is kind of nice to have a Christmas adventure planned, as I just love this season.

I have always wondered whether Christmas in New York would be as lovely as it seems on the movies, and I think I might just add that to my ‘bucket list’ of adventures to go on in the future. What about those of you who live there or who have experienced Christmas in New York as a holiday? Would you recommend it, and if so what would be your highlights? It does make me think of ‘Home Alone’ which is one of those great Christmas holiday films full of nostalgia and fun.

I hope whatever adventures you go on, or whether you stay closer to home, that you get the rest, refreshing and new perspective that you need this year. x

collect moments not things quote
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Winter Survival Guide (34) ~ Christmas and Holiday Playlists.

So, we’ve covered our top 5 films and made an occasion of them, so what about some ‘feel good’ music?

I haven’t ever put together a Christmas holiday playlist, as such. I tend to just buy music and listen to it on my MP3, or if it’s something I might only occasionally listen to I’ll just look up songs on You Tube and listen to them as and when I’m in the mood for that particular song, or I’ll browse and discover new music. I like listening to things just in the moment as well, and I might not know the song or the artist, but it just connects with me emotionally in the moment. It is nice though to have some familiar favourites at hand for those cold winter days especially when we might need some cheering up.

What will be on your playlist, if you make one up? Or even if you don’t have a playlist as such, what music do you hope to listen to?

For me, I’d definitely want some reflective worship music that I can sing along and praise and worship God to, some instrumental music, some carols, and some good old fashioned Christmas ‘tuuuunes’! which will definitely include some hits from the 1980s and 90s.

What about you? What will you be listening to while you bop around the Christmas tree? 😉 x

ukulele beside a floral box and string lights
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close up photo of a woman listening to music
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man and woman wearing santa hats sitting on sofa popping a confetti surrounded by christmas trees
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Winter Survival Guide (33) ~Appreciate How Far You’ve Come.

I posted earlier about the importance of maintaining a healthy perspective, especially when we might be facing some gloomy wintery days.

Similarly, it’s important to take time every now and then to appreciate just how far we’ve come. Only you know your own personal life journey and how far you have come. The same goes for me. We might share aspects or details of our lives, but no other mere human being can enter into our experience with us. They might comfort us, walk beside us for a while, or encourage us, but no one (except Jesus) can feel exactly what we feel.

How far have you come? Not just this year, but through the bigger challenges of your life? How far have you come in terms of your mental and emotional health? In terms of your confidence socially? In terms of the challenges and hardships and traumas you may have overcome? How far have you come in terms of your education, your learning and in terms of your skills? How far have you come in your character – growing in kindness, patience and love? How far have you come to overcome personal pain and to help other people? How far have you come from simply surviving? How far have you come in health challenges? How far have you come in learning and growing in skills and abilities, talents and in your employment, and how far have you come in passing on some of this learning?

We have all come further than we appreciate or give ourselves the acknowledgement that we often need to keep on going even stronger.

What will you appreciate about how far you have come in your life journey today? x

selective focus photography of a man in white printed t shirt carrying backpack
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Winter Survival Guide (32) ~ Pictures and Perspectives.

It’s not uncommon to fall prey to our human nature of being ‘near-sighted’ in how we look at our lives. During winter time, this can be especially challenging if you find that the low light levels, and sometimes ‘gloomier’ days have a negative effect on your mood. It can become easy to lose perspective, to become inwardly focused, ruminative and negative.

We might feel like hibernating, hiding away from the world, and we can fall into a gloomy, wintery ‘slump’.

To help lift your mood, and broaden your perspective as the year draws to a close, instead of getting stuck in negative thinking, why not encourage yourself by printing off a few pictures of the highlights, or most meaningful times throughout your year. We live in a day and age where we’re all almost constantly taking photographs, whether with a professional camera, or with a phone, and most of these remain in digital form.

However, there is something nice about having some actual prints to keep and to look through every now and then. I did this a couple of years ago, and I meant to do it last year as well, so I’ll need to get around to printing off pics for 2018 as well as 2019! I put them into an album, and I have it in my living room. It’s easy to show to friends and family if they’re interested, and every now and then I’ll take it out and look back over the year of 2017, and it brings a real smile to my face to see the highlights of my memories, and the faces of people I love, and remind me of fun times I might have forgotten.

You can create a simple photo album, and while you pick out those photographs, get them printed out and then put them together it will hopefully bring back some of those good memories that you’ve made along the way. If it’s been a tough year for you, it might be a good way of reminding yourself of the good times too, even if those pictures are of the simple pleasures of life, such as a flower, or a nature picture if you don’t have so many eventful memories that bring you happiness from the year gone by. There will always be a blessing, even hidden away, if you’ll only look for it.

You could also go further and make a crafts project which you could do on your own, or if you preferred you could do this with friends and family. Maybe you could make a scrapbook and include your photographs in that, along with your own drawings, crafts, captions, and things like ticket stubs from events you’ve been to for example.

You can let your creativity run wild, and make gifts and presents with your photos, such as wall art, calendars, mugs or other keepsakes, either for yourself or to give as personalised gifts to the people you love.

It will make those otherwise gloomy days and nights seem brighter, you’ll have a project to get your creative juices flowing, you’ll feel more alert, positive and engaged, and will maybe even enjoy looking forward to the cold dark nights where you can stay in and work on your project. You’ll hopefully gain a more positive and grateful and wider perspective of your life, of the year gone by, the blessings in it, the meaning gained from any losses you’ve faced and lessons you’ve learned, and be in a better frame of mind as you look forward. You’ll also, by the end of it have captured some memories that you can look back on and share with others too. x

photo of polaroid camera near book
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Winter Survival Guide (31) ~ Five Festive Films.

