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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Perspective: Grey Skies and Keeping Busy

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It's that time of year again; the nights are drawing in, the skies seem a constant shade of grey and the temperature is dropping. I'm lucky; the winter blues don't usually set in for me until after New Year. I enjoy this lead up to October half term (I get to see my folks), Halloween (pumpkin carving and costume party), and Christmas (pyjama days and endless food).

But there are stresses in my life this year. Finances and uncertainty could be a major source of worry for me at the moment, as my partner has just emerged from full-time study and I must cover the shortfall in living costs while he looks for work. This is something I was extraordinarily on edge about before I escaped for a while. I'm taking a much more philosophical view of it now, and coming to terms with the fact that this is something I can't do anything about, and therefore it's pointless for me to worry.

There are a few things I've been doing which seem to be helping fend off this particular anxiety. 

1. Cross stitch.
I'm at risk of becoming old before my time, but there is something extraordinarily meditative about focusing on a cross stitch pattern. I can have quiet conversation at the same time, or listen to music. It soothes my mind and gives a focus to my attention that allows me to escape my everyday worries.

2. Avoiding hours at my computer when I'm at home. 
I'm a self-confessed internet junky, and spend waaaay too much time on my laptop mucking about on facebook, twitter, blogs etc. When I was on holiday, I didn't have access to any of these, and I didn't miss it at all. I often find that too much time at my computer (especially in the evenings or at weekends) disrupts my sleep, and stops me from fully relaxing. I've been making a real effort to spend time just sitting and reading, and did a good five hours of this on Saturday. 

3. Keeping busy.
Ok, so it's a fortuitous time of year for me, as I have a few work trips planned which will be taking up my weekends, but I've also managed to schedule in a visit to see my parents this weekend, and some fun social engagements. Not to mention the beginning of the good season of cinema in the lead up to the Oscars, starting with Skyfall this Friday! In fact, my calendar looks pretty booked up until I go to New York at the start of December (five and a half weeks and counting).

This is just what's been working for me. Do you have good tips to fend off winter worries?

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