It’s a bright and beautiful Sunday early afternoon. I spent some quiet time this morning listening to worship music, praying and praising God while playing worship songs on my violin. Taking time for a bit of self care and reflection, and tidying up, and hopefully by later this afternoon I’ll catch some of that winter sunshine while it is still here, God willing.
It was cold, dark, and I’d had a long albeit productive week at work, and I was spending the evening alone. I’ve been feeling tired after work this week and working through some things that had been bothering me a bit, so I haven’t really had a lot of time or energy to put into practice some of the other perhaps more productive Winter Survival Guide tips this week, alongside the fact that I have been blogging a lot! 🙂
So, Friday night was definitely a good night for a cosy night in and for a bit of a treat, so I ordered in a takeaway, I was in the mood for Wagamama, so here are the obligatory pictures of what I got – all vegan too I’m pleased to say 🙂 Yasai Katsu Curry, and panko breadcrumb covered aubergines in a bun, with a side salad. Delish! 🙂
I ended up not watching a film, but enjoying my ‘go to’ cosy night in fix of Grey’s Anatomy.
Sometimes we just need an evening like that, no pressure, some good food, and the chance to unwind after a long week. Have you had any cosy nights in lately as winter approaches? What did you do, or do you have any film or TV recommendations?
Saturday 16th / Sunday 17th November 2019 (00:35hrs) :
I hope you’ve all been enjoying and following my series of posts in my ‘Winter Survival Guide’, and have found some of my suggestions helpful.
I thought it would be a nice idea to actually share with you my own efforts to put some of my ideas into practice, and hopefully you will be inspired to join in.
This isn’t necessarily going to be in the order of my original posts, and for some of the ‘smaller’ and more lighter hearted suggestions (such as dancing along to Christmas music! 😉 ) you’ll have to browse through the comments sections of my Winter Survival Guide to see any updates I’ve put in there, but for the more eventful suggestions I’ll write longer posts.
I’ve actually been stuck inside all day today by myself, and truth be told I had a bit of a dip in my mood this evening as some things have been bothering me, but I’m working through them and have been enjoying some quiet reflective times listening to Scripture, cosying up on my couch and watching Grey’s Anatomy, as well as doing some tidying up around the house, talking to my parents on the phone, blogging – of course, and having a little ‘dance party’ of my own. So although the updates on my wintery walks aren’t from today, I have been putting into practice some of the other, cosier, indoor tips from my Winter Survival Guide. However, here are some pictures from some wintery walks in the park and observations in the city’s main train station from a little earlier on. I hope that it brings some joy and inspiration to you even if you can’t get outside yourself today. Be blessed, and happy beautiful wintery journey to you. x
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:
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?
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
To survive this winter season, and to thrive as you journey through it, I’d like to encourage you, and myself, to have regular mental health and self care ‘check ins’. Make an appointment with yourself to focus on taking care of you. It’s easy to get lost in the many things going on around us, to the detriment of our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. So along with all of the other tips in this season, let’s make our wellbeing and our mental health a priority. Once again I have loads of helpful tips and articles on these issues on my blog, and the many things I’ve learned over the years from personal experience, so I’m with you friend, I know it can be hard, but you’re important and your mind matters, so do what you can to take care of yourself, to regularly make some time just to be kind and look after your wellbeing so that you can be and feel your best this season. x
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?
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
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
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
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
Someday you may look back on the days you are living right now and wish that you had appreciated them so much more. But why wait for that someday when you can begin to more truly and fully appreciate life now, as you live it?
I had one of those ‘moments’ last week, it was after Church, which had been a Remembrance Sunday service, and I was taking a quiet walk through the park which is just opposite the Church, on my way home to the centre of the city, which I often do. The park is a lovely big park where you can wander around, there are trees, a duck pond, some statues / monuments of sorts, a large circular fountain, park benches, flower gardens, a play park area for children, at the far end there is a small ‘skate park’ for the teens, and you can walk uphill to the top of the park where you are granted a beautiful view over the city, including onto the old castle like building of one of the universities.