Instead of getting stuck in front of the telly when the holidays arrive, mindlessly watching things that you aren’t even really interested in, so that you don’t get to spend your time doing other fun activities as well, be more intentional by planning ahead.

Why don’t you create a personal list of ‘Top 5 Festive Films’ (or however many you want to include, but 5 is a nice easy number to start with) that you really would like to watch during the holidays. Plan them into your schedule so that you can make a special occasion of it, and create some lovely memories.

You might like to include something that you’ve watched before, or maybe that you watch every year, and that has some kind of sentimental meaning to you. Maybe you could watch this with family and friends and have some people over, get some takeaway or popcorn and create a fun get-together with the people you love.

Maybe there’s a film that is shown every year in the cinemas, or smaller film theatres such as “It’s a wonderful life” (or is it ‘A Wonderful Life’…? Oops can’t remember). I have seen this film twice, once in a local artsy film theatre which was quite cosy. I went a good few years ago with a couple of friends from my church. It was snowing, and my female friend and I made snowballs and threw them at our male friend on the way there and back – it was a lot of fun 🙂 Last year I went to see it with another friend, this friend has recently moved home, and for that reason moved on to new friendships so at least I have that memory of a nice festive time together. I wonder what new memories I may make in the future and who with, watching this timeless classic.

As well as going out to see a film, or having a film night with friends and family, you could also have some ‘me time’ and make an evening of it – go to the cinema yourself if you like, or if you’d rather stay in and watch a good ‘oldie’, then get into your cosy clothes, wear some warm socks, get some yummy snacks and have a great night in to yourself watching one of your favourite films.

Make it special so that you’ll have the memories to look back on, rather than feeling like you just mindlessly lay in front of the telly for hours wasting time.

By being more intentional, it becomes more special, and frees you up to use your time for other wonderful things that you could do as well that might include going out, making crafts, or whatever it is that will make the season feel cosy and special to you. x

food snack popcorn movie theater
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Winter Survival Guide (25) ~ Offer to Help.

Helping others is often very good for us too. As the winter season draws in, it is not uncommon with the drop in temperatures, the low light levels, and shorter days for out mood to also drop.

We can become sluggish, lethargic and inwardly focused if we are not careful. Offering to help someone else can help us to keep an outward focus, think about the needs of other people, feel more productive and be more active.

You don’t need to overstretch yourself, but if you are in the position to, why not offer to help someone else with something?

Does your mum need help to organise a family event? Would your wife appreciate your help cooking dinner? Can you pick up some things from the shops for your elderly neighbour while you are doing your own shopping? Can you help a younger brother or sister prepare for their nativity play? Can you help with organising a particular event in your community, or babysit for a friend so that they can get a bit of a break?

Helping others ‘survive’ and thrive this winter can also go a long way to helping ourselves too. x

adult blond board brunette
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Winter Survival Guide (24) ~ Getting Around to It.

We all have that something, don’t we? That something, or maybe even a bunch of things, that we keep meaning to get around to doing some day. Not necessarily great big things, but just those ‘niggly’ little things that maybe aren’t urgent but we know we need or want to do.

If you’re wondering what I mean, let me share with you some of my things that I’ve been meaning to ‘get around to’ for quite a while:

-Add addresses into my address book (an actual book, not an electronic version).

-Sort out my paper work.

-Tidy out my spare room, so that I can eventually turn this unintentional ‘storage room’ into a guest room.

-Reorganise my kitchen cupboard.

-Print out photos from the past couple of years to make an album.

– Meet up with a couple of friends to do creative things and play the violin together.

-Make an appointment with the doctor / dentist.

-Get new ceiling / spot lights and get them fitted as quite a few have stopped working.

Hopefully that gives you more of an idea of what the things you’ve been meaning to ‘get around to’ could be, or maybe you are well aware of them, but like me, you just never quite get around to them! 🙂 🙂

Maybe it’s not even something that takes too much effort, it could be that there’s  a particular novel that you’ve wanted to read, but you just haven’t ….yes you guessed it…..got around to it, yet.

Or maybe there’s a job needing done in your kitchen, not a big home-improvement project, but just something needing fixed. There could be a bit of your garden that you want to tidy before the weather gets too cold. Maybe you want to reorganise, or get organised with your household system (or create one if you aren’t quite at the point of having any workable systems yet). Maybe you’ve been meaning to call a friend to check in on them and see how they’re doing for a while, but the days just slip by. Or maybe there’s an email you wanted to write. Perhaps you want to create a scrapbook of memories from your family holiday, but instead of doing so, you let all the ‘bits and pieces’ you want to include in it remain scattered here and there around your house. Maybe you’ve been meaning to write out some recipes and update your recipe book if you’ve got one, or maybe you even want to try cooking or baking something new that you’ve been meaning to.

Whatever it is, sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of what we’ve been meaning to get around to, and a bit of a nudge into action. How easy would it be to spend one of these winter days or evenings just doing that simple thing that we’ve been meaning to do, or at least make a start on it?

For example, I could choose the photos I want to get printed and make a folder on my computer and then it will be easier when I do go to send off to get them printed.

Maybe I could spend some time one evening making a list or inventory of the specific lights in particular rooms that I need to get fixed so that I know how many I actually need.

I could write in one address at a time into my address book.

I could spend half an hour at the weekend tidying up my spare room, and at least I would have made a start.

Some of the ‘niggly’ wee jobs needing done can be done there and then. For things that might take longer, at least starting out, even if it’s just a small start will hopefully give us the opportunity to build momentum until we’ve accomplished that thing that we keep meaning to do.

So what is it that you’ve been meaning to get around to doing? And are you actually going to decide to get around to it in this season? 🙂

red screw driver on brown wooden surface
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