January used to really bum me out. I don’t like the cold; the short, dark days; or driving in snow and ice. Now, while I can’t say I have worked up to celebrating or delighting in January, I have achieved a very satisfying tolerance.
I get pretty zealous with my self-care in trying times and that can be a supremely rewarding thing if one gives oneself over to it. I know, objectively, what has been proven to make people happy and January is all about hunting down my happy.
- I socialize. I may be an introvert, but being home all day without structure or interaction does not make me a happy person. This month I have made sure to have at least one get-together with a friend planned every week, and often more than that. I hosted a game night with friends, I invited my husband on a date, have arranged multiple lunches and brunches, and I made plans to meet up with my sister to cap off the month.
- I exercise. I know a lot of people made resolutions to lose weight or reach other physical goals. My primary motivation to work out is what it does for me emotionally. It also helps that my exercise of choice these days is Zumba…I “shake it off” with a fantastic tribe of women ….2 or 3 times a week.
- I practice gratitude. This one kind of snuck up on me but I’m starting to become aware of the difference it makes. When it’s bitterly cold, I say “at least it’s dry”. When it’s raining, I say “at least it’s not ice”. When it’s snowing, I say “at least it’s only 2 inches”….and so on. Deliberately focusing on the positive has been hugely beneficial.
- I let go. There’s simply no reason to angst about the weather. If the roads aren’t safe, I stay home (or leave work early to get home). If the roads are okay, life goes on as normal. I realize that not everyone is in this position, but my industry is massage therapy and the world will not end if I can’t make it to the clinic. I say, embrace the snow day.
- I focus on domestic pleasures. January is the perfect time to feather one’s nest…or just enjoy said nest. I got a super-soft new blanket and some holiday candles which I have been lighting frequently. I’m trying new recipes in the kitchen like a rustic cassoulet and chicken cacciatore – total comfort food.
- I plan and anticipate. While living in the now is important, anticipation can be positively delicious. I’m not rushing winter along (I like to feel like I’ve “earned” the spring when it arrives, and delight in it all the more) but it’s nice to take sporadic mental breaks and start looking ahead to a summer vacation…or even the film festival weekend slated for March.
Here’s hoping you can find the light in every day….even if the sun sets at 5 p.m.