Editor’s Note: This week Alex finds the better weather makes everything more bearable.

Greetings all! The sun is coming out to play. The cold has finally lost its solid, frozen grip on us all here in the UK, and straight away I can feel the gradual decrease in living costs, albeit marginal, and the gradual increase in positivity.

So how much of a relief is it to be basking in sunshine, after months of under-par temperatures? It certainly changes my mindset from being grey and shadowed to that of brighter pathways. For me, and many others, darkness of winter can arouse a whole range of depressive thoughts, especially when some days and even weeks I had to rely on those closest to me as my Jobseekers’ Allowance was wrongfully suspended. Times were hard, and may continue to be so, but now I have more endurance stored in the fuel tank – more energy to burn.

It wasn’t just the starvation of funds that had me feeling bleak a couple of months back. Days were bitterly short and so was my patience. The unrelenting coldness kept me huddled under a blanket, both literally and figuratively. I had no discernible degree of hope every morning as I woke and shivered. Also, without central heating in my house the nights were often awful. The gas fire in the living room offered some comfort, but at a cost I could barely afford.

Let’s not dwell too much on all that now, though. Since completing my work-based training course (I.C.M) there has been a gathering momentum of warmth both outward and inwardly. Some days may still arise with challenges as I battle on against my nerves and diminished confidence, so I look to the glistening of the skies above and the heat of the concrete beneath my feet to give me strength and aptitude as I look for suitable and exciting job opportunities.

One good example of how my perceptions have changed with the weather recently is that I have attempted several phone calls to employers looking to gain interviews, instead of simply emailing my CV. I have been unsuccessful so far, but not deterred in anyway. The old me, the ‘winter’ me, would have put the phone down in frustration and gloom. I might have stopped by the second attempt as the feeling of having been turned down adds an extra chill to the bone. Yet now, with the sun busting its way out from the clouds, I’ve felt good in those moments after phoning employers.  They might have told me “no” in their most polite manner, but I leave the conversation with a feeling of accomplishment and more importantly – now they know who I am, and if anything will regret not giving me a chance after hearing the voice of such a well rounded, friendly and professional young man.

Another great thing about the coming summer months is the decrease in food intake. This is a straightforward plus point when it comes to budgeting one’s shopping, although the difference is not startling, just noticeable enough. It’s not something which allows a whole change in lifestyle, so I won’t be booking that round-the-world cruise just yet, but the sun does alter the amount of comfort foods I consumed – as much as I could during our lengthy winter period.

Finally, of course we can be all grateful for the decrease in energy costs. As I’ve already stated I have no central heating, so electric heaters were used with some discretion and the gas fire was on for hours during the coldest nights, which cost more than two pounds a day alone.

It’s these very minor changes that contribute to an easier living, some days better than others, and whilst I won’t be having the funds to spend luxurious days relaxing in beer gardens or chuckling over countless and expensive barbecue dinners in the summer rays, I will be thankful that I can enjoy some of the sun and wake up each morning a little less down in the dumps of darkness.

Let’s not overheat, just yet. Clear skies can turn to rain, and that’s as far as I’m going metaphorically. Just be as well as you can and enjoy the sunshine, people! We all deserve it.

photo credit Marti’s Martis via World of Pictures