Midwinter. There’s no escaping it. Christmas distracts us, but when that’s over we are left surrounded by laundry, recycling and unwanted tat.

The viruses that were lingering seize their opportunity to take a grip of our exhausted bodies.

We stumble into a new year with a general sense of deflation that is, let’s face it, inevitable after the weeks of celebrations with friends, family and colleagues trying to recreate the Christmas sold to us through sentimental adverts, Christmas songs and films.

Maybe not you. Maybe you manage the whole thing better, and I salute you, but go with me for now.

Whether you’re feeling a sense of anti-climax or relief, the party is over. Whether you are fell-running in your new lycra, impressively alcohol and sugar-free, still fired up by your resolutions, or maintaining as much of a state of hibernation as you can get away with – hell, enjoy.

If we’re lucky, we will all have managed a few moments of contentment within the whirlwind of festivities. For me it was the sudden burst of sunshine just before dusk this Christmas Eve as I drove to collect my eldest from work, like a reassuring kiss from the gods.

I still remember the year my youngest stood on her chair and demanded we all sing The Twelve Days of Christmas before we could eat, or the year it snowed and we were sledging on Hoad so long we decided to postpone the Christmas roast until Boxing Day.

You will have your own memories, but I’m pretty sure they were not those you planned or imagined during all the frenzied preparations – and isn’t this the best thing about them?

Let’s cut ourselves some slack. Joy is fleeting, not a prolonged state of bliss, and that will do.

Let’s lower our expectations a little and aim simply for the odd moment.

A small and unexpected treasure to be discovered. Let’s give up on perfection this year, and just try and make a little time to be with the people we love.

Allow joy to slip in and take us by surprise.