The nights are getting darker and so are most people's moods - Alexander Brown

The nights are getting darker, and with that so does my mood.

I live in a modest flat with a flatmate I adore, and have repeatedly sung the virtues of working from home.

The joys of cooking a breakfast, working on the balcony, listening to immensely serious briefings while wearing pyjamas in bed.

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I love my space and adore my flat. But it was easier when I didn’t spend so much time in it.

Last month, during the highs of Tory conference, I pulled my hamstring during the journalist football match versus the Conservative MPs.

Despite my injury, we won 4-0, with my admittedly slightly slower wing play making them look like men several decades my senior who do not regularly play football.

But now I can’t run or do any kind of football for another five weeks, and I am totally bereft.

The walls now feel like they’re closing in, my home seeming oppressively compact until I remember it still doesn’t retain warmth.

The nights are drawing in. Picture: Getty Images

My evenings were so often broken up by rushing to a game after work, the socialising that entails, and the drinks or dinners that could follow.

Even if it was just a game, it was still an hour running outside, feeling fitter, happier and like I was breaking up my evening a little.

It gave me cause to see my male friends, never the best at just seeing each other for the sake of company.

If it wasn’t football it was tennis or even just the pub, something I could skip the horrors of maskless public transport with by cycling.

But with any long distances a risk, unless I can convince people to travel in the dark to near me, even that has been taken away.

Now the nights stretch before me like a yawning abyss. I find myself ignoring my own advice and starting new video games or television shows.

I give them a few disinterested hours, often looking over my phone, only to ditch them entirely.

This then allows me to get to the real bulk of my evenings; doom scrolling on Twitter and Instagram, waiting for something to happen so I feel a semblance of existing by tweeting and being a part of it.

By the time I’ve decided on something to do, it’s then already too late to start.

Yet it is ironic to feel this lonely when so many of my friends are going through the same thing.

People don’t want to walk home in the dark as much, especially now, and a willingness to travel across a city dissipates as winter takes hold.

So we need exist online and convince ourselves we’ll get new hobbies, downloading wellness apps and watching YouTube tutorials of things we’ll never try.

On the plus side, I’m doing remarkably better on Duolingo, though I resent its incessant passive aggressive reminders.

I even considered getting back into Warhammer, forcing me to stage an intervention on myself.

I could get back into baking, but that seems a risk when I can’t exercise off my admittedly magnificent range of cakes.

Frankly I don’t know how to spend all this extra time indoors, but with so much of it in front of me, there is no rush to decide.

Alexander Brown is a columnist for Scotland on Sunday and Westminster Correspondent for The Scotsman

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