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Special dates to look out for this winter

Special dates to look out for this winter
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Boost your morale by marking some of these dates in January and February

Forgotten what day of the week it is? This is, unfortunately, an increasingly common experience as we wait out the covid-19 pandemic. The weather outside is grim and though there is more daylight every week, the night still seem very long and dark. And when each day seems to roll into the next, time can drag. By marking a special day – whether it’s a personal anniversary or a recognised international or national holiday – you will give yourself something to look forward to, enjoy a few cheerful hours celebrating and also have some happy memories to look back on afterwards.

Making decorations or preparing for an activity or a special meal provide a creative focus and an excuse to treat yourself and your family to something a bit special. Or you might want to use an awareness day to raise funds or start conversations about an issue that is important to you. And special days are the perfect reason to connect with friends and family who you cannot see in person.

Personal celebrations

Of course you’ll be doing something to mark birthdays and anniversaries – but think about other personal celebrations too: has it been a year since you kicked a bad habit or acquired a good one?

Also take the time to celebrate achievements big and little. If you are working towards a larger goal, such as a degree course or a sporting achievement, it can be helpful to break it up into manageable pieces with milestone achievements – perhaps the halfway point or end of term.

On a more serious note, people find it helpful to acknowledge anniversaries of negative life changes, and marking the date in a supportive, compassionate way can help people process these events.

Blue Monday: 18 January 2021

The third Monday in January is supposed to be the saddest day of the year because of Christmas credit card bills, failed resolutions and dreadful weather. Some years back, it was named Blue Monday by a travel agent as a PR stunt, which makes it particularly poignant this year. At this time many people would benefit from a bit of extra care, so take the time to look after yourself on Blue Monday and perhaps reach out to others, too.

Burns Night: 25 January

Burns Night celebrates the work of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. A Burns supper is a celebration of Scottish culture and food. A typical menu would be a Scottish soup such as cock-a-leekie or Cullen skink followed by mashed root vegetables (neeps and tatties) with a haggis. For dessert, expect to see cranachan, a dessert made from cream, toasted oatmeal and whiskey.

The haggis is often piped in, and then Burns’ poem Address to a Haggis is recited. There might be other speeches and readings too.

Kazoo day: 28 January 2021

The fourth Thursday in January celebrates an easy-to-play musical instrument, the kazoo. If you can – almost – carry a tune, then you can learn to play the kazoo. They are very cheap to buy and widely available from novelty stores. So stock up and spend some quality time with your family and friends ruining a few classic songs.

Time to Talk Day: 4 February 2021

Mental health charity Rethink marks Time to Talk Day by encouraging everyone to talk about mental health problems. The aim is to break down barriers to help end isolation and shame associated with mental ill-health. This year the charity is offering posters and postcards to help you open a conversation about mental health: visit the Time to Talk Day website to find out more.

World Radio Day: 13 February

Unesco organises World Radio Day celebrations – and this year it is marking 110 years of radio. The United Nations cultural organisation has some World Radio Day resources and a newsletter to help you celebrate. Perhaps you could introduce your family to a favourite radio show, or simply treat yourself to some uninterrupted listening time.

Celebrating every year

By marking special days every year you will start to build up traditions, and maybe acquire special decorations. You can keep these looking good for years to come by storing them carefully. Items that you value but don’t use often are the perfect candidates for self-storage units. Rather than cramming your decorations into a hard to access attic, keep them in a climate-controlled locker or unit where they will be safe until you need them. And for extra peace of mind, you can insure your stored goods with Store and Insure if your contents insurance does not extend to items stored outside your home.

January and February are a difficult time of year for many reasons – but marking meaningful days is a healthy way to cope with the dark days, and we hope this has given you a few ideas.