Surviving January

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

A lot of people find January hard, especially those struggling with emotional health. There’s the additional challenge at this time of SAD, dark mornings and evenings, cold weather, the return to work from holiday, high numbers on the weighing scales and the Christmas decorations coming down. This post isn’t intended to be particularly profound, just some little practical thoughts on getting through the month or two ahead. I’m also aware that this year is exceptionally difficult due to the sudden new lockdown.

Anyway, here are some thoughts about things for this year

  1. When you take the Christmas decorations down, why not keep up some fairy lights around the house to add a little bit of colour and festivity after the tree has been taken down.
  2. Fill the house with music, put CDs on or get the MP3 player set to shuffle.
  3. Read a Psalm each day, find encouragement and nourishment in God’s Word.
  4. Start watching a “box-set” or TV series from Amazon Prime.
  5. Exercise well. Whilst it is darker and colder, this time of year also often seems to be drier. Wrap up warm and head out for walks. Be sure to say hello to people and wave at neighbours as you go past
  6. Regulate your news and social media intake. We can make two mistakes. One is to cut ourselves off entirely. The other is to constantly absorb what often amounts to speculation. Plan to watch the news for a fixed number of times each week. Take time off of twitter and Facebook. Don’t be afraid to mute accounts that cause anxiety. Oh and if someone is bullying you online report and block.
  7. As I said at (6) cutting yourself off completely is a mistake at one extreme. A good antidote to anxiety is truth. Knowing the facts suppresses speculation and helps you to be prepared for possible outcomes

And some things that might need a little planning for next year …

  1. Why oh why do we over eat in December and then hit the diet in January. Isn’t it ironic that the church calendar included a fast building up to the feast. We pig out in Advent and into Christmas then starve ourselves of appetising food in January. Why not reverse that next year and cut back in December? Then prepare to enjoy some tasty treats in January.
  2. We have Advent calendars but what about making a countdown to Easter calendar. You could create it now as something joyful to do at the moment. Start by creating artwork from the gospels leading up to the story of Holy Week. Ad in a Bible verse pointing to God’s grace, something to meditate on each day. Then in Advent this year, seal up some tasty treats in the calendar to enjoy as a family. Finally, when you get to the New Year yo can enjoy your calendar.

Something not to do

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. If it is worth resolving then it shouldn’t wait until January 1st. The resolutions simply become things to break and fail at leading to a sense of legalistic and unwelcome guilt