Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Monday, September 28, 2020

Staying happy in an unhappy world


Iris rainbow, staying happy in an unhappy world, mandy charlton photography blog, photographer, blogger, newcastle upon tyne

It's hard staying happy in an unhappy world and the world we're in right now really isn't all that happy.  There are 94 days left of this year and I spoke about this on my Instagram over the weekend, it could be the saddest and most challenging 3 months of our lives, Coronavirus, climate change, Donald Trump, Boris and his conservative cronies, Brexit, my daughter being at Uni, only in Durham but not allowed to see me because she's in a new household, not seeing friends or even Looby nearly enough...

I could go on, it's just not a happy time but I don't think being unhappy is good for my psyche, it's bad enough that SAD is coming and this year due to hyperparathyroidism I can't take any vitamin D3, nor can I escape to a sunshiny place and let's not even start on the uncertainty of my photography business due to the restrictions.

Truly 2020 sucks and I cannot wait for 2021 but I have to stay happy, it's too easy a decline into bad mental health.

What is the answer?

What is the answer?  I'm not entirely sure but I know that in the last 3 months of the year good things do happen.  Let's start with the biggest thing to get excited about, Christmas!  Anyone who knows me or has followed me on social media anywhere in the last 15 years will know just how much I love Christmas, I am the Queen of Christmas and this year, I think we're going to have to go extra big on Christmas to deflect all of the collective sighs of the world.  

How to spend Christmas Day alone

At this point, it looks like I'm going to be totally alone on Christmas Day and I can't even have an open house, my support bubble all have their own families and the girls will be together with their paternal relatives, it feels like a tragedy but I'm thinking that TV will be wonderful, I can eat and drink what I want and to prepare for that I'm going to build myself a hamper of treats (like this one I just found at M&S) just for me with everything I love, maybe books, pamper stuff, chocolates, Gin (that's obvious), Champagne, maybe a new lovely throw to wrap myself in.  It's the best way I can think of to cope with the day and hopefully I will be able to see both of my daughters on Boxing Day when we'll pretend it's Christmas Day again.  Maybe we'll have the rule of 6 back by then and I'll be able to have friends over, I can hope...

Embrace Autumn


It's autumn in just a couple of weeks the full splendour of autumn will be present in all of our parks and woodlands, natures last show before it goes into it's long winter slumber and this year we need to embrace the outdoors as much as possible as it's when Coronavirus is at it's least powerful so think woodland walks, flasks of hot chocolate, toasting marshmallows, making smores, leaf kicking, wearing wooly jumpers in bright colours and more importantly just enjoying the family or friends we can actually be with, I had Sunday lunch with my support bubble yesterday and it was bliss, I'd been in semi-lockdown before shooting 3 weddings to make sure I was as healthy and risk free as possible so I hadn't seen them for 2 weeks, it felt like an age and it was just lush to be there, I think if we can appreciate the small things, we're giving our mental health the best chance to come out of this relatively unscathed.

The cosy season

The cosy season is the best season in my humble opinion, I live for twinkly lights and candles, surrounded by cosy throws and tartan blankets, even though I redecorated my home this year it's still all revolves around making your home a cosy nest to protect you from the world and now is the time to feel like you're enveloped in a safe nest.  You could (like me) try some new craft Gins or open a bottle of the good wine (never the cheap wine, wine should be savoured and drank slowly), grab some artisan nuts (stop, it, cheeky) and maybe some strong crumbly cheese or maybe a charcuterie board and pop on your favourite movie (Moulin Rouge until I die) or explore the latest box sets.  Read books, play board games, make conversation with those you're with (if you don't live alone like me, I just talk to the pets).  See this season as though you're in a bubble (many of us are) and embrace pumpkin spice everything.

I'm sure I'll have more thoughts and oodles of Christmassy content over the next few months so do look out for my Christmas Gift Guide, my Foodies Gift Guide and my "12 Gins of Christmas" article.  Though I don't have all of the answers for staving off the loneliness or just getting through this awful time, hopefully having some ideas and putting our heads together, we can at least attempt to get through this supporting each other, checking in on each other and dare I say it (I hate it) Zoom Christmas parties are back on the schedule.
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