It goes without saying that at the beginning of every year we are bombarded with the New Year new you messages, we are prompted to diet, to exercise, to make new year’s resolutions, we are expected to be incredibly optimistic for the year ahead.
I am optimistic for the year ahead but I also feel very strongly that January isn’t the time for great change, let’s face it, historically and I’m talking Stone Age time here, we would’ve been hibernating in January and February re-emerging in March as the daffodils pop their heads above the soil and the buds appeared on the trees and that seems much more sensible to me.
I know I’ve spoken about this before but I never make new years resolutions, for me January and February is about being kind to myself it’s about how to cope and manage grey drizzly days, it’s about getting outside when there is sunshine, getting rest when I can and making plans for my year ahead and I don’t mean goals I mean plans.
So why am I talking about self preservation? Having talked to many clients these last couple of weeks I also recognise that this is the time of year where we can find ourselves indoors a lot more, we perhaps feel a little blue, lots of people are feeling exhausted by the last two years and the relief of getting through Christmas and back to some sort of normality is actually even more exhausting. We need to preserve our energy, prioritise how we use it so that we can enjoy the year ahead.
With my husband back at work and spending a lot more time on my own I’m very conscious of not sitting and just scrawling through my phone – engaging on Twitter is not a conversation, sitting looking at endless Facebook posts won’t improve my mood. Yes posting some nice pictures on Instagram can be enjoyable but like everything, in moderation. I’m limiting the amount of news I watch at the moment, watching it once a day is quite enough, the circus will continue whether I watch the news first thing in the morning or another 3 times during the day and I certainly don’t need to look at the news app on my phone as well!
So it’s about self preservation, it’s about finding coping techniques that enable you to push forward through the drizzle but at a gentle and manageable pace. I have actively discouraged my clients to jump on the diet bandwagon (obviously unless they really want to after all it is their choice) and as for dry January, again, if it’s something that brings you joy if it gives you a sense of achievement why the hell not? If it makes you blinking miserable then why would you do it? There are other ways and other times to press the reset button.
So if you are struggling this January, if you are finding it hard to get going please know that you are not alone and perhaps take some time to look at how you can be a little kinder to yourself? Perhaps there are ways that you could do things more gently? If you want to get back on track with healthy eating makes some small achievable changes don’t rush in with large unachievable diets. If you want to exercise more, great but again do it gently build up to it, make it something you want to do something that’s achievable not something that makes you miserable.
Finally look at the things that bring you small amounts of joy into your life, they don’t have to be big things – the chat with a friend, the coffee with a mate, the dog walk in winter sunshine, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea all of these things can be restorative and are crucial for both our physical and mental well-being and maybe January and February is the time for hibernation, restoration, for healing and for getting prepared for spring?