The winter can be hard for anyone. Getting out of bed, it’s dark, by the time you get to work dawn is just breaking, but then as you walk back to your car after the day, it’s closing in again.
As a creative person, I find this particularly difficult. To be creative I need to be well rested and optimistic, but the darkness and the cold weather can make both of these things as a struggle.
Here are a few things I’m doing this year to help myself remain creative through the darkness.
1. Try to be in the light as often as possible.
Even though it’s not light for that long, it’s sometimes lovely outside – those bright days when it’s cold but the sky is blue and the sun is bright. When it’s like that I’ve been trying, just for a few minutes, to get out in it.
You could park your car a few minutes from work, or get off at the previous bus stop, walk (rather than drive) to the local shop – anything to get a few minutes exercise with the sun and the wind against your skin.
2. Lightbulb moment
The feeling of lethargy associated with this time of year, for me anyway, is to do with the light. To counter that I’ve changed the bulbs in the lamps around my workspace to brightest “day white” ones I could find. It feels so much better to be working in a place that feels bright.
3. Change your routine
Routine and habits are so important for creativity, I need them to get anything done. But you also have to know you’re not creating in a vacuum and are affected by what’s happening around you. It’s alright to change these routines for a couple of months if they’re not working for you right now.
4. Where possible, don’t fight it
That tiredness in the darkness is totally natural. A couple of hundred years ago – a very short time in an evolutionary sense, no one would have got up before sunrise. That’s what humans have been doing for millennia – it’s only since the invention of electric lights and the industrial revolution that people have worked to shift patterns dictated by hours rather than daylight.
With that in mind, know that you’ll be a little less productive.
I’ve made a note in my diary for next year to remind myself not to book in any large extra projects during this time.
Do you find you’re affected by the cold and dark?
Have you found anything that works to counter this?