You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a Public Service Announcement, not a blog, so let’s get the important message out of the way first!

02:00 Sunday 28th October, British Summer Time ends!

Right, back to the blog! So, love it or loathe it, the clocks are going back this weekend, heralding the end of our gloriously long, hot British Summertime, and it was an absolute stonker this year wasn’t it!

As much as l love the summer, I confess to loving Autumn/Winter more. Thanks to my landscape photography-mad partner, Autumn is always a riot of colour and change, beautifully caught and preserved forever through his lens. and if you’ve never heard it, listen to Justin Hayward singing ‘Forever Autumn’, one all my all-time favourites.

And as for Winter, well that’s simple…Winter brings Christmas…and I love Christmas!

I always appreciate the benefits that Autumn brings, shutting out the dark night earlier and earlier, switching lamps on for cosy lighting, lighting deliciously scented candles, and best of all, hiding my own body layers under an array of chunky, seasonal knitwear! That’s a ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner’ right there! In fact, bring on the chicken dinner, there’s room aplenty in this over-sized jumper!

And then, once Halloween is behind us, it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable slide into Christmas, let’s face it though, the subtle hints are already there, should I need a new sofa, if I pull my finger out and get ordering now it’ll be here in time for the ‘Big Day’!

Then it’ll be the onslaught of Christmas adverts (yes I’m a complete sucker for a John Lewis Christmas ad, and rarely get through a first viewing without a few tears), Christmas songs on my playlist and Christmas shopping (usually courtesy of Amazon Prime!)

Here’s where I need to change the mood a little, for my own view of the winter months won’t be shared by everyone.

This time last year, I was unemployed through redundancy, and it was the first time that my favourite seasons failed to please me. As the evenings drew in, so did my moods, and the long days seemed to stretch endlessly once the darker nights set in. And as for Christmas adverts and shopping lists, initially they just served to lower my mood still further, until I set myself a personal ‘Christmas Challenge’ of shopping on a shoestring, and that welcome distraction helped lift my spirits.

As those of you who follow my blogs will know, my Mum has now made the move to a lovely apartment in a retirement village and I’m so pleased that from this point onwards, the winter evenings won’t be lonely for her since we lost my Dad, as she’s surrounded by warmth, people and a range of activities that would rival a high-end cruise! No child wants to hear that their parent feels sad and lonely due to the absence of the other parent, it’s heartbreaking to hear.

But it’s a timely reminder that the change of season will be hard for so many people, people who go about their daily lives appearing totally ‘ok’, then living a different life once that hour goes back.

Maybe it’s the thought of returning to an empty house or flat at the end of the day, maybe it’s the worry of the expense of Christmas, maybe it’s the fear of a cold winter as heating bills are too costly.

There are countless maybes.

Becoming Mental Health First Aider has certainly opened my eyes to not taking everything at face value. Throughout my own period of unemployment I became really adept at putting a public face on my private thoughts, my ‘mask of normality’. Undertaking my recent training reminded me of that and it gets you thinking, just how many people are walking about, wearing their own disguise.

So what am I really saying, I’m saying if you love this time of year, as I do, then enjoy the seasonal colour palette, kick through fallen leaves in your best wellies, devour baked potatoes and treacle toffee and enjoy the nip in the air from beneath your knitwear layers.

Just remember, that for some, the long, dark nights aren’t always filled with light and it’s time we all really took notice of the people around us, just in case their winter wardrobe consists of a ‘mask of normality’.

And enjoy your extra hour in bed this weekend!

Sue Alty – The Creative Coordinator

Contact Sue

We think Sue must be a ‘Master of the Dark Arts’, as she has hidden depths! Running our office with meticulous planning and capability, Sue is an avid list writer with a keen eye for detail. But don’t be fooled by that organised demeanour, for Sue is as creative as she is efficient! A skilled communicator with a humorous edge, Sue is as passionate about people and their learning and development as she is about becoming the future Mrs Tom Hardy or Mrs Benedict Cumberbatch (either will do!).  An interesting career path has taken her from the glamour of working in luxury London hotels to the chilled Distribution Centres of supermarket retail, and whether managing small groups or large teams, people are at the heart of everything Sue does.