Overcoming Winter Fatigue

It’s easy to feel exhausted in January, not least because of post-Christmas lethargy, the chilly weather, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. So, if you’re suffering from winter weariness, then this post is for you. Here are some tips I’ve picked up to help get your energy back and defeat winter fatigue.

  • Throw your curtains open as soon as you wake up and get as much light as you can during the day, as this will help you sleep and recharge. Also, get out in the open air as much as possible during the daylight hours.
  • Do the things that bring you joy, because the lack of positive vibes adds to stress and tiredness. Be as sociable as possible because isolation can also cause you to feel tired. Do what makes you smile, laugh, or simply feel good.
  • Be careful what you eat. Carbohydrates and sugar make you feel less lively and lead to fluctuating sugar and energy levels. Eat plenty of heathy foods and avoid fatty food during the evening as these interfere with sleep. Consider food supplements and vitamins, see here. An alcoholic nightcap might seem tempting, but this can interfere with sleep quality causing early waking.
  • Find your exercise sweet spot, do what you can and not what you can’t. Exercise is always beneficial, but beware overdoing it and making yourself more tired. Be sensitive to your body.

Other things that can help are staying hydrated, taking time to do breathing exercises (apps are available), and keeping a gratitude journal. All these things can help calm our minds, promote a positive mood, and enhance motivation.

We live in challenging times, but these are things we can do to help us cope.

Don’t make negative resolutions!

A lot of resolutions are framed as negatives. For example, your goal might be to reach a certain weight, but the focus is then on the loss of weight, rather than the gain of health and fitness. Another resolution could be to stop being so late for things, but it might be more effective to think of it as starting to be on time more often. Source

Don’t set yourself up for failure, make positive resolutions.

Another helpful tip is to break long-term goals down into smaller ones. For example, don’t set a resolution to run a marathon if you’ve never run in your life, even though it can be done. Break it down into smaller chunks, think about running 5km first.

Let’s all have a happy and positive new year!

28/06/20 Shaping the Future

white socks on white paper

This is my final Sunday message before I retire in a few days time. Technically, I’m on holiday, but I’ve been pleased to share these weekly thoughts during June.

I mentioned at my welcome in 2015 that moving to Wallsend was more than just a new chapter in my life and ministry as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ, it was a whole new section of the book. I’d married Naomi the previous year and we arrived with Freddy who was three months old. I now leave to retire with our completed family, Matilda and Pollyanna having been born during our time here.

At a time of change we naturally think about making a fresh start, sorting things out, reflecting on how we can do things better, and taking positive steps into the future.

Although the future is unknown, we can play our part to make it a better place. It has to start today, because the only place we can live is in the present. It’s said that there’s no time like the present. So, if we want to shape the future, we need to start today.

We don’t need a special occasion, or a time of change, even though it often helps. We can take positive steps that will help shape the future of our own individual lives and that of others at any time.

Let me share some lovely words by Denise Brine with you:

Father God, I seek your guidance,
For I have a part to play
In the shaping of tomorrow
By the way I live today.
Take my hopes, my dreams, my passions,
Take my strength, my weakness too.
Shape my life; fulfil your purpose;
Start today; make me like you.

If I want to shape tomorrow
Then I need to start today,
Seeking, Lord, a revelation
Of your will and of your way.
If my passions, prayers and lifestyle
Are the witness people see,
Do I need a reformation
Of your Kingdom-life in me?

My todays will shape tomorrow!
Does that prospect please your eyes?
Are there changes that must happen?
Are there faults to recognise?
Shape me as seems best to you, Lord,
Start today, and help me see
That tomorrow will be better
When your life is seen in me.

David (in Psalm 51) prays in verse 10: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. The Message paraphrase words it in a very interesting way: God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Matthew Henry suggests that David is praying, Lord, fix me for the time to come.

Life isn’t easy for many people today, especially with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic. We need to be there for them and for each other. We can share the best of humanity, as well as the love of God, by small acts of kindness to others. A simple smile, an offer of help, a genuine word of encouragement, beautiful actions of love.

We are pilgrims on a journey,
We are [together] on the road,
We are here to help each other,
Walk the mile and bear the load,

I will hold the Christlight for you,
In the night-time of your fear,
I will hold my hand out to you,
Speak the peace you long to hear.

May that prayer be answered in each of our lives as we daily move into an unknown future, but one into which we can all take a hopeful and positive contribution.

To Do List For Any Year

20181231_093941

I had a burst of creative energy before settling down last night, so I scribbled all my thoughts in a notebook and added to them (or amended them) several times before finally getting off to sleep. They were inspired by a number of negative things I had read or seen during the day. These are all things we can all do at any time to make the world a better place, read them below in a more coherent and better-organised list (along with some later additions).

Build bridges, not walls.

Seek to understand others.

Talk to someone of faith, another faith, or no faith.

Visit a mosque, synagogue, or another place of worship.

Talk to someone of a different political persuasion.

Listen to children.

Don’t define others by their race, colour, gender, sexuality, disability, physical/mental health condition, faith/no faith, or politics.

Visit a food bank or refugee charity.

Value everyone.

Celebrate and embrace difference.

Value cooperation.

Question everything.

Challenge fake news.

Value integrity.

Oppose all injustice, stand up for truth.

Be less judgemental.

Encourage others.

Understand mental health better.

Forgive willingly.

Say sorry easily and quickly.

Love unconditionally.

Be generous in spirit.

Smile more and talk to strangers.

Make a difference where you are.

Hold on to hope.

Be positive.

Please feel free to add suggestions to my list.