Location: Culcheth, Warrington, England
My favourite time of year has finally rolled around, and with melty hot chocolates, blankets and TV shows and weekend visits to farms and festivals, I am in the full swing of Autumn! After jetting off to Ghana back in January, and arriving home as Spring begun, I've actually been craving cold weather and the chance to wrap up with a scarf and mittens. This year has been a strange year for me, I've felt unusually overwhelmed about turning twenty-three and posed the question "what am I actually doing with my life" far more times than I care to admit. It's taken a lot of months of hard work and hard thinking to figure out what it is exactly that I do want and how to put my plans into action. Although I'll admit, I'm quite excited for 2016 to just be done and dusted, there're three things to keep me going.
Plan A Productive January
There's no doubt about it, January has the potential to be massively depressing. The fantastic build up of excitement that has spanned for months has suddenly vanished with a bang like a pulled cracker, Christmas has been done, dusted and swept away and your bank account is probably suffering. It can all get a bit heavy, and it doesn't help that the sun barely shows its face through this long month either. Instead of waiting until Christmas is 'out of the way' before moving on to January, it's better to think about exactly what you want out of a brand new year. I'm not talking no 'New Year, New Me' crap, but I definitely want to put some dedicated me-time into my brand new calendar, so that when the time comes I can avoid the January blues.
Eat Good, Then Eat Better
Now I don't know about you, but when December 1st rolls in I just feel like eating, and eating, and eating. The beloved Christmas markets offer tasty, often fried, but incredibly moreish foods at every turn, hot chocolates topped with cream and marshmallows become a weekly occurrence, and the normal everyday chocolates and cakes that usually wouldn't concern you too much are suddenly turned into penguin and snowman shapes, beckoning you with their Christmas-themed packaging. Then Christmas week arrives, and it's cheese boards and Quality Streets galore, alcohol in the afternoon is deemed acceptable ("go on then, pop the bottle of champagne for tea, it's Christmas!") and Christmas dinner is an all-you-can-eat roast dinner buffet. Desserts are plenty, and even Boxing Day and the days that follow are filled with Turkey butties and the hundreds of leftover Bounty chocolates from the bottom of the Celebrations box. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all, but in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I really need to make sure I give my body a good detox and eat well because I sure as Hell ain't going to once I've popped open my advent calendar.
For my own personal reasons, I've found this year hard, but ever the optimist, it could have been a whole lot worse. I've had a lot of adventures, a few tough experiences that have really helped me grow as a person, and a few people in my life who have stood by me. I have my health and I have a safe place, I have good food in my belly and nice clothes on my back. I have a purpose, people I love and people who love me, and it's the perfect opportunity at this time of year to look back and think about what you've achieved, giving thanks for what you have. This year, I want to make sure the people close to me have a great Autumn and an incredible Christmas, and I want to say thank you to them for helping me to feel so blessed this year. So my last goal is to ensure I don't spend the last weeks of a bad year getting down about it, but look to the future, the people that care and the positives, and realise just how lucky I truly am.
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