How to Make January the Best Month Ever

A list of marginal indulgences



The Google search term “seasonal depression” spikes like hell in January and stays pretty popular until March for the very obvious reason that we get blue as fuq once the holidays have ended and we’re back at work to endure what I consider the most challenging stretch of the year. This is not unusual given what the month represents: the very beginning of winter, a month-long rally with exactly one vacation (MLK day) to show for itself, and the funeral of, duh, the most wonderful time of the year.

It’s drab. It’s cold. You can’t wear satin shoes because it’s wintering.

I’ve been spending a shitload of time thinking about how to make this month feel awesome, like it’s June or something. (Just so you know, there are exactly zero vacation days to show for June and yet, we find ourselves all hopped up on happy drugs — again, for obvious reasons e.g. sun and caftans, but that’s not the point). Because a lot of what makes June great (not all, but a lot) can be attributed to state of mind. Think of it like a Friday vs. a Monday. On Mondays, we’re like fuuuuuuuck, but on Fridays, we’re like yeeeeeeaaaahhh. (As you can see, I have become significantly more articulate over the break.) Sure, Fridays signal the end of the week and Mondays do just the opposite, but by the rules of living in The Now, you’re probably doing the same shit on a Friday at work as you are on a Monday at work, no? And besides, there are plenty of things you can do to make Monday (now a metaphor for January) feel like Friday (June).

Not trying to ram ideas down your throat, but here’s a pass at my attempt at The Best January Ever.

1. Replace stressful cardio classes with yoga and reformer pilates — seriously, though. In 2017, I’m doing 100% less spinning and 80% more fitness that requires frequent deep breathing. (With that additional 20%, I will finish watching Season 3 of Black Mirror.)

1a. Take sooooo many deep breaths, even when I feel like I don’t need them.

1b. Stop trying to have a full day before the actual day starts. I’d rather slit my throat than attend a 7:15 a.m. dance class ever again.

1c. To that point, I’m going to use my lunch break to do something for myself, like attend the aforementioned yoga, for example.

1d. Or get a 20-minute back rub down the block.

2. Keep a chilled bottle of rosé in my fridge. When the radiator and humidifier are on in my apartment, there is no real difference between the two and natural summertime warmth.

2a. Be a delusional optimist (example: convince yourself there is no real difference between sunshine and a radiator).

3. Invest in a sun lamp. I’ve never used one, but I hear they work and I am dying to try one.

Maybe wait until I do this and report back before you take the fiscal plunge.

4. It’s the little things: leave a hairbrush and face cream at my desk and brush my hair/apply to my face at random midday. It’s a small luxury that seems very extravagant.

4a. Tell your co-workers to suck it.

4b. Make lots of jokes, it doesn’t matter how stupid/bad (see: 6a) they are.

5. Reach out to four people I really, really, really like and force myself to see them all through hell or high water (snow) over the course of the month. Doing this 1x a week will give me something to look forward to every week.

6. Manifest warm weather outfits, like this one:

…But not to buy, just to see! So that I can pretend I have somewhere to go, even though I don’t.

7. Start planning my next vacation now — TripAdvisor, ttysoon.

8. Go bowling (or do another activity — like rock climbing — that I don’t, or wouldn’t, usually do).

9 and 10. I will not, I repeat, will not resolve to stop eating or drinking any of my favorite foods or beverages, or doing any of my favorite recreational tasks this month. They might not be good for me, but I have nothing if not these vices to get me through January.

I think 2017 is the year of moderation.

Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • I feel like it’s summertime reading this! 😀
    Points 2 and 2a. are definitely my favourite and I have to try them out!

    • Leandra Medine

      That’s the point!!!

  • XOErica

    It’s so easy to get so caught up in self-improvement and resolutions–but also so silly! I liked Pema Chodron’s quote I just heard, calling this an “aggression” against who we really are and saying we should just befriend ourselves instead–
    “When people start to meditate or to work with any kind of spiritual discipline, they often think that somehow they’re going to improve, which is a sort of subtle aggression against who they really are. It’s a bit like saying,
    “If I jog, I’ll be a much better person.”
    “If I could only get a nicer house, I’d be a better person.”
    “If I could meditate and calm down, I’d be a better person.”
    Or the scenario may be that they find fault with others; they might say, “If it weren’t for my husband, I’d have a perfect marriage.”
    “If it weren’t for the fact that my boss and I can’t get on, my job would be just great.”
    And “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”
    But loving-kindness -maitri- toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. Maitri means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”

    • Leandra Medine

      I love this so much

    • Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Samantha Lee

    This is everything I’ve been thinking/feeling/crying about the last week. It’s easy to make resolutions and feel like you’re going to conquer the world – and then come crashing down hard and fast when you realize it’s not longer Christmas and it’s cold and everything seems hard and can’t you just sleep on your couch from now until forever?! I needed this today, so THANK YOU.

  • Number 5 is so right on. I need something to look forward to every week. Keeps me chuggin’ along. and LOL@ 2a., a friend was sitting in front of my fireplace the other day and asked if it was possible to get a tan because it was so hot…Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

    • Kelsey Moody

      Court lets hang out next week??????!

      • YES PLEASE. come get a tan in front of my fireplace!! but fo rill. txt / gchat / smoke signal me.

  • Hayls

    Reformer Pilates is life changing! It greatly improved the upper back pain and shoulder tension I get from sitting at a desk all day

  • Adrianna

    I’m with you on #1. I had a couple of amazing spinning classes, so I overzealously bought a 25 class intro package because it was a good deal. I don’t want to think about how much money I spent on classes that left me feeling frustrated, weak, and inferior. I don’t think I even lost any weight or gained significant strength.

    Compare that with 2014, where I practiced yoga multiple times a week at Yoga to the People (donation based) and gained a lot mental and physical strength. I learned a lot about my body and was surprised by how much I needed to cry.

    I now treat myself to heated yoga at Vida Yoga. (It’s not as extreme as hot yoga)

  • sin_plomo

    I just went rock climbing for the first time and I can honestly say it is a lot of fun and a good workout

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    The only thing I will add to this is frequent (but not too frequent!!) self tanner application. Bye.

    • Leandra Medine

      That;s a good one! i have been using a dramatic serum called tan-luxe

  • Susie Gorden

    So with you on all of these suggestions. Just started Barre3 and am loving it. Breathe, baby. AND fuq dry-Nuary. Nope. Rose’ for the win this month.

  • Diana McNeill

    I was quite literally just telling my co-worker that I felt…lost…uninspired…a little down. Post-Holiday blues are the real deal Devil. I live in sunshiney California and it’s been raining (nice!) a lot lately, which feels like I am the sky crying.