January is seen by many as the hardest month.
Is January as hard as we think? In Western culture we are coming down from an almost month of fun and festivities but alongside that January brings us an expectation that there is a full year ahead to look forward to plan and enjoy. Yes, the decorations are down, yes it may be still ‘cold outside’ but the promise of a fresh start is the perfect way to start the year. If January is so called after the Roman god Janus with two faces so he could see the future and the past, it makes sense to acknowledge his other attribute as god of the doors for ourselves as we can reflect and learn from the past and metaphorically walk through a new door to an even better year
Whilst a sense of normality is regained through routine and day to day life it can provide a respite from the busyness of December and be used as a reflective restful season. There may be a period of adjustment as your home realigns itself to a Monday feeling like a Monday and a weekend having a distinct feeling from the rest of the month.
- To bring some peace and serenity into your life, your home with connotations that this will have a similar impact throughout the year here are some suggestions to do in January – at your own pace.
- Update your dairy, check birthdays, events, appointments, term dates, holidays, special occasions, on-line shopping deliveries or collections, dates to renew insurance policies, car maintenance, anything you can think of.
- Any January or February birthdays should be organised now and posted to the recipient. Buy any March birthday presents now and book restaurants or confirm dates with friends and family.
- Make the first of your regular bank statement checks. Is everything correct? Are there any subscriptions you can cancel? Can you opt to have bank statements on-line only.
- Everyone loves receiving post delivered through the door particularly the positive messages. Start your year of kindness off strong by writing thank you cards for gifts received and to those who hosted over the holidays. If you were the host at any time you may want to thank your guests for accepting your invitation and mention a particular highlight from the occasion shared.
Personally, I am not a fan of resolutions. My thoughts are if you want to make a change the best time to do it is right now, so instead you may choose to create a new habit. It takes the pressure off and is therefore potentially easier to achieve. Every day you can tick what you have achieved and see for yourself how well you are doing.
Had enough of spending in December and the months leading up to the festive season? If you can be brave, you can take advantage of any sales – with the increasing amount of on-line sales you don’t even have to leave the house. I have a policy that if I am bringing something into the house then two things must be removed to replace it. This avoids clutter and allows me to focus on what I really need, either buying or removing. This is a great time however to stock up on Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas cards and decorations at vastly reduced prices. They will come in handy next year as Christmas isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon.With the decorations all taken down and put away (ideally 6th January – Epiphany) there will be physical space to clear and tidy and purge the house of unwanted clutter. Whilst you are doing this you may spot those little jobs that need doing in the house. Write them in your diary with a specific date to focus you and provide more motivation to accomplish it.
With an organised house an organised mind-set will follow and the prospects of a prosperous and successful year too.
With memories of New Years eve still fresh in our mind perhaps consider other cultures from around the world and their unique traditions. These two are favourites as they offer a sense of hope of travel and conviviality with others.
In Spain, it is customary to eat 12 grapes – one at each stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve. Ever grape eater represents good luck for one month of the coming year. In bigger cities like Madrid and Barcelona, people gather in main squares to eat their grapes together and pass around bottles of cava.
In hopes of a travel-filled new year, residents of Colombia carry empty suitcases around the block. A wish for so many of us to fill our suitcases and travel again.
Social – Who did you spend time with and would like to see more of? Add a date to your diary and make plans. Similarly who didn’t you spend enough time with and want to see more of?
Moral – Should we focus on staycations to reduce our environmental impact or travel to broaden the mind?
Spiritual – What is important to you personally this year? What can you do to bring this into your life? Do you need help with your business, personal development? Reach out to someone who can support you?
Cultural – Could you adopt either of these shared traditions with others to add hope and positivity for the year ahead?
February is known for many things; it could be the shortest month of the year or the coldest month of the year or the month of love. You probably know that the original Roman calendar enjoyed by Western culture today only had tern months. At one stage the Romans didn’t demarcate winter and later on two extra months were added, but more about that another time.