January — Ugh.
I don’t know if it’s the post-holiday slump or the fact that I’ve added another year to my age, but January is a rough month for me.
A full toolbox is key to making it through these times, and I’ve spent a few years gathering the tools I need to survive the month. Here are a few ways I’m facing January head on:
1. Gentleness. I’m trying to be kind to myself. I know January’s got my number, and there’s no use beating myself up when I don’t get the house clean or I get frustrated at the kids. I’m a much happier, more patient person with others when I am gentle with myself.
2. Chocolate. I have to be careful with this one, as I can lean into sugar addiction. But an occasional treat in moderation can brighten a dreary day. (It can also give me a sugar high when my body is fatigued and needs rest — so once again, moderation).
3. Exercise. The YMCA is my happy place right now. My kids know Mommy has to exercise to be a better mommy. I rotate dance class, yoga, and the elliptical to keep things fresh.
4. Friends. Whether it’s a quick hug on the playground or a night out with the girls, staying in touch with a community of friends keeps me grounded and healthy. Isolation is a breeding ground of mood disorders.
5. Margins. I tend to live life without margins, packed full with no room for divine appointments (or punctuality, for that matter). The Nester and The Tiny Twig have been writing about living with broad margins this month, right when I need to hear it most. I’m more likely to find peace with a slow, under-scheduled week.
5. Acceptance. No matter how hard I work at it, sometimes January still gets the best of me. Sometimes I need to let the kids watch that extra bit of TV. Sometimes I need to get takeout for dinner. And that’s ok. When January has me on my knees, praying for guidance, for peace, and for the energy to parent two vivacious kids, that’s exactly where I need to be.
Maybe you’ve tried some of these tools and still find yourself stuck. January also is a great time to seek some extra help. My own experiences have taught me that gentleness and acceptance sometimes come with the help of a trusted counselor and medication. If you think that sounds like a good fit for you, consider if now is the time to give it a try.
Wishing you a victorious month, my friends.