Are you being kind to yourself?
Here we are speeding towards the middle of January… barely a month ago it was all very different! You may well have been looking forward to treats, surprises, lovely food and plenty of festive tipples. Perhaps cosy times on the sofa were scheduled, a Christmas movie, a PJ day and almost certainly a chance to relax. Perhaps spending time with friends and family featured. Decorated homes, candles & lights, the scent of cinnamon, expectation and hopefully goodwill to all, patience and smiles! For many of us, Christmas offers a kind of suspension of any usual “rules.” I don’t need much of an excuse to overindulge and when everyone else is partaking, who wants to be left out? But the big question is, are you being kind to yourself?
So what happens in January? Why are we so harshly catapulted into such a contrasting month where any one or more of the following may feature… just because it’s January?
- Decorations, lights and cosiness banished, a bleachy smell replaces festive aromas
- Harsh exercise regimes initiated – possibly involving Lycra running in the dark and hurling tyres about…
- A definitive ban on drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Paracetamol may be “allowed”
- All drawers, cupboards and wardrobes must be emptied, clutter banished and a list of DIY jobs compiled
- Compulsory trips to the tip, charity shop are enforced, where you try to avert your eyes from potentially “useful” stuff other people seem to be disposing of…
- Spending must be curbed, “Is it a want or a need,” could be asked. Constant references to what you’ve already had and money spent may be referred to.
And then there is food…
And then there’s the issue of food… from unlimited, unrestricted treats, cakes and chocolate biscuits to 2 boiled eggs, a bowl of soup and a chicken breast with veg. 1 apple and 30g of nuts replaces a generous slice of Christmas cake (well it might go off…) several cheese boards, a Terrys chocolate orange and a bag of dark chocolate coated popcorn topped with raspberry pieces. (Thinking about it, that festive popcorn was borderline “healthy!” – although 700 calories a bag…) Oh, it’s all so harsh, doesn’t feel very fair and feels somewhat frugal. Definitely bar humbug and all a bit miserable.
Additionally, perhaps your “revelations” or resolutions for 2018 involved thoughts around a productive use of time – you may well have decided to,
- Write in a journal
- Learn Spanish or Japanese
- Master that guitar you’ve had for 2 years, that you’ve managed to pull out from behind the exercise bike that doubles up as a clothes dryer… perhaps it has been saved from the “Clutter Cull” and not experienced the same fate as the dart board and DVD collection…
- Do some mindfulness or meditation
- Learn to play chess, do some word games, or improve your vocabulary
- Limit your time on social media (just one quick sneaky look a day, just to see how everyone else is getting on with their “January” )
- Read more and watch less TV, in particular, box sets which don’t give you enough time to consider whether you want to be launched into the next episode… well it’s started now…
Are you exhausted just thinking about it?
Goodness me, I’m quite exhausted considering all the endless possibilities of change. Learning more, doing more, eating and spending less, cleaning, sorting, organising, restricting, measuring, comparing and why? Why would people feel it necessary to embark upon such a regimented regime of strictness? What is it about January, why should that be the designated month of overhaul and expectation of change? Why set yourself a barrage of tasks to be completed with aching limbs and a rumbling tummy? All in the name of January… I feel sorry for anyone with a birthday in January… the month of change.
Congratulations to all those just doing it…
Well done to all those people who handle January effortlessly. Who seamlessly move from allowed to banned, couch to track, TV to being fluent in Chinese. Perhaps your home was always free from clutter and you can already play the piano.
To those who are finding it all a little bit too much…
But for everyone else, my advice is to be kind to yourself in January… don’t let the loveliness of Christmas become a figment of your imagination and perhaps consider incorporating some of the following suggestions into your week.
- You probably enjoyed “relaxing” over Christmas. Give yourself some time to rest, perhaps read or listen to some music, take some time out from your usual routine to be still.
- Try to get some fresh air, at a local park, beach or open space. Notice how nature is busying itself with preparations for Spring.
- Snuggle up on the sofa and watch a favourite movie, this doesn’t have to blow your diet, choose treats wisely, savour and enjoy.
- Visit a local art gallery, watch a play – discover what’s new in your city
- Meet up with your family and friends, liking their pictures on facebook and “knowing” what everyone is up to isn’t always the real deal…
- Treat yourself to a nice candle, bubble bath or scrub, take some time out to look after your body, moisturise, paint your toenails, deep condition your hair and pamper yourself.
- Eat well, plan and cook delicious meals which are filling, warm and above all tasty! Prioritising your health is essential and vitally important. Enjoy the process because it needs to be sustainable.
- What are you looking forward to? If there is nothing that excites you on the horizon, plan something ahead…
and finally, if you are worried about something, consider these wise words.
“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, what is the use of worrying?” Shantideva
What about all the other stuff?
What about all the other stuff?? Well saying you’re going to do something isn’t the same as actually doing it and crossing it off the list. Try to avoid information overload, analysis paralysis or feeling overwhelmed, this is counterproductive and could jeopardise your plans.
Initially, maybe focus on one or a few key things. Make an appointment with yourself as to what and when something will be considered, started or completed. Acknowledge how far you have come and celebrate every achievement. It’s easier to start reprimanding yourself for not doing something than commending yourself for something you did do…
Above all, be kind to yourself!
So, above all, remember January is not the only month in the year when you could consider doing things differently and instigate positive change. Being consistently kind to yourself will reap far more rewards than beating yourself up over not doing all you signed yourself up for as the clock struck twelve and 2018 arrived. Make it a year of celebrating your qualities, acknowledging all the lovely things about you and remembering that some bits of you are perfect the way they are! Looking after yourself, being kind to you and those around you, caring for yourself and allowing yourself time to rest will set you in good stead for the year to come and those that follow.
Thanks for reading. If you are interested in the different types of posts we write takealookaround our site. In addition, consider going Danish! When it comes to being kind to themselves, the Danes have got it sorted with their love of hygge… read our post here. They are, after all, the happiest folk in the world!