Dealing with darker days: Transcript of 'I Feel For You' podcast Episode 24

Dutchess Donna!

Dutchess Donna!

…An episode about dealing with darker days.

This one goes out to my Homies in the northern hemisphere!

It’s 11 December and i think we can call it deep midwinter.

I am thinking about February cause it’s when i feel like spring is arriving, also it’s my birthday month - shoutout to my pisces crew-dem! But let’s get real for a second, cause these days, i am totally ready to be in bed by 4pm.With all the trimmings. Pajamas or thermals or what i call the catsuit. Cosiness galore and turning up to turn down, if you know what i mean. Who am i kidding, i’m talking like this is what i lust for each day by 4pm when in fact this is my current reality. I have become that person. In bed by 4pm. Sure, i might have a laptop, but more often than not i’m shrinking into the down of my duvet and coaxing myself with self love mantras saying, its ok, you´re tired, you’ve done enough for today when i’ve barely managed to sum up the energy to reply to an email.


Ok - i also have a thyroid disorder which tends to go a bit berserk when it gets colder, my bones oh man joints are inflaaaamed! I’ve been that tired i’ve been sacrificing my evening bath just because i can’t get out of bed.





Winter. Darkness. Cold times. It can be all consuming.

And it’s something that has come up a lot lately for my 1-1 clients too. It can affect our work and our health, so i am into supporting others to create strategies to feel at their best so they can be even better! I truly think acknowledging our environment is vital to us being well, so that we can work with it in the ways that suit us. And sometimes, working with it means implementing an escape route!

I often ask myself (daily in fact) what i’m doing in this country and also, how the hell i ever survived living in Norway for years! Babes, if you’re interested in that i have a couple of essays and podcasts that might interest you-


What Living in Norway taught me about Surviving Winter

Norway vs UK: the art of chill

But today, i wanted to talk to you about embracing the darkness. I know. It sounds like some cheesy spiritual clickbaity froth to entice you in then sell you a hemp bathrobe I’M SORRY I TAKE THE PISS OUT OF HEMP YET I LIVE FOR IT! HEMP SEEDS, HEMP MILK, CBD OIL, babes, i am the hemp goblin! Yes. although i don’t have a dog on a rope. That’s something else. Anyyyyyway!

Let’s put “embracing the darkness” another way:

How do we make the most of this time of year, when we might not have bundles of energy or perhaps we simply dislike how cold and monotone everything is, do you know what i mean? When you look outside and everything is a gradient of grey? I know there’s a lot of minimalists out there that are into that but i’m someone who vibes with colour, know what i mean? I get energy from it and when it’s a bit bleak outside, we have to find a way to create our own pallete, right? Is that cheesy? I don’t care.

I want to share some things with you that help me to embrace the darkness.

Cause i’m pretty sure i have SAD. hehe.

….Not sure why i’m laughing...

I hope that these offerings might inspire you to feel better during the dark times, and perhaps even encourage you to gravitate towards the stuff that gives you energy during the darker season.


So i got back from Lisbon a couple of days ago, and to be honest since then, i’ve realised just how gloomy it feels and how early it seems to get dark. Right now in Brighton the sun is setting just before 4pm. In Norway it was around 3pm. And it didn’t rise until 9.30am or so. You can imagine how many times this season i’ve asked myself how the hell did i cope then? But i’m pretty sure that’s why i ended up with adrenal fatigue, SAD and a thyroid disorder tbh! Cause i would push past my limits as if i still had all the energy in the world.

embracing the darkness

I’d guzzle gallons of coffee to get through the day, cause usually i’d be teaching from 7.30 in the morning and be finishing my last class at 10pm at night. And juggling various jobs during the day, and also a bar job at night where i’d get off at 3am and have to do it all over again the next day. It was hard. And i learned my lesson. And i hope someone else doesn’t have to go through that to learn theirs!

