Attitudes to January are largely divided into two camps. The January lovers – goal setters and resolution relishers – then there’s those of us who just wants to hibernate in the post-Christmas lull and endless grey days. I fall firmly into the latter camp but, at the same time, I don’t like to wish time away. As I did in my other least favourite month, November, this year I’ve tried to reclaim January. So many of you commented on my Instagram (where the pictures to accompany this post are from) to say you found my tips useful and I hope these are too. They’re not rocket science but I like to leave them here as much as a reminder to myself as anyone else! For other ideas read my archive post about my top ten things about Winter.
As I write this, the wind is whistling down the chimney and the rain is lashing the windows. It is definitely hibernation season. Society can put so much pressure on us with the whole ‘new year, new you’ narrative at this time of year, intensified by the whole new decade too. For too many years I fought the urge to hibernate and instead tried to do everything, all guns blazing, multi-tasking and not doing any of it that well. The fact is that January coincides with four of the busiest weeks of my working calendar and often at this time of year my body starts telling me to slow down. Set some smaller goals and achievements – things that you want to do, not have to do – and cosy up with candles, throws, cushions and a good book.
Last weekend marked both Chinese New Year and Burns Night. I love any excuse for a (themed) celebration, styling the table and cooking up a storm. It’s telling just how many celebrations fall in Midwinter – it’s about so much more than Christmas. Make a big deal of seasonal high days and feast days and have a potluck dinner with friends, decorate with foraged and homemade pieces, early Spring bulbs and gather by candlelight. Or if you’re an introverted soul like myself, you could just do the cooking and decorating bit!
January can be a miserable month of diet ads, sponsored posts for quick-fix weight loss products and endless wellness solutions filling our news feeds. At the same time, ironically, the cold weather has me craving comforting cooking – but you can still partake in cosy kitchen creations without meals that leave you feeling guilty and bloated. I’ve been embracing seasonal soups: the Hairy Bikers’ lentil harissa soup and Anna Jones’ caramelised tofu-topped ‘not chicken soup’ are two favourites. At this time of year I find the key is to balance a hearty base with interesting twists such as spice and citrus and a textured topping is a must.
I’m not talking about becoming a bullet journal devotee overnight or setting yourself unachievable goals or resolutions – more a kind of gentle planning of things to look forward to when the days are lighter and longer. Back in the darkest days of December we spontaneously booked a trip to Paris for February and I’m so glad we did. Since saving for my deposit I’ve not been abroad for years and I’m looking forward to a few days of pastries, a trip to Paris’ famous flea market Les Puces and obligatory Sezane stops. If you have any local recommendations please let me know! Trips abroad aren’t always possible but making a holiday-at-home weekend can be just as fun. We hopped over to Glasgow to explore the Southside last weekend and with a mini itinerary and list of eats to try it felt like we were on a minibreak – all for a £10, 45 minute train ride away.
On days like today the thought of going for a walk might be your last priority, but on cold, crisp days doing just that can be the best tonic. Or even on days like today if you’re better equipped than I am! A few weeks ago we went on a flying visit to Fife to visit the Scottish Deer Centre. I’ve not been since I was a child but it was so beautiful, and amazing to see the deer close up. The Winter life was perfection. There’s nothing like a close encounter with nature to put things into perspective; see also a Winter walk in the woods or an invigorating trip to the beach. I always feel all the better for the fresh air and I certainly appreciate my cosy home even more.
What are your tips for embracing Winter? All pictures via the Everything Looks Rosie Instagram.