From family support, fitness classes and learning to art exhibitions, festivals and talks, our activities are wide and far reaching.
I love Christmas. It has been, for as long as I can remember, my favourite time of year.
There's nothing I love more than coming home to my family each December, to share stories and laughter, to reflect on the year that has passed, to talk about hopes and dreams for the year ahead. Catching my closest friends in a big bear hug, to discuss which festivals we were going to begin planning for, which milestone birthdays we might book Ryanair flights for.
Christmas is unfortunately going to be a little different this year. Many of us won't see our family members. Perhaps we will miss our older or vulnerable relatives at the table. We may not see most of our close friends, as we do our best to adhere to restrictions, to help to stop the spread of coronavirus.
I am thankfully a naturally positive person, however, during the pandemic sadness that I have experienced, I have put a few rituals in place to help chase away the COVID blues. As London moves back into Tier 3, and a normal Christmas seems like a lifetime away, I wanted to share my tips for creating a little bit of happiness for yourself at such a strange and uncertain time.
1. Listening to music
Music is the main thing that has carried me through my sad days this year. I create happy playlists on Spotify, and I play them while I work, while I walk, shower, make breakfast, lunch, dinner. Here are ten of my ultimate happy songs:
2. Walking every day
I ensure I leave the house at least once a day to walk. My daily walk has been particularly important to my mental health over the past few months.
When I am stressed, or find myself becoming anxious, I leave the house for a stroll. Even just 35 minutes on my feet out in the fresh air calms me down and helps me to focus my thoughts. I am lucky to live in Stoke Newington, home to gorgeous Abney Park Cemetery and Clissold Park, my two main North London haunts.
Most days, I visit my local cafe, The Good Egg, to buy a hot chocolate to drink while I walk. It feels good to interact with the friendly staff while supporting a local business.
3. Diving into a good book
I am a big bookworm, and for me, there is nothing like a good book to help me break up the routine habit of staring at screens all day. I have read some absolutely stunning books in the past 12 months, particularly by black female authors, which I couldn't put down for a second. Please add them to your list:
4. Regular workouts
I use the Nike Training Club app for home workouts without equipment. It's a fantastic resource for strength workouts and yoga, and best of all, it's free!
I hope you can take a tiny piece of happiness away from this article.
Wishing you all a safe and wonderful Christmas.