Your suggestions for beating those bleak midwinter blues ....

.... were just great! This mini-series on how to alleviate the dreadful January blues has been extremely helpful - to me and, it seems to you lots of you too.  And here we are, almost half way through January already.  How has it been for you?

Many of us can sometimes have those SAD feelings at this time of year: so we've looked at making Resolutions that energise us, living as well as we dare, getting enough sleep (or hibernating!) and realising that lots of hugs and cuddles can have a very salutary effect upon us - as well as being rather fun sometimes. At least three hugs a day!

Then there is the summer to look forward to - planning a trip, and especially, planning a Pilgrimage, to walk the Via Francigena in Tuscany! A vacation with a difference  - led by my husband and me; and already one week is nearly fully booked! Come too?

And the ideas keep coming. Today a friend sent me this great link to the gift of sleep, by Julie Ackerman Link in Daily Bread. Julie writes:

I’m sometimes tempted to believe that the work I do when I’m awake is more important than the work God does while I sleep. But refusing God’s gift of sleep is like telling Him that my work is more important than His. If we do not come apart and rest awhile, we may just plain come apart.

Oh yes.  That's me.

I loved the idea of special things to do at this time of year, from Sarah:

I read on a blog somewhere ideas for establishing routines/traditions that you do ONLY during the dark winter months — enjoying the season for what it is. The two ideas that I can recall at the moment are stringing white twinkle lights on your mantel and turning them on as soon as you get home (or when it turns dark) and routinely dining by candlelight. Very cozy, which sounds like a good theme for January!

We love cozy!  And lovely scents - 

Another beat-the-January-blues idea — buying special hand cream/lotion/soap, scented candles, bath salts, etc., in scents that are pleasing and cozy — and use them only in the winter months (and it so happens that post-Christmas is a good time to get them on sale!). I think this goes along nicely with the “live as well as you dare” theme! 

And Joy (from Words of Joy) wrote about hugging:  I am one of life’s huggers. My friends and family willingly submit to my embraces –others I allow time to get to know me and relax about it first!  Cuddling, hugging and embracing are all symbols of our love and care for others. They enhance life emotionally if not by years. Consider yourself ‘virtually hugged’, Penelope!

And what not to do?

On the list of things NOT to do can you please add: lounging in front of the TV watching indiscrimately any daft old program at the same time as munching on junk food and drinking too much alcohol.. very bad habit to get into but easy to fall into this trap in the Winter evenings..  So one vote for enjoying countryside and writing poetry and a NO vote for tv !

So there's a choice - yours and mine, as Mandy wrote:

It is a conscious choice and when I allow myself time for a hot bubble bath, pjs and bed at a sensible hour with a hot water bottle, it is so much better than when I listen to the lure of social media or reading just a little more. Thanks for the reminder that we only need to be who God calls us to be.

And perhaps the best comment?

I, and two little girls, are available for hugs whenever needed. 

Those two little girls are my granddaughters. They hug the best!

What are you doing to help alleviate the bleak midwinter? I have to admit I'm now cheating - I'm in Florida!