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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Seeking Comfort

What comforts you?
Snuggly, comfy clothes?
Warm blankets?
Bad TV movies?

I think that during January and February, when we're all dealing a little bit with the lack of sunshine, having to pack away all the joy of Christmas, making some (sometimes unrealistic) new year's resolutions, going back to school or work after the holidays that we're all in need of a little comfort. I know I am.

So when I think of comfort a few different things come to mind:

1. Tea. Okay, okay - maybe this one is a little obvious. Clearly, I'm a fan of tea, some would say a tea-snob, a tea-a-holic if you will - but there is something about tea that is inherently comforting. For me, it's everything from opening my tin of tea, smelling the leaves, spooning out the measurement either into a tea sleeve or diffuser, boiling the water, slowly steeping the tea, down to sipping it slowly and feeling the warmth through my favourite mug. I like that tea is a calm, measured, simple pleasure. It helps me to focus, go through the motions bit by bit. It's comforting beyond just drinking the tea.

2. Chocolate. Okay - some of you are saying - "DUH. Who doesn't find chocolate comforting?" But I'm not talking about sitting down with an entire box of chocolates and plowing through all 6 gajillion calories in one sitting (though - let's be honest, that could be pretty comforting too). How about getting a single piece of your favourite chocolate (for me it's gotta be one of 3: Terry's Chocolate Orange, Lindt milk chocolate lindor truffles, or original Ferraro Rocher) and really savouring it. Unwrap it slowly, put it in your mouth and let it melt, and just really taste it. Smell the chocolate as it melts on your tongue. And since this is going to take a while, I guess it should be somewhere you're comfortable, can close your eyes, and just... enjoy.

3. Comfort food. I swear - this is the last edible, promise. Obviously winter is a time when we all crave warm, toasty, comfort foods like chili, homemade mac and cheese, shepherd's pie, meatloaf and whatever else you call comfort food. And while I love eating those things, I also try and find some comfort in making them. I make all my favourite comfort foods exactly the way my Mom made them. There's always a new recipe for this or that, but - be honest - if it's not the way it was when you were a kid, it's not comfort food. It's just... food.

4. Repetitive crafting. Now, don't be confused, I don't mean repetitive like boring, I mean repetitive like dependable, a more stable kind of comforting. Sit down with a couple of knitting needles or your fave crochet hook, a big ball of basic acrylic and just work up a simple scarf. Something that doesn't have a pattern, just a simple, almost mindless craft. Not only is it calming to be able to sit and do something easy that doesn't take a lot of concentration - but at the end of it, you've got something to show for it. And then, the result of your repetitive crafting can lead right into my last way to find comfort...

5. Random acts of kindness. Do something nice for someone else, when they're not expecting it and for no reason at all. Give someone a scarf that you just knit  (see how I worked that in there?), buy a coffee or tea for someone you see during the week, phone a friend or relative just to say hi, write a real snail mail card or letter and mail it to someone, invite someone over for dinner, bake a cake or cupcakes or quick bread and drop it off with a note that says "thought of you". You'll feel good doing it. And maybe, just maybe, when you give some comfort to someone else, you'll get some in return.

I know I'm in need of a lot of comfort these days, and while my need for comfort isn't driven only by the lack of sunshine and the gross white stuff on the ground that my kiddos keep getting so freakin' excited about, dealing with the S.A.D. on top of the rest of my life can be a little heavy sometimes.

So I didn't make any "resolutions" this year. I wanted to... but I feel like I'm under enough pressure as it is. I'm just trying to get by, trying to get through, trying to find joy, hope and peace in my everyday life. I'm seeking comfort at the same time as I'm working to find healing. I hope you find joy, and hope, and peace and comfort too.


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