Heading into 2024 with grace.

'How many lessons of faith and beauty we should lose, if there were no winter in our year'

Grace, is my word this year. That is grace for me and others, but mainly myself and my continued recovery from years of (chaotic) perfectionism! January is also traditionally a really tricky month for me, the best way I can describe how I tend to feel is, discombobulated. BUT as I enter week two of this new year, something has really shifted and I honestly feel great. I am fully embracing it as I know, particularly with Perimenopause, moods can be fleeting and unpredictable and life can throw constant curveballs, I had my fair share in 2023.

After the disappointment of HRT not agreeing with me last year, I decided to take my physical and mental wellbeing into my own hands. I started Ecotherapy, which has been incredible and I am back to daily yoga practice after a very upsetting and painful class, where I felt so stiff and uncomfortable, I decided NO MORE. I am turning 48 this year and it has become really obvious that the saying 'It'll catch up with you' is wholly based on truth. I absolutely have to look after myself and put in the work, as my body just doesn't forgive me like it used to. I follow my yoga with either some calm meditation and breath work, or some loud music with shaking and somatic movement, all followed by some journaling. I am loving it and feeling the benefits. It can be hard for me to carry on with physical activity when my body resists, and it really does resist yoga at times! A yoga 'flow' is more like yoga 'carnage' at times, but with this beautiful word GRACE comes the will to persevere and either mutter kind words to myself for trying, or fall down laughing.

Being in nature is critical for my mental health and I get out as much as possible. This time of year, however can be harder to motivate myself, especially when it's grey, dull and raining. I do have alternative terms for these days, rain is an 'Earth nurturing' day and grey days are 'blanket days', referring a bit to blanket light in photography, but also the thought of the sky being a giant grey blanket wrapped around me. Changing from saying how miserable it is to using positive terms always helps me and I never ever regret getting out, returning home in a better and calmer mood, no matter what else is going on. In December I barely took my camera anywhere and I just didn't feel motivated to shoot, so this month, I am all about snapping for joy. Will every picture I take be game-changing or incredible? No. But will it authentically represent me and my life? Yes.

I am back to some professional work this week, but I am ensuring I get the balance right between paid photography and hobby photography. Here's a few images from this first week of January and I would love to hear what practices you've adopted for getting through this weird and sticky month.