As we near the end of 2019, I thought I would share with you my list of 12 highlights of the year:
Amazing trip to Edinburgh in January, my first time in Scotland (not counting a coach trip to the port of Stranraer to catch a ferry to Northern Ireland)
My second Tap Dance Festival UK Winter Intensive in Salford in February – learnt loads and hung at lunchtime with a pal from my London class.
Realising that I need to get back into writing!
Sucking up my nerves to attend another tap improvisation workshop
Summer tap dance intensive in Covent Garden in July…although I only managed one day of three
A relaxing sunny beach weekend in Dorset, with delicious Thai food!
Northern Ballet’s Cinderella at the Sheffield Lyceum, also my first time in Sheffield
Being able to replace our horrible carpets at home with new carpet and wood-like flooring
DIY Farrow & Ball kitchen makeover
Rhythm of the Dance and Heartbeat of Home (Irish Dance shows)
Learning to play beginner’s level ukulele and performing at the end of term Christmas concert
Completing and passing 2 more modules of my HR course
Next year I would really like to attend some writing workshops and maybe try to get something submitted and published again (e.g. articles, reviews) like I did when I was a student. I’d also like to get a new job…
What were your highlights of 2019? What are your hopes for 2020?
When I was a teenager, I used to get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and would find I would get home from school in the dark Autumn and Winter months, lie down on the sofa and have ZERO energy to even get up to answer the phone, let alone tackle homework. I would dread the clock change every year.
Because of this, I made sure pretty much from then on to exercise or dance regularly during these darker months to keep my energy levels up and to just generally feel better and not let it get the better of me.
What is SAD? Also known as ‘Winter Depression’, the symptoms, according to the NHS include:
a persistent low mood
a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
To help others out there who find this time of year sapping, I’ve put together some survival tips:
If you work indoors, get outside into the daylight at lunchtimes or breaks as often as you can
Invest in a sunrise wake-up alarm clock to simulate a natural wake-up with warm, gradual light
Invest in a SAD lamp or light box
Take part in regular group exercise (e.g. tap dance, Zumba, spinning, running group). Group exercise will add a fun social element to your workout. Go, even when you don’t want to.
Try to eat plenty of fruit and dark green vegetables to boost your immune system. I’m also taking Vitamin C & Zinc supplements to ward off colds at the moment (especially with commuting on public transport!) I tried taking Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) last winter, but I didn’t really notice any effects. That might be different for you.
Stay hydrated – there’s so much heating on at the moment which can make you feel drowsy and dry
While it may be tempting to cosy up in candlelight when you get home in the evenings, if you want to get anything done, put the lights on full until nearer bedtime. Don’t let early sunset steal your day! (I have to say I am very sensitive to lighting and have many lamps and candles about the house).
Go for walks in the evenings – yes, even though it’s dark (don’t let the dark win!)
Have a regular bedtime
Put some things in the diary to look forward to – theatre trip, spa day, coffee with friends, family meet-ups, Christmas markets, carol concert, museum trip. On Saturday my SO, his sister and I went to see The Play That Goes Wrong in the West End, and I honestly haven’t laughed that hard in ages.
Let me know if you find these tips useful.
Do you have anything to add? What keeps you buoyed during the darker months?
I bought myself a mini light box this week to keep me awake and motivated at work in the afternoon during the dark winter months – BOOM! Let’s see if it works…
Speaking of light, my SO and I went to watch the fireworks at a local school on Saturday evening to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. Last year’s display was so good (way above our expectations of a primary school) so when this year’s display began it seemed a bit lame…but once it got going it was AMAZING! They also had a BBQ, so we enjoyed a burger and some tomato soup, oh and a cup of mulled wine!
Yesterday our systems all went down at work, including internet and phones, so after sitting around for a while and finding out that it could be 4 hours until IT diagnose the problem before even attempting to fix it, we all abandoned ship and went home. I got home by 1pm after a quick stop by the vet to pick up flea treatment for my cat, and had some lunch while seeing if I could log into my work system – nope! (Actually, we couldn’t log in again until gone 4pm). So, what did I do?
Topped up a plant in my front ‘garden’ with special compost supplied at the weekend by the inlaws
Raked leaves off the lawn ready for Wednesday collection
Did a ballet workout dvd which was extremely taxing on the thighs! (Aiming to do this again tonight)
Had a relaxing hot bath while watching a couple episodes of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (old Melissa Joan Hart series, not the new Netflix one LOL)
Unblocked the gunked up sink plug hole in the bathroom
Made a spicy bolognese sauce
And then a bit of actual work once I could log into the system again!
I’m going to try and keep up the ballet workout as much as I can to build up the muscles around my knees, which have been suffering a little with my rhythm tap practice. I also need to get my core back in shape too, and ballet is definitely an ALL-OVER body toner. After swimming at the spa last Thursday, I’d quite like to get back into swimming on Friday lunchtimes, but it might be one thing too many at the moment.
In the meantime, roll on Thursday’s advanced beginners tap class!