The trees in the park were ablaze with autumn colours, the air was crisp and cold, people were walking at a slower pace as they strolled together hand in hand, or walked their dogs. Others jogged, ran and sprinted past as fast as can be. Some lingered while sitting on benches, and children played, often pausing to inspect a leaf, or some other fascinating object at their eye level, or squealing with delight at a squirrel as it scampered by.
The day was blessed with sunlight, and as I wandered through the park, I decided not to head straight home, but to walk around it a couple of times, to stop and look and take it all in, to sit on a bench and enjoy the view overlooking the city, to really appreciate the beauty, the life, the colours around me. From time to time I listened to the birds, while at other points I put my headphones in and listened to worship music. It was blissful. A couple of people came up to me to exchange some small talk, and then went along their way.
I had a moment, while drinking in this beauty, where I realised that these were the moments of my life. The life I was living right then at that moment. These were the special ones that I would hopefully look back upon one day and think of with fondness, hopefully having enough presence of mind to remember them. I decided to pause and appreciate them, the moments, these ‘right now’ moments before moving on.
Maybe you have moments like that, enjoying the beautiful free gifts lavished upon us all. Yet, do you miss them? Do you let them flutter past you because your mind is occupied with what you don’t have? I am trying more and more to appreciate the present, and the good things in my life right now, even while I wonder about my unknown future, about hopes and dreams.
A week prior to this, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in about a year. We used to meet up with a couple of other single female friends and go out to dinner or meet for coffee, go to church together, and share life. A few years ago this friend met the love of her life, got married, moved further north in the country, and a year and a half ago had her first child, a baby boy. We caught up on life as much as we could over coffee and a fleeting visit. She remembered with nostalgia her carefree single days while living in the city. She loves her husband and baby, but there are things to adjust to, sleepless nights, responsibilities that she didn’t have before. While she was single, she longed for the things she has now, as many of us do, but when we met up, she was somewhat wistful, about the days she had left behind. Perhaps she even missed them, or aspects of them a bit.
Now, here I am, a single young lady living in the city, with my own place, a full time job and friends and interests of my own. I’ve worked hard over the past few years to recover from some tough health challenges and continue to work on it as it’s been a long road. Things are looking brighter however, and I enjoy pursuing my interests and dreams. However, I don’t know what the future holds. I would like to get married and have a family of my own and share that with the family I have now.
I know that many of you also think of the future, you wonder what will be, and your ‘wonderings’ will be different depending on what stage of life you are in and what your perspective and attitude is.
But wherever you find yourself, take time to really appreciate your life right now, or the things that you can. It may not be perfect, you may be going through a really difficult season, but don’t wish away the good things you have now, or fail to appreciate them because you are longing for something else or something more.
I have voyaged through light and shade in my journey through life. There have been seasons characterised by simplicity, seasons of tears and pain and despair of life, seasons of struggle, seasons of healing and now I am entering a season of hope. You will have your own experiences of light and shade in your own life. But take time to appreciate the days of your life right now, even if you are hoping for future blessings or change.
Single ladies, don’t mope and be miserable if you want to find the love of your life – enjoy the free time you have if you have it right now, take time to build up your skills, independence, interests, friendships, career, pursuits. Spend time with the people you love. I love spending time with my family, and talk to my parents every day on the phone because I live alone. I truly appreciate that blessing.
I have had seasons of poor health, and I choose to enjoy and appreciate the health I have now. The home, the friends, the job, the food, clothes, the travel, my blogging community, my church fellowship and family.
What are you taking for granted this winter season as you long for spring? What hopes and dreams do you have that you may be letting tinge your thinking with negativity because you don’t have them yet or don’t know if they will ever be fulfilled? What do you have in your life that someone else might be longing for? A home, a family, food on the table, friends?
There are so many things that we have right now in our lives to appreciate. Let’s take time to appreciate and enjoy them and be thankful for them. And right now, in this moment, I choose to be thankful for and appreciate – you! 🙂 x