Let's look after each other this wintertime

And so to wintertime. In a year when the seasons seemed in a hurry to pass one another out, we reach the stage where the clocks go back, where darkness becomes our constant companion, there when we leave home in the morning, there to greet us in the evening.

It is as if we are cocooned inside a large tea-cosy — slowly descending, preventing us from living our lives the way we want to. Everything seems much more of an effort in winter. Roads and paths are slippery, getting out and about to do the things we want is more involved. The escapes that you create for yourself in summer and spring are temporarily sidelined.

And it is also a time when the most incredible bouts of sadness can descend upon the best of us.

When we were young, winter was a time when we were nurtured, when we gathered around the fire, when we marvelled at the first sight of televisions that brought us all a communal wonder.

And when family members pass away, it is in wintertime that we feel their passing the most. For anyone who has lost a loved one this year or any year, the first winter without that person can be very hard.

And because of that, and without key characters in your environment, winter can seem very unforgiving. Dark and wet outside, lonely on the inside. When your body and mind are under attack from the seasons. It would be ideal if we could all hibernate for the winter, but then again, we would miss all the potential wonder that it brings.

So this winter, let us cut each other a bit of slack — let out that car that's waiting at the crossroads, because everyone just wants to get home; hold open a door; smile at a stranger because your smile might be the first smile they've see that day. Combat the lack of daylight by grabbing a walk in the midday light.

And if you can't do that, rearrange your furniture so that you sit near a window and benefit from the ambient light. Ask someone how they are; tell someone how you are. Throw away the glow of the smartphone and talk to people; if you have children, get down on the floor and play games with them.

Reach out to people this winter and see what you learn about them and yourselves.

In just seven weeks time, the days will be getting longer again, and there will be the first shoots of extra light, the first signs of growth. We are but two months away from 2020 — a year that sounds like it is from science fiction. Let winter be a camp that we get through together, watching each other's back, being decent and nurturing.

Enjoy winter and do your bit to make sure everyone else does too. Don't forget to change that clock — and mind yourselves on the roads this bank holiday weekend.


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