Friday, 8 January 2021

January: Slow and Gentle Awakening

Hello and Happy New Year! It's been a little while hasn't it? Very excitingly I started my MA at the end of September but studying with MECFS is not easy and I found myself struggling to keep up with all the work of the course let alone anything else. And so, for my own mental health and sanity, I took a little break from blogging. But I am back! And hoping to be writing a few more articles for my little corner of the internet. I will however, be careful not to put any pressure on myself and just take it as it comes so if I disappear again please know I'm just busy with assignments and will be back again soon. 

For my first blog post of 2021 (how is it 2021 already?!) I wanted to share something new I am trying this year. In 2021 I have decided to set an intention for that month. It is very different to the list of goals I'd like to achieve each month, instead it is more like a theme to bring focus to that time. This month my focus is going to be "Slow and Gentle Awakening". 

I love that new year feeling. The fresh start, blank page, new leaf, begin again kind of feeling. But I am also aware that January is a dark and cold month. A great time to set intentions for the year but not necessarily a time to achieve all of those goals. The scream from our culture of "change your life", "begin again", "start a new you", can often seem quite shiny in those first few days but as we come to the end of that first week the cold and the dark ebbs away at our motivation and we are left feeling as though we have somehow failed. 

A few years ago when I refused a piece of cake my friend offered me in January she told me in her perfect Parisian accent that starting a diet in January was an awful idea. We should hunker down, eat cake, hibernate and start the weight loss in March. Now, I'm not telling you start losing weight in January or March (unless you really want to) but it did really make me think twice about the new year and how we set ourselves up for it. Since that conversation back in January 2017, I have been careful not to fill my first month with unachievable goals but instead start to slowly and gently move towards the year I want to have. 

January for me is now a time to set my intentions for the year, to begin to make plans but also to plan to execute them further into the year. It is a time for quiet reflection, rest and beginning to fan the flames of a small spark that will take you through the next 12 months. I have many goals for this year but instead of trying to achieve them all within the first few weeks I have taken a step back, looked at what I want to get out of this year and then begun to make tiny steps towards those. 

Some of the things I am doing this month include:

Starting some yoga. It is my goal to get back the yoga practise I had before becoming ill but I know this will take time and patience and so this month I am starting to do a few slow and simple stretches a few times a week. Just to get back into it. 

Another thing I would like to do this year is write the first draft of my book and so in January I am starting to collate all the ideas and notes that have been on my phone for the last few months. Nothing concrete, nothing major, just a bit of simple note taking ready for a summer of writing. 

I am also aiming to get back down to the weight I was before I became ill and therefore am spending this month slowly making changes to the way I eat so that by February it's begun to become more of a habit to choose the right foods. 

Those are just a few of the things I am doing in January to make my 2021 goals happen. Alongside these I am also beginning a new self care and sleep routine as I believe January with its cold, dark evenings is the perfect time to do this. I am taking time to paint my nails, have long luxurious bubble baths with a book in the evening, begin a proper skincare routine again and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. As the days get lighter, and the temperatures warmer, I hope a lot of these self care routines will become habit. For me winter is the perfect time to focus on self care especially now, in the UK, we are in lockdown. If you can only focus on one thing this month let it be self care. Find some little things you can do that make you feel pampered, and cosy and happy. 

But at the centre of it all I will coming back to slow and gentle awakening. Like the roots that are currently wiggling around in the soil ready to bring life to new shoots in February. It is not a time to go full throttle into new ideas, instead it is a time to slow down, be gentle with myself and allow inspiration to flicker in the distance. 

I hope you enjoyed having a little look into my January intention. I would to hear any of yours for this month and I hope you have had a wonderful first week of the month. 


1 comment

  1. Hi Rachel,
    This really chimes with me. I am too aiming to be kinder to self. I must stop rushing around and do too many things at the same time. Time to read and think is in order. I find the University course quite full on, but hope to have more time to write for pleasure (and maybe publishing) especially as I am considering to go part-time.
    Wishing you a calm and reflective January.
    Monique Gadella


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