First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe we’re in the year 2020 already. Unfortunately, with the new year comes the worst month. January, yuk.
January is just the longest month but also the most miserable. Not only do you have to suffer the financial backlash of Christmas and wait even longer until the next pay day but there is so much social pressure to better yourself, make big changes to your life and announce them to the world. Why? There’s a huge fad to start diets with the new year but I honestly think that this is the worst time of year to do it. It’s still winter! Biologically, our bodies are still craving comfort food and foods with higher calorific value. Only a few generations ago, we had to consume more food to survive the winter and since it was in short supply we had to find food with higher fat content.
Do you also find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the mornings? Its thought that our ancestors slept longer in the winter in order to burn less calories as food supply was low. Instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to work in the fields and burn more calories, they would sleep longer and conserve energy.
I, personally, feel the lowest in January (and usually February) mostly due to coming down from the hype of Christmas. Now, the days are still short, the home looks bare and no one is celebrating. People don’t go out together because they’re trying to make it through until payday, people aren’t drinking or eating ‘naughty’ foods and people bully themselves about what they need to ‘resolute’.
Every year I find myself in a grey day slump for 2 months. Last year, I was too busy to notice with a new baby. This year, I prepared. For Christmas, I asked for lots and lots of books. I thought I would read my way through the slump and therefore my mind would be on vacation for the majority of it. I think I will do this every year. Not only did my mind have the opportunity to transport somewhere else, but even when I wasn’t reading, my mind thought of its vacation spot. While changing Olivia’s nappy, my mind wondered to ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and other lies’ instead of how miserable the weather is. Before I fall asleep my head thought of ‘The Proposal’ rather than my never ending to do list.
It’s not just the reading. It’s transforming it into a form of self care. I light a candle, I cuddle up to Cody with a blanket, take a few deep breaths and immerse myself in the moment. It’s a great way to be present and switch off.
I also started journaling. At first, I was using it as a way of dumping my thoughts, worries and hopes but after reading ‘The Witch’s Book of Self Care’ by , I tried other methods of journaling for self care. It took my mind off my worries and made me focus on the things I love and am grateful for.
One of the books I started reading was ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ by Matt Haig. In this beautifully outlined book, Haig talks about his own personal struggles, the trial and errors he went through to solve them and why society may be feeling this way. Tucked between this are beautiful quotes and pieces of texts on the matter that I found very resonating. The chapters are short and for that reason I like this book as a bedtime read. You don’t have to force yourself to persevere 5 more pages until the end of the chapter as your eyes get heavier.