Outdoors; need to go out …

Wallowing in the grey and gloom that is typical November weather, watching from inside a house or flat, through windows, is all wrong. Yes, most of us can’t be out there all the time, the need to work where the wind and rain aren’t going to ruin whatever we’re doing, let alone the facilities of electricity and WiFi. And for those going to and from a workspace they are often doing this in the dark, both sides of the day. The beginnings of seasonal affective disorder. Even in ‘normal’ times as was, I found November more difficult than February which is usually thought to be the worst month of the year for depression.

A final flourish of summer

After the March lockdown which went on till the beginning of July, we were blessed with lovely weather, a sun that shone from an early dawn till late evening most of the time. I found myself going and staying outside as much as I could. Taking a book or computer to draw in as much fresh air and natural light as possible while I read or wrote. Being lucky enough to have a garden, I could follow sun or shade round my small patch, idly watch the birds and the sky. Is this what kept me sane? I sincerely think so. This is what so many experts et al have been telling us, it’s not new.

A scrap of blue

For those people who have been working from home since March and are still required to do so, I believe it’s been a mixed bag of reactions. No more the daily commute, extra hours to work or play, being able to fit that work around child care or exercise, welcomed. And I do remember driving to work in the dark and returning without having seen the sun is horrid. But what I’m finding now that I’m a ‘full-time’ writer, the need to go out and see people has become even more acute with lockdown. Is this going to be the same for those who eagerly embraced the working from home lifestyle?

A constant reminder

Confronted as we are now with months of weather that will be inhospitable to the outdoor lifestyle, I realise that I have to find a way to keep the grim feelings, the lethargy and general bad mood at bay. Which is where madness sets in. Pathetically or not I’ve taken to merely sticking my head out of the door or opening a window to hang my head out for a long sniff, and as often as possible going out there even when from inside it looks sad and unwholesome, decidedly unwelcoming. Even rain when you’re out there is not as bad as it looks from inside.

My advice?

Sticking your head out for a whiff of fresh air, I know, isn’t always successful. Windows that face onto roads breathe in fumes, the poisonous substances which are best kept out. Even in my small town garden I am close enough to shops and particularly takeaways to find the stale smell of Chinese or Indian floating into my space of a summer’s evening. But then I have to remind myself that I’m not a country woman; as often as not their air is overcome with the scents of the farmyard or fields, especially slurry.

How to keep cheerful

Iris reticulata nudging up

What am I saying? The outdoors, whether it be town, garden, park, streets or the larger countryside, is vital. Take in a breath of fresh air, watch the sky, note what’s under foot, all will hopefully calm, dislodge the anger and not allow despair to take over. And take a trip to that takeaway coffee shop for a cheery chat with the barista and come away clutching a carton of joy having shared that while waiting for a better future, life is crap!

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