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January is the new April. Saturday January 2, 2016

Well hello January! We have not often been friends but I am going to love you like never before. We will treat each other in a new way. We might date. We might see if we can find common ground. We will keep each other company in a civil and courteous way and you will then speak to February and ask if I might have time off for good behaviour. (February and I fell out badly and it may never be mended. February leaves incendiary devices around and it's time it ended.) How will this new relationship happen?

1. I will be walking along the beach once a week. Yes, it's a little further away than nearby but it's only once a week for 4 weeks, and the energy it gives me might just be the nectar that is needed. I might eat food there regardless of weather.

2. I will be on a 4 week schedule of sleep, early to bed, early to rise. The nervous system is replenished only between 10pm and 2am so I will need to be sending up big zeds BY 10pm.

3. There is no three. I am going to give all energy to just those two. I just like having a 3 item list.

Would anyone care to join me?

Love from

The room above the garage.
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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patricia Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 5:34am

I see you're up early like me been at the computer since about 2pm couldn't sleep. Still caught up on some letters which is good. Yes I'll try and get down the beach more often we only live a mile away, so there's no excuse. When we lived in Somerset we would think nothing of driving 20 miles after work in the summer just to see the sea, mind you we were that much younger, so yes willl try.
Perhaps I could call myself the bedroom above the garage, no you're clever to think of it first, like your style, do like your blog. thanks.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:03pm

Hello Patricia, most welcome. I do find enormous energy from a beach, its such a giver for me. Will think of you as I head there this week.

Wendy Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 7:27am

I loved your blog and your comment about having a 3 item list! From now on 3 item lists are the way forward for me! On my first 3 item list will also be creating a much healthier relationship to my sleep. Also very interesting the info on the timing of nervous system replenishment. For way too long now I have been completely sabotaging myself every night by not going to bed at a sensible hour and then finding myself still on the sofa in the were small hours having fallen asleep there. So I have decided to be a much better friend to myself by making sure I give my body the rest and sleep it needs and deserves. I started last night and got my first decent night in a month!

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:05pm

Brilliant! Being sluggish in the mornings is such a symptom of this thing we share and yet if we can rise early I do think it helps enormously. Many good sleeps to you!

Lex Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 7:55am

Sold... you've got a "Soldmate" on these ones! L'xx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:07pm

Be still my beating heart! <clasps chest dramatically> Love soldmate!!

Sally Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 8:32am

Joining you, the "ad" was excellent. Love the bit about sleep and the nervous system. Shall pin up somewhere for when I am tempted to get doing at unreasonable hours ! So well written, the playfulness really drew me in! Thanks, Ratg. A memorable one, this.
Back to a list for me too. 3 is a good number. :-)

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:10pm

Hello Sally, I used to write great big long lists (still do sometimes) but a short one is pretty sharp and maybe more achievable. Thank you, good to see you X.

Kate Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 8:47am

I love this offering today in the way that you link our experience of time as a relationship that we can either choose to build on or ignore. I too have an urge to walk on a beach and feel the doldrums within be blown out of me and down the shoreline and disappear. Beaches in winter do that sort of thing!

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:12pm

Hello Kate, yes! A winter beach, full of dramatic tales! I also adore feeling small problems feel tiny in the face of all that perspective.

Leah Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 9:45am

1.I will not make resolutions that I won't be able to complete!!
2. There is no 2
3. There is no 3.
4. Thanks for a thoughtful blog ratg.
5. I wonder if you would feel differently about January if it was in your summer like it is for me.
7. There is no 7 I just like making long lists!!
8.In my experience, months are very unreliable to date so approach with care.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:14pm

Leah, I love this and I'm so intrigued about number 6!! You've made me laugh!!

Sue Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 9:47am

I loved your blog and your list. I am fortunate to live near the sea and love walking the beach in the winter when it's deserted and the weather can be thrilling. Money is tight so I often take a flask and sandwiches and sit in a shelter if necessary. Something very therapeutic about the sound of the sea. I suffered from bad sleep for years and the lack of energy and low mood this caused. Over the last year or so I have got into a strict routine which really seems to work for me - no alcohol during the week and then TV, lap top etc switched off at 9 pm and then an hour of peace and winding down ready to switch the light off at 10 and I go into a very deep sleep for often 8 hours. Feel so much better for this and able to cope better with life. Good luck with your list xx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:15pm

Hello Sue, you are exactly the subject of the photograph i'd like to the shelter with the flask, love it.

Mary Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:18am

Love this! Love this on two levels. 1)I just love your writing. Always. 2) such sane and practical advice. In the summer we live at the beach in our beach house. It seems a long way away at the moment. I will replace the beach with the swimming pool. It's only five minutes away. Sleep. Yes..... I was talking to a friend last night who works with people in Russia, Europe, California and Beijing. He sometimes survives on two hours sleep because of all the time zone differences. At least he has an excuse..... Bed before 11pm seems like a good idea. In theory at least....

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:17pm

Hello lovely! Your beach house in summer is my idea of perfect bliss!!!

susan Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:44am

February leaves incendiary devices around? Too funny! And too true. Interesting about the 10-2 time period. Have always known that the before midnight sleep is best, but never knew why. A simple and powerful 2-point list, ratg. I can't take on #1, sadly, but #2 is now a goal. Thank you. xx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:20pm

As you can see, I'm late tonight but I'm a whisper away from sleep. Early bed has helped me a huge amount, combined with early rise. It goes against the grain for me but it's made a world of difference, especially in winter.

Lou Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 11:33am

Excellent thoughts, as ever RatG!

I am joining you in spirit as I am trying to return to the things I know help me manage; mindfulness, walking etc. and will take your sage advice; early nights are a GOOD thing!