My mantra since getting sick has been to sync with the seasons where possible. I’m getting into slowing down more and more, sometimes cause i’m forced to in order to support my adrenals, but also just to really embrace the space in between, you know? Like, life happening in those beautiful crevices. Those slo mo moments that i’d usually miss cause i was on my way getting to where i needed to go, bulldozing through the resistance that was in the way and all the signs my body was giving me, pleading with me, to listen to.

And if we think about it, the signs are all around us,  all the time, if we really pay attention. I don’t mean to sound cryptic here. I mean, take nature for example. It’s colder. If we are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads, we are likely to spend more time indoors. It’s cold, and usually there are less hours of daylight, so, that means we have less energy. It’s natural to feel different to the summertime! It makes sense that we are hungrier! We have to get energy in other ways if not from the sun! And i know in the past my tendency has been to ignore that. Or to dismiss it, like, i was weaker or something. Which is absolute nonsense. Isn’t it?

…Ahh. sometimes it brings tears to my eyes when i think of the way i treated myself. So harsh and mean. But, i’ve learned and am learning every day to be more tender. And here are some things i’m doing to embrace the darkness.

In no particular order:

Journaling! You know i love a BUJO, or bullet journal for those of you who are like, what the hell?!

I've been keeping a bujo now for a few years and love it. I love the freedom and flexibility of creating my own system and gathering all my stuff in one place. And decorating it OF COURSE with chintz.

Surely no one is interested in seeing my bullet journal …. Are they? Are you? Is it useful if i share some thoughts on my bujo journey with you? I was thinking of doing an episode about my fave organisational that helpful?? Let me know eh? Send me a message or hit me up on socials would you? I just want to be useful as possible so let me know what i can do to support you!

Many of you know I’m also a big fan of morning pages, i won’t go on because i feel like i talk about them in most episodes, so what i’ll do is link you to a guest blog post Ketil wrote about them, as well as a podcast where i talk about them a fair amount to give you the jist.

So, journaling for me combines both of these loves. I mean, is there even a clear definition of journaling? I think it’s open to interpretation isn’t it? I like to think most things are open to interpretation though so go figure.

To me, journaling is free space to log and create. I use my bujo but flex up my system a bit more. I add more images, let myself draw and doodle, document and collect, collate and decorate. It’s whatever i want it to be. And lately i’ve been journaling a couple of pages a day. Just freestyling, whatever i want to do at the end of my day. It serves as a tool to note ideas, to reflect on something i’m creating, for example, right now i’m working on the logistics for upcoming events including….a new Brighton summer retreat 2019- yes! As well as some workshops in Berlin! Shoutout to Sharlene and her crew who’s helping me with that! I’m so excited! Anyway. I’m logging important info on venues, as well as tracking my feelings and processes along the way. I love it! I think it’s because i’m really allowing myself to indulge in tracking my feels amid the creative process. I think for so many of us who are making things, be it a spreadsheet, a piece of art, a podcast, a website, a recipe, we can get so consumed in the final thing. Like, we are striving to get there and for it to be ready and perfect.


Using my journal helps me get all up in it. I writhe around in the pleasure and privilege of creating something. I note what feels great in the process. What inspires me. My feels, as i said, and many of you know i’m big on feelings. I’ve always needed to feel for what feels good before i can do anything! That goes for creating an event. Putting a coaching programme into the world. What to have for dinner. Deciding what route i want to walk home or to the sea or whatever. I like to think of it as practicing harnessing the power of my internal GPS. you know? Our own personal inner guidance system that resides somewhere in our guts, for some of us it’s lower in the sacral area. But attuning my awareness to pay attention to it. To log it. To acknowledge and hopefully to listen to it! Cause when we don’t, boy, do we know about it. …Am i right?

Ok i could go way off down that track but lets bring it back to journaling.

It’s bringing me so much joy and basically is a daily visionboard slash log slash to do list to feel list pleasure log that i get excited about doing each day.

I don’t know if it helps if i share some of that stuff? Would it help? Again do let me know and i will do a blog post or something. Perhaps i’ll put up a couple of pages on my IG stories for you if you like? Find me on Instagram dionne with 7 underscores.


That was journaling.

Next is: night explorations.

