2017 is here. I hope you all had a great NYE – although let’s face it, the new year period is always tinged with a certain (unsurprising) disappointment that we didn’t suddenly transform into glamorous and successful versions of ourselves that get up an extra hour early for a run, or actually complete To Do lists instead of only being able to tick off “write to do list” – at the stroke of midnight.
Then comes January – winter doesn’t die with December, oh no, it carries on into the new year, cold winds biting at any exposed skin we foolishly forget to cover up, drenching us in sideways rain, sleet and snow on the one day we forget an umbrella/coat with hood/sensible shoe choice.
The pressure is on to shift that Christmas weight, to make professional and academic goals become a reality, and for most people, with the new year comes a bizarre pressure to suddenly become the person you wish you could be, the person you think you probably could be if you just, you know, took all the enjoyment out of life.
Well I’m in no mood for it.
2016 was by all accounts, a shambles. Politically – it all went to shit. Economically – it didn’t get any better. Personally – a mixed bag.
And so I have resisted the urge to make my January even more of a struggle than it already is and have put together a January survival guide that is all about the self-love and “give yourself a break” variety. It’s what I’m trying to implement in my day to day life, hopefully extending through and out of the depths of midwinter, and maybe it’ll do for you too.
There aren’t many things worse in my opinion, than being too cold. Chilled to the bone. Desperately trying to wiggle your toes to stop them going numb, hunching over in an attempt to shield yourself from the cold so much that your neck locks and your back hunches. It ain’t much fun. But the cold – and in England – the wet – is a sure certainty at this time of year. So layer up, thermals thermals thermals. Tights AND socks, thermal vests under roll neck jumpers under cardigans – a look I’m rocking today with all attempts to look cool left at home along with any semblance of dignity I once had before Winter set in. I like dressing well as much as the next person – but we can all forgo a day or two of looking sassy AF to preserve our fingers and toes.
2. TREAT YOURSELF:
With the mantra of the month being “new year, new me” fly in the face of social pressure about health kicks and personality transformations and just be kind to yourself. It is my firm belief that kindness in any form is a vastly underrated quality, and this includes kindness to one’s self. If your day just isn’t going your way, eat the chocolate bar you’ve been telling yourself off for craving. Invest in that dress/top/skirt/any item of clothing that you’ve had your eye on for ages that’s finally in the sale – and don’t buy it two sizes two small in the hope it will force you into diet and exercise – buy it in your size, wear it for three days straight because you feel so bloody good in it – enjoy it! Frugality and sense are important but so is feeling good, and whilst yes, feeling good about yourself comes from within, there is absolutely nothing wrong in feeling good on the outside too.
3. LEAVE YOUR CAVE + EMBRACE THE LOVE:
Now, I am ALL for wrapping multiple blankets and duvets around oneself, putting the heater on, filling a hot water bottle, draining a glass of wine and eating heaps of pasta. Seriously…ALL FOR IT. But sometimes we can like our own company too much and suddenly the thought of going out to see friends becomes an anxiety invoking prospect when, in reality, you know you’ll have fun, and be glad you left the confines of your (albeit ridiculously comfy) cave-hole-thing and resurfaced into civilised society.
4. WARM THE COCKLES OF YOUR HEART:
For me, January can be a month in which my mood is particularly affected. I’m quite sensitive to my environment, and so often a week of horrible weather can leave me feeling glum, or a heartbreak in my personal life can affect my interactions with friends and family. Most of the time I’m pretty resilient, I can pull my socks up and get on with the task at hand, and I push through the glumness and out the other side. Obviously I still do this in January – I don’t just stop doing life for a month only to pop up on February first ready to kick metaphorical arse.
But, admittedly, I do find it a little more tricky to jumpstart my good mood. My antidote is this: Everyone has something, or multiple things that just make them feel good, that restores their faith in humanity, that gives you perspective whilst at the same time letting you know it’s all okay and you’re doing great. For me it’s little things. The film Pride – one of the most uplifting films I’ve ever watched. The song Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield, or Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Aldi Mint Chocolate – 100x better than Aero. A hot water bottle in your bed a bit before you climb in so that you literally climb into a warm hug at the end of a day. Texting my mum – note to all – mum’s always make things better. I could go on, but whatever it is for you – indulge in those little things that just cheer you up, and remind you that it could be a lot bloody worse!
So there we have it, four little ways I persevere through the January blues. They are by no means full proof, or guaranteed to work 100% of the time. But let’s face it, they’re never going to do you any harm, at the very least you get to eat chocolate, take baths, enjoy and embrace the love around you and rest easy in the knowledge that, without a doubt, you are not alone: we all hate January.
Excuse the rained on frizz ball of hair.
Love, E x