January, the month that universally seems to bring out the blues. Blue Monday, big expectations of new year new you, big plans and twinges of sadness. Where everyone seems to be complaining that it’s cold and dark and wondering when spring will arrive. That they have no money and it’s such a let down time after the magic that is Christmas. Wishing for it to be over. You see it everywhere, social media, the person in the street and even in news on how to beat those January blues or reporting on nothing more than the bleak weather! I know that this can of course be real and I am not at all saying that this isn’t ok. But, if you think about it, if you flip the aforementioned on it’s head then actually January can be pretty great. Like most things I guess it is just how you look at it. And I for one this year am absolutely loving January.
I will say here that I am of course not anti December or Christmas at all, in fact it is my most favourite time of the year and I love every single second. It is however undeniably busy. There is always something to do, presents to buy, school things to attend to or even just the fact that we want to soak up every single last minute and fill every second with Christmas wonder, whilst keeping ordinary lives intact and not forgetting anything major – like perhaps ordering the turkey or that one gift you left till the last minute. For us there is then the joy of Eva’s birthday 5 days after Christmas and it is all go, all excitement and literally non stop with expectations and pressure pretty high. This year I did vlogmas too and I don’t regret that for a moment. Yes it made it even busier and I vlogged and blogged throughout December and Christmas and didn’t take a social media break like lots of others did. I just didn’t want to, completely my choice but these were the moments I wanted to capture and share, to me that was really special.
So once the new year came around, once we had promised ourselves we would stay up to see the new year in and realistically where I fell asleep on the sofa in my pyjamas and then watched the fireworks from the bedroom window, all I felt was a sense of calm. I felt a need to stop for a little bit and not to soak up anything specific or inject anymore magic into our lives but just to stop and breathe, and my goodness have I loved it.
It has of course only been a week and for us normal service resumed pretty much straight away with Eddy back at work and Eva back at school but we went into the month with absolutely no plans at all and I probably feel more calm and collected than I have in a very long time. Now life is busy and I am fine with that, we are celebrating Eva’s belated birthday at the end of January with a little party for her friends and Roma turns 3 on the first day of February., it is still busy, but it feels good to stop and organise things. I haven’t been doing nothing in this time, far from it actually, every place in the house has been organised, wardrobes cleared of clothes than no longer fit, old toys out, new ones in, every cupboard and draw filled with random bits and bobs has been sorted and cleaned and in a sense that has made everyone feels refreshed, organised and happy. After all now everyone can find everything they need rather than having to ask me! I have therefore taken baths with my new lush bath bombs, sat in the still and quiet of a clean uncluttered lounge with candles flickering in the background, watched Netflix with Eddy of an evening and talked about the show, the plot or just generally not been multitasking.
There is really no denying that January is cold, and dark and I would gladly welcome spring right now with open arms but that’s ok. Because when we are cold we know we are lucky that we have a warm place to call home, one that is full of hot chocolate and coffee and family board games. The afternoons and evenings see us snuggling reading and make way for each other. There seems to be no pressure to get out and enjoy the sunshine or go here and there before we miss our chance. I guess I am practicing the art of slow living without even really planning to or realising I was. Of course it can’t last forever, I really ought to blog some, vlog some, get planning for the year ahead and I have so many ideas I want to see out. But it has taught me a lot about the beauty of going slow. Not only taking an hour, or a day every now and again where you pressure yourself to switch off and therefore can’t really do so (anyone else feel the pressure of a day of ‘me time’ the worst for a free mind?) But to extend that, for however long I need.
The small things I have done to nurture this week and this new feeling of calm are…to turn off notifications on every app I have. I now choose when I want to look and it isn’t beeping every 5 seconds, yes that is a bit of an adjustment (and some control not to check every hour) but it has been a revelation that I do not in fact have to put my phone away in a locked box in order to be away from it all, just a little change can do the world of good. I also started meditating, again not big and just 5 minutes a day using an app but it is amazing how much difference those 5 minutes can make and I will definitely be taking this forward. Along with these it’s just a mindset I guess to really enjoy the calm that January brings and I do just feel really still.
I have continually told myself that this is good, that taking some time is good and as everyone else is revving up for the new year at full speed I have been winding down, just for a week and taking a well deserved break with the knowledge that I am not missing anything big to capture or be completely present for but simply being in the ordinary moments of every day.
Touch wood now we are back in with school and the routine I can bring this first week of January calm to the rest of the year, just remind me of this come August won’t you? When I am trying to make the most of every single second of sunshine and school holidays and I don’t even stop to catch my breath!!
Literally nothing has changed to make this year any different from the last but a realisation that January can totally work in my favour, no big resolutions or changes in life but just the knowledge that sometimes being ordinary and taking it slow is the very best thing you can do.
These photos were taken on an ordinary bike ride and walk on an ordinary Sunday doing nothing exciting but being together and breathing a sigh of relief that January is here.
Possibly my new favourite photo of Roma!
Linking with Donna What the Redhead said for another year of The Ordinary Moments