Well, that's it; it's over. Summer has well and truly delivered us her Dear John letter. (Don't worry, she'll be back in a few months' time, she's fickle like that.) Clocks have gone back and we go everywhere in the dark. No more festivals, barbecues or going to the pub without your big coat on: boohoo: rubbish.
It's no wonder so many suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I don't know about you but the thought of going out in the dark and miserable weather is more than enough to make me want to hibernate in the duvet and eat mashed potato sandwiches. But although slowing the pace a bit for the winter months is inevitable, unless we have the luxury of b*ggering off to warmer climates for a few months (I don't) we have to grin and bear the sh*tty weather and the dark nights and just get on with it.
So it got me to wondering: what tangible things can we do to ease the transition from Summer into Autumn and Winter?
My friend Susan has a great suggestion: fake tan! You may laugh but when you're feeling a bit fat and miserable from too many evenings tucked up in your duvet scoffing comfort food, seeing what you were born with, in mahogany, is quite a pick-me-up. You'll look slimmer and healthier - yay to that! They do special ones for men now as well, probably the same stuff with less perfume and a really hard name, and sold in penis-shaped bottles.
Make some wardrobe space by packing away your Summer clothes (I put mine in a case under the bed), and dig out your winter clothes. Sort them into outfits with bags, scarves and other accessories, and getting ready to go out into the cold will seem a bit less of a chore - exciting even! Or maybe that's just me. Well, you can try it. I'm not making any promises here.
There's not as much opportunity to get sunshine which, as you know makes us happy, so do your absolute best to go outside at lunchtime, for at least 10 minutes. It will not work through your balaclava so you'll have to take it off.
Keep your pecker up by watching comedy TV or reading funny books. Stay away from anything depressing. Like the news. If anything big happens someone will tell you, I guarantee it.
Over the Summer I always find myself either eating out, or chucking a few salad ingredient together for dinner, and so by the time Autumn comes around I've forgotten how to cook and am horrified at the thought of spending more than 10 minutes in the kitchen. Very tempting to order in junk food or chuck a pizza in the oven, but this cr*ppy food will make us feel worse so pull out your recipe books and re-discover some comforting but healthy winter recipes. Do not be tempted to replace the Summer salads with white carbs - you will be sorry! The free Asda magazine always has some ace recipes that are proper easy and don't contain ingredients you can never find like figs, lemongrass and rocking horse sh*t.
While we're on the subject of cooking, as you'll be spending less time in the beer garden, invite your friends over and cook for them. A great excuse to drink red wine. Someone told me recently they did their own version of "Come dine with me" with a bunch of friends. You'll probably get very p*ssed. You may even win a prize. Or get food poisoning. Bl**dy brilliant!
Alright, there'll be times when you REALLY can't be bothered having people over because it's way too much effort to push the vacuum cleaner round and wear something other than day four pyjamas. On days like this it's more important than ever to connect to stop you getting down, so ring your friends and family. It'll cheer you up a bit, and them. And over the phone they can't smell you or see the piles of washing up.
Relaxing and getting enough sleep in winter is EASY. Bath, book, bed. Simples.
Now this is one I use myself a lot. When I step outside and the wind is blowing and it's drizzling and I realise half way to the bus stop I should have worn different shoes there's a whiny little voice in my head which starts. "I'm freeeeezing!" or "Sh*t my hair, why did I bother?" or "F*ck these f*cking shoes." But then I stop the voice before it continues and turn the message around to something a bit more positive like, "Ah, the boss will probably not realise I'm late." or "Hmm, which flavour coffee shall I have this morning?" or "I actually look really hot in these shoes." It helps to stop a negative downward spiral of thoughts, changes your perspective and plants positive messages which affect mood. It's all good.
EXERCISE (You hoped I'd forgotten, didn't you?)
Oh, I caaaaaan't, I'm tiiiiiired, it's coooooold, I just want to go hooooome. I know. I do, I know. But we still have to do it. I can't tell you what exercise to do, as it's personal to you but you must continue to do it for your well-being. That boost of happy-chemicals makes everything else seem so... pleasant. Force yourself, you'll be glad of it. I schedule my exercise into my paper diary in Sharpie marker so I can't scrub it out. Or if I do you can still sort of see it. Especially if I draw a box around it and block it in. It's really obvious.
So those are my tips for getting us over the Winter months. If you can think of any more feel free to post them up and we can share them with everyone. And we can all skip to work in the sunshine in our heads!!!