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:21pm

Hello Lou, brilliant stuff, keep returning, its the true achievement.

Mj Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 1:13pm

I'm with you!! I think the secret to making lasting positive change is to commit to one significant change at a time. Like your sleep goal. Mine this year is, wait for! But I am not going to add a super increase in exercise. That will come when the change in food shopping, preparation, and eating becomes more of a habit. I won't stop what I'm doing now. I won't try to find the potatoes love so well in myself on the couch.
So sleep well and share with us the ways it makes you feel better through the month(s). And when you find yourself up at 11or12. Remind yourself that you love you and you'll do better the next day.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:23pm

Hell Mj, thoroughly agree with your point about one significant change at a time, great method! Thank you for your words X.

Debs Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 1:32pm

Great blog roomy, as ever your writing is touching, moving and inspiring. I am left with a sense of hope... the hope that I too can create a new relationship with this time of year. Pre-motherhood I always used to go away from Jan-April. Those were heaven-sent years, years of adventure and wonderment. Now I'm tied to the UK so I need a new escape route, to make amends with the post-Christmas months and tell them it's time we were friends. Maybe I can learn something from the beach in winter, the deserted hills, the windswept landscape. Thank you for the ideas... you're a gem ;-) xxx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:26pm

Hello Debs! Been thinking of you...was so interested in how your Christmas volunteering went and how you are (I remember you being unsettled in the last few weeks). Parenting and depression can take away all feelings of freedom so we need to find the feeling another way. You've sparked a blog in my head. Lovely to see you xxx

Suzy Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 4:21pm

Goodness me. How fascinating is point 2?! This will really make me think twice if I'm tempted to stay up late. Funny, I couldn't wind down last night so stayed up until 2am (never a good sign for my mental wellbeing and often I sign I've been overdoing things). Today I've felt crippled with anxiety about everything I've said and done for past 3 days. Coincidence? Well maybe not!
Thanks so much for this.,

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:28pm

Hello Suzy, I am so glad to see you! I definitely see a link in my anxiety levels and early sleep/rise. I'm about to be asleep, hope you too after your late one. Xxx

Nicola Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 5:53pm

I love this! Beautifully written, and just so so good. Yup, I'm going to try and take this on board. Thank you RATG xx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:29pm

More than a pleasure Nicola X.

LillyPet Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 6:07pm

Hey ratg!
Count me in! I'd love to join you walking barefoot in the warm sand. Ok it was a bit muddy today but hey, there was sunshine in my heart! :) cue-slash-google Morecombe and Wise ( Bring me Sunshine) You always do hun, whatever your weather! :)
Sleep is a big theory of mine, so I'm in on the 4 week sleep by 10 plan for Jan!
Lol! Love LP xx

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:31pm

Ah M&W! My go-to happy people! Often find myself singing that song out loud. We shall sleep together, just like them :-D

victoria Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 7:46pm

I'm doing exactly the same on the sleep front. I do pretty well on work days but any days off? That me burning the midnight oil, which is ridiculous: I end up on my day off too exhausted to function. I don't know how I ended up with this habit but it's got to stop.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:32pm

I understand that feeling...I'm much less disciplined when the school holidays are on and yet it is a recipe for disaster. Being are is the first step...

The Gardener Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 7:59pm

January has never been my friend unless I am a long way away from Europe. We do have marvellous walks by the sea - now totally impractical. Having such a tough time. Since Mr G's time in hospital his mind has gone into serious decline. He has poor eyesight - convinced any light I put on is blinding him (although ophthalmic surgeon says only strong sunlight will do harm). A friend of a daughter, who has worked with dementia for a long time says there is some 'chemistry' which makes them much worse when it gets dark. Certainly true here. My husband says he can't see, but wears a sun visor all the time, in January! Was hoping for a grand-child/children visit - but no hope. I don't do Face Book, but through the grape-vine - No 1 is in Cape Town for all the Test matches. No 3 is in Thailand. Nos 5 and 6 are currently in the alps. Melbourne 17 December, Abu Dhabi Christmas, Haute Savoie New Year. Last year, with a huge effort on their part, they made it to us. This year they have to 'nip' to Japan. I said surely one 'nipped' from Australia instead of via Abu Dhabi and the Alps. A long story! Something to do with special terms with Qatar Airways. A nasty bit of vicarious comfort - the alps are damp, foggy, raining and snowless. But there is a great crowd of them, off to a favourite restaurant tonight. I'm not jealous of the travel, done it. What I'm struggling with is living in the dark, almost imprisoned, no hope of a walk, a desire to be in noisy cheerful company which almost hurts. And the weather is foul and has wrecked my 'open' week-end. Ratg has made be even madder talking about walking on beaches - I can name dozens where I have walked ankle deep in water for hours - lovely hard sand, lovely views - fish just below the surface (after being stung by a sting ray in the 1,000 islands I don't think what might be lurking deeper out). Making the first prints in first snow, and shuffling through dry leaves gives the same joyous feeling.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:39pm

Too long a story but..l was talking to a lady this week about my gran (dementia) and she was explaining this very thing about darkness. Been told that closing the curtains before darkness comes and opening them after the sun is up sees a marked improvement. More interesting stuff! TG, I hope you will soon find ways you can feel a little more free. I understand a bit as a solo parent. Thoroughly tied,in even the smallest ways. But for me there will be progress. I wish we could find freedom nuggets for you xx.

the room above the garage Sat, Jan 2nd 2016 @ 10:40pm

10.39...what a hypocrite! Head is an inch away from pillow...goodnight John Boy, goodnight Mary Ellen! Xxx

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