While we don’t get snow here in Northern California, much of my winter looks like this. Cold and dark. It takes a bit of effort, but I’ve got a few ways I make my January light.
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January is just a month, right? A month like all the others? Except that in the northern hemisphere it’s cold. And dark. Both things that I am remarkably sensitive to.
Over the many Januarys of my life, I’ve come up with a few tactics for getting through this cold, dark month. Meaning, I don’t spend all 31 days under both of my down comforters eating nothing but dark chocolate. Which is what I feel like doing.
This list is an ever-adjusting work-in-progress (as most things are in my life), but here is what is working well for me right now.
How I Make January Light:
For my body…
- Add Light. Obvious, but you’d be surprised. I used to think I could just muddle through with whatever sunshine happened to show up each day, but that just wasn’t cutting it. I invested in this light therapy lamp (which I have written about before) and it’s been marvelous. I also try to bundle up and go outside (even for just a little bit) when the sun is actually shining. It makes a difference.
- Add Heat. Again, obvious, but it’s funny how I have to remind myself. I’m not a fan of bundling up, but I’m positively miserable when I’m cold. I add heat by wearing layers (even in the house), using cozy blankets, taking hot baths, and warming up therapy rice bags for my bed. I’m soooo much happier when I’m warm.
Feel free to laugh… but these space-age down booties keep my feet nice and warm!
- Eat Nutritious Food. I’m usually coming down off the sugar-laden holidays when January hits. I’ve learned that the worst thing I can do for myself is try to soothe my January blues with sugar. It makes it so much worse for me. More than any other month, I try to stick with lean meats, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. The best part is that I make them into nice warm soups and stews! Warm, nourishing food is my body’s best friend in the winter.
- Move, Move, Move. No, not move to Fiji (though don’t think I haven’t considered it.) I have to move my body. Like I said earlier, my inclination is to hibernate in a soft warm bed, but my body does so much better if I move it. Ironically, when I move my body, I get warmer. (Can you see me roll my eyes at myself?) The key for me is to move in a way that I like. Because if I don’t like it, let’s be honest, it’s not gonna happen. This January, I’m taking a Monday morning tap class (best way to start a Monday!) The rest of the week I do some yoga poses and then go walk on the treadmill in our garage. I like yoga, so that’s not hard to convince myself, but to convince myself to get on the treadmill, I listen to a podcast. Two for one!
My yoga mat is rolled out on my bedroom floor, ready for me to jump on.
- Make It Smell Good. I love my essential oil diffuser. And I really love adding orange, lemon, lime, or peppermint oils to the diffuser in January. All those citrus fruits are ripening in my backyard, but I can bring their delicious, mind-lightening aromas right into my home. I also love this little necklace diffuser that my sister gave me. I can wear that lovely smell around with me anywhere. Breathing deep and smiling.
- Crank Up the Tunes. I keep thinking I want to come up with a playlist for January. It would include songs like, “I’m Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves. Maybe I’ll finally do it this year! I’ve written before about how music is medicine for my soul. In January I need that medicine.
For my mind…
- Pray/Meditate. The best way to get “Light” into my mind is by connecting with the Source. Every morning and every night will find me in prayer. There I remember who I am, what I am doing here, and that He is with me.
- Choose Light Entertainment. I’ve learned this the hard way. It is really bad if I read or watch very dramatic, heavy, sad stories in January. Really bad. Instead, I’m very deliberate about choosing books or shows that lighten my mind, lift me up, and make me smile. Time in the scriptures every day does that too.
- Learn and Create. I feel so much better any time of the year when I feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my mind. So, while curling up in those comforters doing absolutely nothing has it’s appeal, I find I’m so much happier if I’ve got a project my brain is working on. This January I’m having entirely too much fun learning how to play the ukulele I got (and begged for) for Christmas. It makes me so happy!
And I’m also just giddy over planning the family trip we have scheduled for February. I can’t get enough of the researching and spreadsheeting. (Is that a word? I just made it one.)
Take that, you cold, dark January! You’ve gotten the best of me before, but I’ve got a whole box full of tools to help me now. I may just learn to love you again. I’ll let you know on the 31st.
Do you have things you do to get through the cold, dark winter days?
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