I know, my general inclination in the darker season has been to hibernate and i’m here for that, but now and then i get a little jolt of adventure - usually motivated by my yearning for a particular food source - which leads me outside! There’s something special about late night or not even that late, dark walks in the winter. I go in, wearing my pyjamas/catsuit/thermals and earmuffs, big coat, probably a blanket too, sometimes a thermos with some tea and really make the most of it! Plus, getting home after that walk is so cosy it’s really the one so…. Yeah.

And inside the house, nothing embraces the dark season like candles eh? I am at risk of sounding peak millennial and actually i feel a bit gross saying that cause what is that really? I mean.

I’m not a millennial it seems. 1980 babes. I don’t know what i am. Ain't that the story of my life.

I digress.


I like mine scented. I know i know. But i do. Soy ideally. And i think that’s all i can say about candles. Cause i spoke about Winter fatigue, 7 self care ideas to shift your state in a previous podcast - think it was episode 6, i will link you in the shownotes.

Other than send me your recommendations eh?


Feeding in general

I enjoy generally grazing like a cow, especially at this time of year. I’ve stopped asking myself in amazement “why am i so HUNGRY” and instead used that precious mouth muscle to put even more into my mouth to guzzle. Yes. bring it. I am feasting however i can. Letting myself again be guided by my internal GPS. Listening to what i’m craving, and exploring and indulging that. So interesting always, isn't it? E.g. i am a bit of a beetroot fiend. What is that, beets in the US? Yeah. i am big on beets. Drinkem. Eat them like an apple. Roast them. Make hummus. I am physically cringing at how flipping Brighton i sound right now. Cringe. Cringe! Yeah. i am THAT person. Butter me up and cover me in muesli! Wait! Not butter, make it non dairy. I jest.

And one time i said to someone who will never let me forget it, “sure, sex is good but have you ever tried warm beetroot hummus?”

…I mean?! Seriously. A little topping of hemp seeds, a big stick of celery and bob is your relative!!!! Mate. ok i might regret documenting that.

Let's move on.

Eat what you want.

And if people have something to say, eat them too.

If you need any reassurance or clarification on where i’m at with regards to the food thing, i’m going to link you to a couple of articles in the show notes. The long and short of it: trust your own body, not fads or diets. Eat what helps you to feel good. There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” food so do you.

In case there was any doubt, here’s


On: the yoga + food thing (part 1)

On: the yoga + food “thing”, revisited!


And that comes as an ex ED by the way. 17 years in recovery babes!




Actually, it’s kind of a continuation, and to do with foods, or at least, supplements, or herbs,

The first, Ashwagandha, which in Ayurveda is known as a champion herb. Its an adaptogen, which basically means like it sounds, it helps the body to adapt to stressors. Adaptogens help to balance, restore and protect the body.  If you think about adaptogens, they enter the body and kind of latch onto the drama and support you to work with it, a kind of buffer of tolerance for stress. Which in my case, with a thyroid disorder, is really helpful, cause one of the worst things for my condition is….stress. Let’s face it, it ain't good for anybody right? So i’m always interested in how to reduce stress where possible.

There are so many reasons why people take ashwagandha. In the past i took it during a really difficult bout of anxiety and it really helped me. Of course, everyone is different so do your own research babes. But lately i’ve been taking it again, in powdered form, adding it to my morning smoothie and also before bed in golden milk which is another thing that makes me cringe these days cause it sounds like a bit of a parody of modern wellness. But it has helped me a lot.

It has helped with sleep and also feeling more CHILL yeah! It’s also said to be good for brain function and i’m not sure if it’s related but since taking it again, i have noticed my productivity levels increasing and stress levels reducing. But it could be a combination of things i’m doing lately. Perhaps i should update my winter morning rituals for you guys, is that helpful? By the way, you can listen to last year's winter morning rituals in Episode 5 of this podcast!

Glamour all the time!

Glamour all the time!

Another herb i’m taking to support me during the dark season is Maca.

Maca is also an adaptogen, and something i also took a few years back, but unfortunately i think i had a bad batch because it 🗣 LITERALLY SMELLED LIKE SOMEONES UNWASHED FEET BABES!!! 😫

I mean!

