Winter Hibernation

Do you find that the dark and cold of winter affects you?

Bird bath covered in snow, Jenny Cooper, Key Steps blog post winter hibernation, Many creatures go into hibernation during the winter, and it seems a very sensible thing to do! In fact, I think that is what I have been doing myself.

Hibernation is described as being in an inactive state, with lowered metabolism, slower breathing and heart rate. Translated into human terms, that sounds like low energy, and a wish to stay indoors, keep warm and regret the fact that weight seems to gather at an alarming speed – that low metabolic rate has something to answer for.

This period of hibernation over Christmas and new year has been very relaxing in fact, and it is proving a challenge to emerge into snow and cold winds. I have been quite content catching up with things – office admin, creative projects, seeing family.

It is all too easy to get so caught up with work and business activities and then find that you haven’t spent enough time with family and friends.

winter frost on gaultheria jpg Jenny Cooper Key Steps Coaching blog post Winter hibernationWe need daylight

We do need to have light and sunshine and the lack at this time of year can result for many in S.A.D. or Seasonal Affective Disorder, a form of depression that visits during the winter and lifts when the days and daylight are longer.

Light up your life with daylight bulbs

There are daylight bulbs that help with this, with full spectrum lighting to counteract the lack of sun shine. They are also excellent for using if you do any sort of colour work, painting or craft work, where you need to have accurate colours. You can use them in your office as well, to help your eyes cope with computer monitors etc.

My hibernation project

 Quilted Wall Hanging by Jenny Cooper Key Steps Coaching woven ribbons, silk background blog post Winter HibernationQuilted Wall Hanging by Jenny Cooper

Here is a photo of a completed project that had been sitting on my drawing board for a year, waiting for completion. Now it is up on the wall, the next piece has emerged from a box under the bed where it has been for the past 12 years… and progressing well now.

How about you?

What do you experience in the winter? Do you hibernate?

Are there things that you find time to do during the darker time of year?

©Jenny Cooper 2015 All rights reserved, words, images of birdbath and wall hanging.







Do you put off doing things?

Do you put off doing things?

Speaking as someone who could get a PhD in procrastination (if I ever got round to it), the whole issue is really fascinating.

Deadlines are a must for me to get things done, so making a To Do list really helps. But curiously, some things seem to keep falling off the end of the list. Does that happen to you?

It could be something simple that you dislike doing – fixing something or the ironing – and when you get around to it, it doesn’t take long and was easier than you expected.

Or it could be something that feels overwhelming and you don’t know where to begin. So you don’t or can’t.

Creativity and procrastination

Recently I came across an article or a comment about how taking five minutes a day doing something creative can help to break through that block of getting started and getting things done. I know that creativity has many benefits, but had not come across this specific one before.

The Five Minutes a Day Creativity Challenge

This was a chance to test out the theory. The idea is to do something creative – write, draw, sing, paint, dance, whatever you decide, for five minutes each day for a week.

5 minute continuous doodle jpg image by Jenny Cooper blog post Do You put off doing things? Key steps Coaching 29.11.14

5 minute continuous doodle Nov.2014

What happened?

I started out feeling as if five minutes was for ever, then once I got started, the time flew.

Doing something different each day got me looking around for ideas. Singing, drawing with my left hand, tearing strips of an old catalogue and weaving them together. When you have a time limit, you have to act quickly, be spontaneous and experimental. And the deadline of completing it in time to post on facebook before going to bed helped.

The results

It was a lot of fun! Not just creating things, but seeing what other people were doing and posting.

Most surprising: Some of those obstinate items on my To Do lists mysteriously got done!

The most overwhelming item has been lurking around in my To Do lists for several months, and felt like it was going to be in the Too Hard Basket for ever. It was important, but felt so impossible and confusing that everything else always seemed more urgent.

I can’t explain why it suddenly felt possible to sit at the computer and start tackling this particular task, nor why all sorts of pennies started dropping so that I could understand what to do, and do it.

Woven strips of paper jpg image Jenny Cooper blog post Do you put off doing things?

Woven strips of paper

There was no apparent connection between the creative activities and this computer work. The block seemed to just melt away during this week.

Somehow the mountains of failing will-power, guilt, anxiety and feeling incompetent were all by-passed. Magic!

I’m hooked now… and going to continue with these little bursts of daily creativity.

And it isn’t just me. One friend who completed the whole week experienced similar powerful effects. You can check it out here Key Steps Coaching Facebook page.

Are you inspired to try a new way to get things done?

Just for a week, spend five minutes a day doing something creative.

Enjoy yourself, see what happens, then share below to inspire others.

Looking forward to hearing what you discover!


©Jenny Cooper 2014. All rights reserved.



The secret ingredient to creating effective change

So what is this secret ingredient to creating effective change?

Has it eluded you in the past? But the sense of being trapped in a cycle of pressure and busy-ness means you don’t have the energy to stop, think and discover what it is?

Quote by Einstein Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

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The Right Tools for the Job

Don’t you just love toolboxes? All those compartments and trays to keep your tools ready for action? And can you find the right tool for the job when you need it?

At the last count, I have at least five toolboxes: three containing art materials all sorted and ready for action, but the two with screwdrivers and other d.i.y tools – that’s something else. On one occasion I had to go out and buy another hammer mid-job because mine was hiding somewhere.

Grey toolbox with red tray, and tools for jobs round the house

Toolbox for jobs round the house

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Coffee, kids and continents – Uthando project

Did you ever go out for a coffee and come home with something you didn’t plan that has profound layers of significance?

Uthando project – “Dolls for the children of Kwazulu-Natal”

In The Ivy, a local cafe in Albany, Western Australia, I discovered a wonderful project – making dolls for orphans in South Africa. Continue reading

Plain or Pearl – Knitting up Your Life

And yes, I do mean “pearl”, not purl. Way back on New Year’s Eve, I watched our hostess start knitting a scarf with large knitting needles and chunky wool. It grew quickly into a lacy fabric, and inspired me to dig out some even larger needles and have a go at home.

Chunky knitting on large needles

It grows so fast..

That seems like yesterday, and now it is the middle of March, time seems to be going faster and faster. Continue reading