Welcome to the New Year! January is a great time for a fresh start. Take this opportunity to rest, and focus on self-care, dreams & intentions rather than New Year Resolutions.
First of all, Happy New Year to You! Whilst I had a lot to be grateful for in 2022 I will admit to being glad it is over and whilst I’m not pinning any expectations on 2023, I do have hopes for it and feel that as our collective resilience has levelled up, we can face what comes next with determination and grace.
But, some downtime first would be nice, right!?! And I have to be honest and say that no matter the type of year I have had before, I'm always glad when January comes around - I like to think of it as the "Sunday" of months.
December is like one big Saturday night out – it’s hectic, fun-filled, overwhelming, overindulgent, loud and showy. Then January comes around and for this introvert, it feels like a much-needed reason to slow down.
The last month of the year has this frantic energy that makes me feel anxious – a constant feeling that I am forgetting something; that perfection is tugging at one sleeve whilst obligation and expectation are tugging at the other. It’s All The Things, All The Time and then, there's the constant pressure to have fun the whole time too – Exhausting.
In comparison, January used to feel like a miserable chore – everyone would be flat after Christmas and as an empath, that was the energy I picked up too. Not to mention that after a month of enforced excess and revelry, suddenly with the tick of a clock, we’re all expected to be busy losing weight, getting fit, smashing goals, staying hydrated and being our best selves EVER. More exhaustion!
Then, one January as I reflected on December having big Saturday vibes, I reasoned than would make January the Sunday of the year.
Imagine reframing January with the energy of one giant, lazy, cosy wintery Sunday – actual bliss! Here are 3 ways I gift myself a month of Sundays:
1. Intentionally staying home in the warm; reading all the books; catching up on trashy box sets with a face mask, foot soak or home manicure all whilst something nourishing bubbles in the slow cooker. Sundays can be a good opportunity for some self-care indulgence – so imagine a whole month of them! We tend to have fewer plans/spare money in January (especially now, right?) so it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some time on yourself and just be.
And to be honest, this isn’t anything new as this is the time of year your ancestors would have gathered around fires; crafted by candlelight; cooked whatever was in the stores; nourished their bodies, slept and told stories. They lived in tune with the seasons and it served them well to have times of rest – the opposite of our modern-day hustle culture which has devalued non-productive time.
In nature, this is the season of rest too – little grows in the Winter – instead, seeds wait patiently for light and warmth to wake them whilst the Sun lazily moves from East to West in a sleepy, shallow arc. When you stop resisting rest and instead lean into it, then it can feel wonderfully nourishing and freeing.
2. Taking walks wrapped up against the cold whenever the sun shows its face to top up on Vitamin D. As with all things, balance is important and heaven knows I’d love nothing more than to hibernate through the winter, but it’s also important to make sure we get some sunlight and big lungful’s of fresh air too.
Sunlight is essential for the production of vitamin D – the levels of which drop in the Winter months when we see less of the sun and that can leave us feeling sluggish in the short term and long term can impact muscle and bone health. Being out in Nature is also a great way to support your mental health too - there is much joy in spotting robins hopping through hedgerows; following a frosty path through woodland or blowing the cobwebs away at the beach.
A good wintery Sunday for me usually includes a blustery walk in the local park followed by a veggie-packed soup or stew so I also try and pack as much of that into January too.
3. Planning out what I want to do for the rest of the year based on how I want to feel when December next comes rolling back around. Sundays are usually the day I look at the week ahead and plan what I need to do to make sure the week goes as well as possible. For January, that translates to looking at the year ahead; mapping out my goals and making a plan to put me in the best position to achieve them.
I gave up on setting impossible New Years’ Resolutions a long time ago and instead adopted an approach of getting really clear on my intentions and how I want to feel.
Intentional, value-based living is more powerful than a simple resolution because it’s more than surface level – it’s a soul mission that is powerfully motivating so even if you go off course, you can reset and restart. There is no failing with intentions or soul goals – only lessons and course correction as you go.
The tools I use for setting and keeping in touch with soul goals and intentions is a practice of meditation and journaling. They are simple, adaptable practices that are perfect for cosy, candle lit January evenings. There is no rush to have just one day where you set resolutions and then have to stick to them for a whole year.
What about if instead, you gifted yourself a whole month to feel what you want your 2023 to look like and set yourself up to step into come February, as the days start stretching into Spring and you can fill yourself with that energy and light?
There you have my invitation to have a month of whatever a cosy Sunday means and feels like to you. It really is as simple as giving yourself permission to slow down and lean into the restful, restorative energy of Winter so that when Spring arrives you are ready to leap in.
Looking for some Self Connection time - check out the Dark Moon Club.