How To Be a Sunshine Machine

The clocks have gone back, someone (or some squirrel) threw a half eaten apple over my wall yesterday, and the commute now involves an extra step of layering and de-layering with various woollies as I get on and off my bike and the train.
Keeping warm, snuggly and functioning is a big part of adjusting to this season. The cold and dark are both sudden presences which call for us to react.
It’s a good default position. 
But this is Self Curious and we choose going further. 
Let’s ask: What’s missing?
Sunshine. Warmth. Light
What can we choose to bring these life-enhancing qualities into our winter selves? We already have quite a lot of answers: fairy lights, cinnamon, beanie hats, hygge… I mean, the short answer is basically ALL OF CHRISTMAS.
These things are all prompts to feel comfort in darkness and cold moments. We use versions of it as self care in summer, too: light a candle, have a hot bath, be a duvet-and-Netflix burrito.
But if we peel back a cosy layer there’s a deeper side to it all too. We know what things bring in sunshine in winter. What are the hows?
What are the things that show light, and that make us feel like the sun is shining on our face? I think we need those too, in order to avoid giving up and hibernating with an enormous box of Celebrations for the next four months.
Here are some of the things which occur to me – and we are all individual, so think about your own too:
1) Showing gratitude – write a list, thank a friend or colleague or stranger or barista.
2) Smiling at people – I’m a culprit for sullen resting face so am usually a receiver more than a giver of this. Instant sunshine.
3) Moving at the pace your body needs for a short while – sometimes slower, sometimes faster. Hint: it’s not usually the pace you want to go. 
4) Taking initiative. Someone might need you to take the lead and show them where the light can shine through. 
5) Talk. Or if you don’t want to talk, go somewhere that you can mindfully be among people. Walk in the park, smile at dogs being walked, buy takeout from the cafe so you can smile and say thank you to the person who has served you something toasty. 
So: if you know you don’t need another big jumper but are at a loss as to where to find your cosy fix without hitting the shops, try a how rather than a what. I wish you sunshine! 

Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing.

Claire’s TEDx talk about barriers to performance for exceptional women kicked off the 2017 TEDxWhitehallWomen event in London.

Claire writes a weekly blog, Self Curious, on NPW’s website.

You can read more #NPWSelfCurious blogs here and find out more about Claire herself here.




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