That was unnecessary wasn’t it darling?

It put me off.

But the batch i’m currently using, also power, is really good! It's almost caramel-ly. And i wonder if it’s to do with it being gelatinized maca, which basically means it has been boiled to remove the starch, as traditionally, it wouldn't have been consumed raw. see some people have side effects to taking maca related to digestive upset. When the maca is gelatinized it means it’s more absorbable and digestible. But again. Everybody is different.

I have definitely noticed in my case it has helped boost my energy levels

And there’s other benefits like it’s rich in vitamin c, calcium and zinc, iodine, iron, copper and magnesium.

I mean, there is a tonne of research out there, and some of it differs so i’d really recommend you do your own, speak to a herbalist, form your own opinion as to whether it’s right for you and of course, when it comes to supplements and herbs, check with yo doctor too, cause they can interfere with medication etc. you know all this.

Anyway. I add maca and ashwagandha to my morning smoothie and afternoon warm cacao, then i add just ashwagandha to my turmeric milk before bed with a little grated ginger. yeaaahhh. - oh you want recipes babes?


You got it 3 of them


Warm cacao

Turmeric milk

Ok let's move on shall we?

What else am i doing to embrace the darkness…?


donna in blankets

We kind of know this right. I guess my point for making a point of it is that sometimes we might feel a bit crap or like a loser for getting into bed at 4pm. Let me love you, Mario and reassure you it’s ay ok. You do what you need to do. My best and most fave office is my bed. In fact, i’m coming to you from that place right now. Some haters will tell you bed should just be reserved for sleeping. I say, do what the hell you want. Dinner? Sure! Web design? You got it! Evening snack and netflix moment of SALT FAT ACID HEAT - go ON then darling! A cheeky episode of Masterchef Australia for your duvet pocket ? listen, i gotchu.

I love bedworld. It’s my restaurant sometimes. My solace. My library shelf (cause you’ll usually find books up in there). My desk. My office and entire factory. My friend. And i like it that way. Really trying not to sing you guys, i hope you can appreciate the excruciating effort it’s taking….

And i guess bedworld leads to…



I mean, i work for myself so i realise how lucky i am to have that choice in the darker months, but even in the times i do need to go outside, i will give myself time to hibernate and permission to hibernate if my body needs it on my return. Ok yeah so perhaps the days merge into one and i’m unsure of the time and all that, but sometimes, i need that in life. To escape and let myself hallucinate a little. Then when i do go back outside again, the light is phenomenal. If its daytime of course.


I guess this links to another way i embrace the darkness and that is slowing down. The nights are longer! So why not move a bit slower! Instead of wishing for brighter daytimes, in the early evening, i turn the lounge into my practice womb which sounds weird as i say it, what i mean is, i keep it dark and cocoon like, a little candle perhaps, soft soft times, fuzzy edges, and take my yoga practice all up in it. My practice as a result is also softer. More gentle. Slower. Sweeter. I love it! And why not add blankets in there for good measure!

An example of that?

I’ve got you! A free yoga video!


And perhaps this practice of slowing down is the overall point of sharing these ideas with you for embracing the darkness. I am really learning to love the energy of the darker days. A chance to soften and turn inward. It’s cliche, i realise, but i am finding it so much sweeter to find flow with it, as opposed to younger me, who would be doing everything i could to avoid having to deal with it.

…There’s a big lesson in there right?

So what do you think?

How do you deal with darker days?

Any strategies? Ideas? Tips?

I’d love to know darling! Hit me up!

I love to hear from you!

Reach me on email ifeelforyoupodcast (@)

Via socials or in the comments!

If you dug this episode i’d be so so incredibly grateful for a review perhaps!

Or maybe share it with a friend who might need this message and a gentle hug from my duvet cocoon!

…is this sounding weird?

I just don’t know anymore!

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I really hope something here is useful for you to feel better and make the most of the season we are in! Let’s embrace it together! ❤️

dionne elizabeth