Oh January, you are so blue! In my last post, I talked about how January can feel totally overwhelming and miserable thanks to it's long, dark, dreary days. Feeling motivated has been challenging to say the least but I've made a vow to myself this year not to let the bad vibes get the better of me.
As part of easing myself into the new year, I have put anything too taxing on hold until February at least, when hopefully I will feel like I can tackle it wholeheartedly. Spring cleaning and de-cluttering will be the first on my list - that usually gets me motivated, but I just do not have the enthusiasm for it just yet!
I've been taking January easy; lots of pampering, good food and taking things slow have been top of my list so I'm not left feeling totally frazzled before the year has barely begun.
I think January is the perfect time of year to regroup and get some balance. Don't push yourself too hard - take some time out to relax and plan your year ahead. Achieve small goals to stay productive and make time to look after yourself.
I wanted to share some of the things I have been doing to keep me feeling positive through the most challenging month of the year...
Look After Yourself
I don't think there is a better time for a little extra self-care. The huge pressure to adopt the 'new year, new me' approach and make resolutions always leaves me feeling strung out and stressed, so I'm making sure to keep the balance. Take things slow and steady, meditate, light some candles, soak your feet, enjoy some peace and quiet... be kinder to yourself. You are never going to be productive in the long run if you're spreading yourself too thin! Make sure you take time to enjoy the little things.
The Little Book of Self-Care by Mel Noakes has some really good tips about how to practise self-care and why it's important in order to stay productive.
Eat Wholesome, Hearty Food
Needless to say, the majority of us probably overindulged over Christmas (I sure did!) Currently all I am craving is warm, comforting, wholesome food after an overdose of chocolate and sugar. Not only is it a must in the cold weather but it is so nice to spend some time in the kitchen. I'm utterly content when there is a hearty broth bubbling away or scents of warm spices are floating through the house. Roasted veggies, cauliflower dahl, Goan fish curry and poached pears are possibly the most uplifting Winter dishes. This rich red curry with roasted vegetables recipe by Minimalist Baker will definitely be happening this week!
Do Nothing, No Guilt
Once you've completed your chores and ticked off your to-do list, cosy down with a hot tea and relax - but most importantly; don't feel guilty for it. Whether it's a long, hot bath or going to bed early to read a book; some down time is essential. Don't give yourself a hard time for not filling every spare minute of the day with productivity. Matt and I have been rewatching The Office (die hard Michael Scott fans over here) and snuggling down for some guaranteed giggles in the evening is much needed to keep me uplifted.
Plan Ahead + Get Organised
It may seem like I have spent most of January lazing around in my pyjamas (Well... maybe just a little!) but I have definitely used the last few weeks productively to plan ahead. I have jumped on the bullet journal bandwagon in order to get organised and gain some clarity. There are lots of things I want to achieve this year and although I don't feel quite ready to tackle them head on just yet, I still want to get my ideas down on paper. Bullet journalling is the perfect way for me to get into the swing of things early on and set the premise for me to stay organised for the year ahead. I have set some long term goals and some smaller, more achievable ones, but this approach is definitely working for me so far - I feel a lot more positive and less overwhelmed.
The miserable weather and lack of sun makes it so easy to hibernate. In previous years I have definitely avoided going outside in the Winter months unless I have to. It may be cold and grey (which I am definitely not built for) but I have been making an effort to get outside. Not only does it keep the cabin fever at bay, but a brisk walk and some cold air definitely perks me up a bit. It also promotes good sleep and improves mood.
Plan a Trip for Spring
Obviously we can't stay in this little relaxed January bubble forever; eventually we have to put our plans into action and start being proactive. So give yourself something fun to look forward to in the months ahead so that it doesn't feel like it's only work that awaits you. Plan a holiday or weekend away, book a table at a nice restaurant or tickets to an exhibition. Put an event in the diary (it doesn't have to be lavish) so there is a treat on the horizon and something to work towards - you'll thank yourself when it comes around. We are thinking about taking a little trip to the Scottish Highlands - has anyone got any recommendations?