Let’s face it, January can be bleak. It’s cold, you’ve got a Christmas excitement hangover, and everything seems to be in grayscale. However, January can be a great opportunity to give yourself and your future a once-over, to set new systems and goals, and to be good to yourself.
Here I share my list of things to do in January, to help turn this sometimes harsh month into a bright, fun, productive one:
Mind & Body
Scrub Off The Holidays
‘Tis the season to exfoliate. Exfoliation removes dry, dead skin cells and allows new healthy cells to thrive and be able to absorb the new expensive moisturiser you got for Christmas. It also helps your body to detoxify, in case you overdid it in December (you had a lot of fun though, right?). The light in January is not as flattering as in summer months, so polished, moisturised skin is your friend.
Have Beautiful Hands & Feet
Get a mani/pedi if you’ve got funds for this sort of thing in January, or do it yourself. Ladies, choose a colour that makes you happy. I tend to go for a pleasing pale pink or a bright fuchsia if I need extra cheering up. While everybody else’s hands are roughed up from the awful weather, yours will look super looked-after and this will make you feel better.
Take 20-30 minutes every day to meditate. Find somewhere comfortable and warm to sit, close your eyes, breathe, and clear your mind. This isn’t a time to think of to-do lists, so ignore those thoughts when they pop up (or do free-listing first, see below). There are so many approaches to meditation, so if you haven’t done it before, do some research until you find a method that works for you. Or you can come up with your own method. Whatever it takes to silence the mind, relax, and get back in tune with your whole self.
Eat Lean Protein & Leafy Greens
This combo keeps my blood sugar where it needs to be for a productive, relaxed, sane state of mind. My blood sugar can turn me into an evil dictator if I don’t keep it balanced. Grilled chicken & sautéed kale and onions never fails for me but there are so many options…
If you’re craving sweets because the holidays have conditioned your sweet tooth into dominance, go for a nice high-protein greek yogurt and a banana for sweetness. My yoga sister adds cocoa powder to this which tastes naughty but is not. In desperate times I add honey. If I avoid sweets one day I always wake up the next day with lots of energy. Try it.
I learned this one from my teacher sister, candles brighten up the room and provide a relaxed, almost ceremonial atmosphere. She uses tall taper candles and puts them everywhere. I’m burning a Diptyque Figuier as I write this, mmm.
Whether it’s yoga, pilates, or everyday stretching, treat your body to being loose, unlocked, and flexible. It will help bloodflow, speeding up detoxification, and you will walk taller and appear much more relaxed. Hey you, sit up straight.
Make a list of all the wonderful things that happened last year, and the things in your that life you are thankful for. Take a moment to account for your positive attributes, talents, family, friends, dog, etc. Isn’t life beautiful?
Now that you’re relaxed, feeling healthy, and looking polished, you can start getting organised for the year ahead. December is Indeedy Inc.’s busiest month of the year, so I have to be pretty organised just to keep up with my events and prep. This means that things like deep cleaning, organising, personal finance, and future planning take a back seat for a month. Here’s how I’m going to kickstart it all again:
Organisation & Productivity
Also known as clutter-clearing. This is supposed to feel cleansing, it shouldn’t be something you dread. Find a junk drawer, a pile of receipts, a bag of unmatched socks (yes, I have one of these) and sort it out. And then you might be ready to edit the bookcase that is overflowing and turning into some sort of literary Jenga (I’ve got this one too).
Since there is not a lot of light in January, we need all we can get. That’s why I clean my windows to let as much sunshine in as possible. I also tend to do a deep-clean of the entire place in January to ‘wash last year away’. You will be extra good at this if you were raised Catholic and feel guilty about how much wine you drank over the holidays.
Create/Update Your Household Budget
If you’re a 9 to 5er, boy do I feel for you this month. You probably won’t be paid until January 31st which is a loooong time to wait. Freelancers will be used to this sort of waiting game because of slow-paying clients, but it’s still not fun. Now is a good time to take a look at what your outgoings vs. incomings are and figure out where you can tighten the belt. But even more importantly, create a system that you will update every month from here on in to keep track of your finances. This can be a spreadsheet with friendly pink and purple colour-coding and pictures of Ryan Gosling at the bottom of the table. Whatever gets you to that spreadsheet on a regular basis.
Would you attempt driving somewhere you’ve never been before without consulting a map? Set yourself an hour or two to sit down, write out where you are now in respect to the area of life you want to improve (assessment), and then write down where you want to be (goal-setting). January is a great month to do this because we feel like we have a clean slate. Forget the past, let’s move forward.
Of course I’m going to say this, I’m a list-making expert. But on this occasion I am recommending you have a free-listing session. It’s like free-writing but in list format, and this really helps me quiet my mind and form my thoughts and ideas. If you find your brain overflowing with ideas, to do’s, or worries, then this practice will definitely help you solve, create, take action, or have the mindspace to meditate. We’ll be doing some of this at I Love Lists on the 28th of January at Drink, Shop & Do in Kings Cross, London.
Whatever leaps to mind when you read this entry is probably the thing you’re putting off that’s bothering you most. For me, it’s always a trip the dentist or doing my taxes. Identify what you’re putting off and blast it away with your powerful January superhero self.
Laugh A Lot
For me, January is a month for comedy. I like to consume vast amounts of comedy from film, television, YouTube, and live stand-up to keep my mood light. The goal here is to laugh, laugh, laugh, as much as possible. Surround yourself with your funniest friends this month.
I am very lucky that my profession incorporates playtime and fun on a regular basis so I’m never short in the ‘Have Fun’ category! I hope these tips help you feel more organised and grounded this month, and don’t forget to take it easy on yourself!
Jess Indeedy, co-founder of Indeedy Inc.