Be good to yourself: the alternative January survival guide

Chocolate and whisky truffles 4

This is my first week back at work after two weeks off. Normally, when I have 14 days to play with, I go on a foreign holiday or sandwich a city break in between doing various fun activities. But the Christmas break seems to serve a different purpose for me (and most people, I suspect) in that it’s a time to do very little but eat, drink and be merry.

I was ill for the first three weeks in December, so I took the stance of chilling out very seriously, to help me get better. I did nothing; no gym workouts, no life admin, no clearing out of cupboards, or bagging up of old clothes. These are the things I usually do when I have time off at home and I neglected all of them. Instead, I did nothing and it was bliss.

Now we’re into January and we’re bombarded with inspirational blog posts and videos bestowing the virtues of motivation, success and pursuing that ‘you you’ve always wanted to be’. It’s overwhelming and, in my opinion, not that good for you. In some instances, it can have the opposite effect, which is far from the initial intention.

Rather than play along with all of January’s abstinences, I propose a different tack; to be good to myself. As much as Edinburgh is a beautiful city, Scotland is a bitter mistress at this time of year. It’s cold, it’s windy and the hours of daylight are limited to the times when I’m indoors. That’s a pretty bleak landscape by all accounts, so why would I add insult to injury by forsaking the things that give me joy, all in the name of getting fitter/healthier/losing all the cheese weight I worked so tirelessly to gain in December? I say no to all of it.

Instead what I say yes to is not the excess of the festive period, but the things that make me feel good. For me, that’s a cup of coffee and a cinnamon bun; a glass of wine by the fire; a hearty bowl of soup with crusty bread. Now is not the time to address any so-called vices but to celebrate the things that make me happy. There are plenty of (brighter, warmer) months ahead to dabble with abstinence, if I have the conviction. But for now, I’ll be indulging in the great and the joyful in order to make January a good month, rather than one to tire of.


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  • https://siobhanclaudevandamme.co.uk/ Siobhan

    YES YES YES YES YES YES YES. I am in total agreement that this is not the time to abstain but the time to nourish. I hope you have a great January and build up the reserves you need for the rest of the year x

  • sileas

    Be good to yourself – that’s by far the best plan for January I’ve heard! Winters ain’t so bad ;)

  • http://ancaslifestyle.co.uk/ Anca

    I agree, it can be overwhelming. I do like to set up some goals, but only small things that can give a little bit of structure.

    Happy New Year! x

  • Sooae Lee