A cosy autumn and winter at home
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. Things are good here in Oxford. I’m welcoming the cooler weather, the glorious autumn colours and spending time at home. I love meeting friends and enjoying the hustle and bustle of the city, so I’ve had to adapt to a slower, quieter pace of life. I’ll admit it hasn’t always been easy!
2020 has taught me many things. It has provided the space to contemplate what matters. There are lots of things I’ve missed and even more that I haven’t. The pandemic has shown me that we can’t go on as we have and after watching Extinction: The Facts and David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet, I’m more determined than ever to do everything I can to protect our beautiful planet.
The news that we probably have another six months of Groundhog Day hit me hard. I was hoping that the coronavirus would burn itself out over the summer, enabling us to embrace the freedom we once enjoyed. After a couple of days of denial, I dusted myself off and jotted down five things to help me over the coming seasons. A messy first draft that I can adapt as and when I need to.
1. Welcoming a little more structure
This has been a year of drifting. I knew I needed time and space to make sense of what was happening in the world, and I didn’t want to implement a schedule when things were continually changing.
I’m feeling quite different now. The fog has lifted, and I’m welcoming a little more structure to my days. To support me, I’ve created an ongoing weekly schedule that includes my regular coaching sessions, my commitments like Sunday morning coffee with my family on Zoom, and a few new habits, such as a regular meditation practice. I’m enjoying seeing my week beautifully mapped out in front of me: a fragment of certainty when I’m feeling adrift.
2. Making space for the things I love
My new weekly schedule includes some white space which I plan to fill with whatever I’m being drawn to. At the beginning of the year, I wrote about how to identify your passions and do more of what you love. This involves listing the things that are important to you, including those that are valuable for your happiness and wellbeing. I decided to draft a new list including the things I enjoy doing at home, as well as those that can be undertaken when socially distanced.
Near the top of my list is spending time in nature, for which I’ve been so grateful for this year. There’s something quite lovely about the simplicity of a woodland walk followed by lunch and a flask of tea ‘al fresco’ – or in the car if it’s raining! So, during autumn and winter (government guidelines permitting), I hope to do a lot more exploring in local forests and woodlands. I’m determined to make the most of this time rather than waiting for things to change.
3. Creating for the joy of creating
I don’t know about you, but the majority of my creativity is done with a goal in mind. I rarely create things simply for the joy of creating, which is a shame because I know how cathartic this can be. So, with more time at home, I would like to try some new crafts, starting with punch needle. My plan is not to worry about the final product but instead, focus on the joy of creating and the accomplishment of trying something new. If you have any crafty suggestions for me, please send them my way!
4. Embracing this time of growth
I love learning new things and being at home has allowed me to indulge this passion. I’ve attended webinars, watched documentaries and read books. It’s been helpful to focus my mind on learning rather than the news headlines and social media which are impossible to keep up with!
I’ve also enjoyed the delights of YouTube. I love to learn about people who are living inspiring lives off-grid, as well as those who embrace a minimal and sustainable life. A few favourite channels are Living Big in a Tiny House, Never Too Small and of course, TEDx Talks. With the evenings drawing in, I plan to continue to take advantage of these free resources. I’m happy to share the things I’ve found inspiring or thought-provoking if that would be of interest?
5. Enjoying every inch of my home
And finally, with my partner working from home and our lives becoming more home-centred, I made a few changes to our apartment. This involved reorganising, simplifying and decluttering to make sure we were getting the most out of our space. I also created a seating area in our sunny bay window – an uplifting place to enjoy my morning cuppa.
With the changing seasons, I plan to make a few further tweaks to embrace a cosy autumn and winter at home. I’m sure many of you are familiar with the term hygge, which according to the lovely Ingrid of That Scandinavian Feeling, means “a feeling of cosiness and contentment. Hygge is all about being comfortable and happy while enjoying the little things in life which sometimes can get overlooked.” I’d like to explore this concept to see what wisdom I can apply to my life and home, taking comfort and joy from the small everyday moments.
Making the most of this time
I hope you’re doing okay and if you’ve made some plans for the coming months, I hope they serve you well. There’s a lot we can’t control, but there’s also a lot we can, and as with everything that happens in life, we have a choice about how we respond to it. I’m planning to make the most of this time. I hope you do too.
‘Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.’ – Eckhart Tolle
I know we are all experiencing the pandemic differently. Please take whatever resonates with you and leave the rest behind. Take care and stay safe, everyone.
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