a millen-gordon guide to… combatting the winter blues head-on

5th January 2023
Struggling with the post-Christmas come down? Here's how I combat the winter blues head-on...

The trees are down. The house feels bare. Alas! The post-festive blues are starting to rear their ugly head…

I don’t know about you but for as long as I can remember, I’ve found winter post-Christmas a somewhat tricky season to navigate. On the one hand, I’m relishing in the clean slate that it offers us all. The cosiness that comes hand-in-hand with long winter nights and no plans. And how simple and stripped back every bare surface in the house feels now that the garlands and festive foliage have gone into hibernation.

There’s no denying however that I absolutely love December (!) so as much as I try to relish in the good stuff, in previous years, winter blues have often seeped in.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share my new year go-to’s – my cosy comforts and top tips if you will – that always help to remind me why this time of the year is so special in the hope that they provide some comfort for you too. 

If you happen to be feeling the same way, that is…

winter blues

Carve out time to listen to a motivational audiobook…

I shared my motivational must haves in this post last January but there’s something about a frosty January dawn spent listening to a motivational audiobook that fills me with optimism and hope for the year ahead. Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat was a complete game changer for me this time last year, so I highly recommend starting there if you haven’t listened to it already.

On this topic, I bought Ali an annual Audible membership for Christmas in 2021 and we’ve both said that it’s made self-development so much more accessible. If you’re constantly on the move or fancy some company on your morning strolls, my husband and I highly recommend it.

Curl up with a (fictional) book for the ultimate escape…

Given that my social calendar in January is a tad less wild, instead of pining for sparkles and festive parties once been, I’ve come to relish in an evening with me, myself and a book. When it comes to fiction, nothing beats curling up in front of the fire with Porcini and losing myself in a well-written paperback. Right now, that’s Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. If you’re a hopeless romantic/ love a good murder mystery it’s well worth a read.

Invest in new candles…

You all know how much I look forward to lighting The White Company ‘Winter’ candle on the run up to Christmas. So much so that it’s almost become a tradition in itself! But call me crazy, even though we’re technically in winter until the end of February, lighting it now feels wrong somehow. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to hunt down the perfect scent for the season that combines the cosiness of winter with the fresh start we’re all seeking… and I find myself returning to Daylesford’s Tomato candle once again. Not only does it make me feel grounded as soon as it’s lit but I now get to associate January with a gorgeous scent too!

Fern, baby, fern!

Christmas trees might be a think of the past but that doesn’t mean that seasonal foliage needs to disappear completely. If you hadn’t already noticed, I think I developed a mild addiction to ferns last year… and I’m off to the garden centre this week so plan to stock up once again! Potted in these Esschert Design terracotta pots that I found on Amazon, they fill the Christmas-tree-shaped hole that is left in my heart when the decorations came down (too much?!) and add a bit of colour to the otherwise bare surfaces in the house.

combat winter blues

Embrace the winter nights

Over the past few years, instead of berating winter’s darkness, I’ve tried to embrace the lack of light that comes hand-in-hand with this time of year. One of my easiest methods? Simply tucking into bed that bit earlier each night so that I can get a good night’s sleep and be up in time to watch the sun rise across the fields. Since New Year, Ali and I have become quite militant about 9pm bed times with that in mind (don’t get me wrong, we’re not asleep by 9pm but we try to be tucked up by then). I’ve been spritzing Sanctuary Spa’s Sleep Mist which instantly calms me down pre-sleep. Oh, and my new, cosy blankets from Highgrove piled up on the duvet help too!

Update the tablescape decor

You should know me well enough by now to know that whilst I’m happy for the rest of the house to look a tad naked post-Christmas, the dining room table will never not be adorned with pretty things! With that in mind, as soon as the Christmas decor returned to the attic, I went down a Pinterest hole looking for tablescape inspiration for January. Along with the ferns that I plan to pot in a few days (did I mention that I love ferns!?) I dig out my nature-inspired table linens to refresh the dining space. In my humble opinion, the oak leaf print napkins from Bertioli are the perfect print for this weird transitionary period we find ourselves in at present and are timeless so well worth the investment.

Did someone say brushed cotton?

Updates don’t always have to be lavish – ferns cost around £2.99 for some context – but it wouldn’t be my ‘cosy comforts’ list if a pair of pyjamas didn’t feature at some point would it?! Whilst I’m still on the hunt for a pair of British-made, 100% brushed cotton pyjamas that I love, I ordered this brushed cotton, tartan pair from Amazon a few days back and can safely say that they’ve made my evenings that bit cosier. With that in mind, however tempting it is to dream about hot summer days at this time of year, finding the excuse to snuggle up each night in beautiful loungewear is the perfect daily reminder to embrace each season in all of its glory. Looking for something a tad more boujee?! Karen Millen’s cashmere loungewear set is sheer heaven, too. 

Wrap up and head outdoors

Finally, embrace the cold and get outside! If like me, you’re mostly working from home at present, it’s all too tempting to look out of the window in January and talk yourself out of leaving the house. I mean let’s face it, whilst we’ve been blessed with some beautiful, frosty mornings in recent weeks, we’ve also had our fair share of miserable days tinged in nothing but brown! That being said, daily walks with Ali and Porter ground me year round so when it comes to combatting any kind of blues, a crisp walk will always be my go-to. I swear by a good Field Coat to make sure that I’m dressed the part (Anything by Holland Cooper, Schoffel or Purdey gets my seal of approval) and always order two sizes up so that I have room for extra layers!

So there you have it! The list is in.

Whether your year’s off to a flying start or your struggling to get going, I hope this list helps in some way, shape or form.
Lydia xx

PS. Interested in my tips for finding motivation? Take a look at this post that I shared this time last year…

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