Once the Christmas decs are stored for another year, we often face the coming months feeling worn out and hard up. But this is a creative time of year, a time of beginnings and fresh starts. We could be taking this time to reconnect with our homes, for some—without the distraction of an inflatable Santa, and go easy on ourselves.
We can always throw ourselves into home projects once the light starts creeping back at the end of February. In the meantime there’s some much-needed nurturing that we can treat ourselves to, that doesn’t revolve around a scary budget. And which will make us feel good during the dark and the cold.
In this context meaning embrace home ‘as it is’. Unless you’re travelling for an extended period during the Winter, January possibly isn’t the best time to have the roof of the house off, while a loft extension is being built; or the back of the house off for the extension. BBQs are a long way off.
January can be more about the experiences you have in your home, rather than carrying out work that could make you more uncomfortable within it. However, if you’re missing the colour that Christmas brought to your place, think about doing a little painting, even if it’s just a corner. It ups the colour without breaking the bank, and can completely change the mood of a room.
This may be the perfect time of the year to nurture yourself with a new sleep routine.
Before the rise of electricity, the Victorians would go to bed when the sun disappeared. Typically falling asleep at 7pm. They would sleep for around 5 hours and then wake up. The next hour or so would be dedicated to chores around the house and relaxing before settling down for a second round of sleep.
There’re even accounts of friends and family holding suppers and meetings in the middle of the night.
Maybe this was a thing in Walthamstow where the Warner homes so effectively built communities. The nighttime meetings of the Victorians aren’t very documented, if you have further info, we’d love to hear from you.
The equivalent in 2023 would be to go to bed earlier, something many of us struggle with. If this sounds familiar, how’s your bedroom?
Do you have a lot of high shelving? Storage boxes? Blue light screens? Hanging clothes? Clutter? All these can make it difficult to relax. Whereas an emptier, simpler bedroom can get your brain into sleep mode quicker than the words ‘separate dressing room’.
Time to break open the candles you got for Christmas, or use the ones you ended up keeping! If there’s one simple trick to beautifying a room, calming your thoughts and making a space feel cosy, it’s lighting a candle.
Don’t keep them for friends visiting, or the bath. Light up, light up and treat yourself.
Bring textures into your home to help you feel grounded. Visiting the coast? Bring home some stones. Walking in Epping Forest? Collect some seed pods and grasses, these only work in the Winter, and can look dramatic and architectural in the home.
And of course, go for a walk, whatever the weather, and even if you don’t have a dog.
Regularly getting outside for a bracing 30 minute walk in natural light, increases your stores of vitamin D, boosts your immune system and gives your body a burst of endorphins.
Let’s look after ourselves and our neighbours (maybe not in the middle of the night though), and bit by bit, the light will soon return.