Beyond the Darkness of Twelfth Night

If you haven’t already taken down the tree and assorted decorations, then for many today will be the sad event of Twelfth Night!

That is this afternoon’s job for me. I always find it a bit of a downer. Perhaps I am part elf in my ancestral DNA, but it’s not something I look forward to.

My Granny would always point out that it was bad luck to have the decorations still up after the 5th of January. And this is a tradition we continue to this day. Supposedly, from a quick search, a few sources suggest that disobeying the belief or superstition would lead to problems with the crops and harvest for the year ahead. We are fortunate to not have to grow and forage for our food nowadays to survive, but I won’t take the risk! Superstitions are funny like that...thank you to my Grannies!

It got me thinking about the aftermath of clearing away the Christmas paraphernalia and cleaning the house.

There is some elation that always comes with a feeling of cleanliness and tidiness. And that realisation that maybe we don’t have to move after all as the house is bigger than we remember!

But once that subsides, the fact remains that we are still in January. A dark month, after overindulging and the merriment of the joys of Christmas. Perhaps there are a few of the last bits of assorted chocolates and selection box remnants but it’s not as exciting now. Particularly with New Year good intentions to have better and healthier habits!

I was fortunate to live and work in Stockholm, Sweden, which is even darker than my native North East of England. It would be pitch black as I cycled to work, and the same on the return home.

Something that I picked up on from the Swedes is that despite Christmas decorations disappearing, there would still be, where possible, the use of light. And to good effect.

Candles would be burning in doorways and in different rooms. Candelabra would shine brightly in windows. The warmth from these would bring some much-needed cheer.

In the building where I worked, it was no different. We would also do our best to get outside during the lunch break for some rays and conversation.

It is only more recently that I had learned from a friend – Neina Sheldon – about light nutrition, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and our need for vitamin D. She wrote a great article here.

So, as I write this, with the hail beating down, savouring my coffee (another Swedish favourite!) I encourage you to be more Swedish this January!

Put the lights on picture frames or snaking up the stairs. Get some candles on and make your place as cosy, warm and as uplifting as possible. And make sure to get outside for some light and fresh air!

As we enter another national lockdown here in the UK, I think that we can all use every little bit of help to feel more positive, optimistic and really ‘at home’ where we will be spending lots of time.

Is there anything else that works for you?

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