“In the winter she curls up around a good book and dreams away the cold.” – Ben Aaronovitch
You have been out at work all day in the midst of winter. The day may not have been stressful, but your head is buzzing with the business of the day all the same. You leave to go home, and it is cold, dark and wet outside. You make your way home, perhaps through the rush hour traffic, perhaps via a bustling train full of tired commuters, or perhaps you are trudging home by foot.
You get through the front door of your home. The heat of the indoors hits you in the face, informing you of how cold it actually is outside. You turn and close the door. You are home. Time to begin your Winter night wind down.
1. Change Into House Clothes
The first thing I recommend you do is to change out of your work clothes. Personally, my work clothes are informal, yes, but also practical… and so, not especially comfortable. Fitted jeans and a button-up shirt are not the clothes I would wish to relax in, especially if I have been running around the city in them all day. If you work in an office and wear formal clothing to work, I imagine you might find it hard to relax in your work clothes as well.
Even since I can remember, I have always had designated house clothes to wear. Usually, it is a t-shirt, a pair of light trousers (sometimes pyjama bottoms) and a loose jumper, all earmarked specifically for wear in the house. This change is about comfort, but it is also to help my brain switch from work mode to leisure mode.
2. Wash Your Face
This is underrated, I think. Giving your face a good wash; removing the grime of the day and leaving it tingling and fresh is a great way to give yourself a little energy boost. As much as it is nice to slump straight onto a sofa as soon as possible after work, washing your face will give you a bit of a list so that you might enjoy your evening with a little more verve and lucidity.
3. Low Lighting
If possible, try and keep the vibe in your home calm. Soft lighting is a great way to do this. The cold of the outdoors, and often the brightness of offices and other workplaces can be intense. To help bring your mood into a softer place, try to keep stark lighting to a minimum. All of our senses require regulation, as they are all sensitive to stimulation. A warm house will help to relax your sense of touch, low lighting will help to relax your sense of sight.
4. Hot Drinks
Hot drinks are more than just a way to hydrate. I mean, if you are reading this and you are English, I need not reiterate the healing properties of a humble cup of tea to you. Hot drinks can warm you up from the inside when you are cold to the core. They can be used to show love for others. They will warm your hands. They give you an opportunity to be still for a moment, to ponder and exhale.
5. Calming Sounds
I always feel at my cosiest and calmest when I am in bed or under a blanket listening to the rain falling outside. White noise or chilled music are wonderful ways of making your home feel chilled and safe. They also help to occupy the spaces in your mind where there might be worry or anxiety.
6. Invest in a Really Nice Blanket
As well as keeping you warm and aiding the illusion of cosiness, blankets also help to dull worry and anxiety. A little weight on the body, a little light pressure, helps to connect us with the ground and to release all of those muscles that have become tighter throughout the day.
7. Know What Helps You
Regulating your wellbeing and staying resilient is helped enormously when you are conscious of both what triggers you and what calms you. Whatever your routine is when you get home after a busy day, whether in the Winter or the heights of Summer, make sure it is a routine that has been considered and offers you what you personally require to look after yourself.
By Chris Thomson
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