I bet I’m not the only one who sometimes heaves a sigh of relief when an evening’s plans are cancelled. Wintertime especially can be a tough time for leaving your home.
Once the curtains are drawn, the heating’s on, and you’re perhaps snuggled up with your pets or family it can be a real effort to have to think about showering and getting ready to venture out again into the cold and rain. Hardly surprising so many of us want to hibernate throughout winter.
In addition, after Christmas many of us will be needing to budget due to a shortage of cash. A recent survey has revealed that a third of families have borrowed to finance Christmas and it can take up to three years to pay it back. It can seem like forever until the January pay cheque is due.
Then there are those people who are planning their next holiday and are starting to save up. All valid reasons why January can be a long cold month for many people. But going out often only requires that we make the effort and turn up. Being sociable doesn’t always necessitate much expenditure and can be a great way to support us throughout those long winter months.
Why not make the effort and turn up!
– Visit friends. Even if you’re simply calling round for a coffee it’s good to make the effort to keep in touch. There are lots of ways to enjoy each other’s company, perhaps by sharing photos, anecdotes, some of your music collection. A little imagination can go a long way.
– Invite friends to yours. It’s always good to have a reason to tidy the house! Suggest supper. Cheese and biscuits, a simple pasta dish or casserole is often a welcome meal. Guests will often offer to bring something. Let them contribute and you can reciprocate when you go to theirs.
– Be proactive. Start a book club, where each person takes their turn to suggest a book for the group to read and discuss. Have a games evening. Cards, board games and quiz evenings are often such good fun that they’re continued well into the year. Or a pamper evening where ‘the girls’ make the effort and turn up with their beauty products, perhaps bringing a bottle, in order to enjoy catching up.
– Consider a training course. It’s good to stretch ourselves and get out of our comfort zone. Use the opportunity to improve yourself, and commit to doing something you’ve been thinking about for a while. Exams don’t have to be a factor, just make the effort and turn up regularly so you can learn a new skill. It could well be a stimulating use of your time.
– Get outside. Going for a walk or run either with friends or alone can be a positive investment in your fitness and boost your daylight exposure. Exercising with friends or family can be an important way of connecting through conversation, competition and shared activity. Turn up for a regular walk in nature, a game of football or a beach run and enjoy ways of having some precious ‘me time’ or ‘us time’, away from the home, the TV and the distractions of chores, homework and technology.
And most times when we do make the effort and turn up the result is fun, where we’re glad we pushed ourselves to go. In fact, those reluctant, unplanned evenings are often the best times. There were no real expectations or we perhaps made only a minimal effort to get ready and dress up. They’re the times that often work out to be the most satisfying and rewarding of all.
It’s also the case that sometimes we’ll make an effort and turn up but it won’t be such a brilliant evening. All’s not lost. We can still enjoy each other’s company and nurture our friendships. Rather than feel disappointed or that we’ve wasted our time we can learn to relax and go with the flow.
Consider those times to be an investment in having a more laid back approach, chatting and laughing together and allowing the evening to move at its own pace. When you decide to make the effort and turn up it can bring its own satisfaction and reward.
Susan Leigh, counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She’s author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.