Happy New Year, my darling amigos!
Nod along if you're with me. January, is for quiet reflexion and aligning personal goals.
I'm not sure if you've noticed but I have been very quiet in the last month. In part, this has been intentional as I wanted to make sure I spent most of my time with family and friends. But, on the other hand, it has been due to an absolute lack of time and energy.
This year, I decided to attempt a Pinterest-worthy Christmas - meaning, absolutely everything I did had to be wonderfully photogenic, innovative and creative. Safe to say, it left me mentally and physically exhausted, and with a huge taste of failure in my mouth (I'm ashamed to admit that I peaked on the first week of December...)
Trust me when I say, I won't be doing that again.
This premature climax did give me a lot to think about. It made me question the meaning of Christmas, the strain our virtual social personas puts on our real, human personas and the importance of tangible quality over perceived perfection.
One evening, after having spent a couple of hour letter pressing everyone's names onto their gift-tags, I threw myself on the bed and shut my eyes real tight in desperation. I wished December away and greedily made lists of all the things I was going to buy myself in the January sales and all the lazy mornings I would relish in once I started my annual leave.
"January is for me. January is for me!" - I protested.
And so, the below list of affirmations was born.
Each month, I have given myself a word or concept that I want to give priority to over all the rest. Let me explain them all to you quickly, in case it serves you to find some peace and breathing space in the new year.
January is for Me:
I think this one is self-explanatory. After the exertions we make during Christmas - over-buying, over-eating, over-indulging in everything we get our mittened hands on - January comes as a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the preceding period. Rather than dwell on January blues, I find this month of stillness to be a necessary pause button to our lives. I'm checking out this month, hiding from crowds and concentrating on me. I'm quietly planning the year ahead (quietly and not vocally, carefully exploring what actually drives me without putting myself under the strain of performing for others), I'm taking time to tidy and put my affairs in order, I'm eating healthily and exercising regularly, taking at least 30 minutes every day to practice yoga with the lights low and the candles burning. I'm spending January mindfully.
February is for Love:
Another obvious one. February is a short and sweet month, deeply rooted in amorous folklore (Valentine's, Leap Year) I'm taking this month to dive into kindness and care for others. Even as a single gal, I refused to see Valentine as the rigid tradition of secret lovers and long-term relationships. Valentine's and February are for showing love, of any kind, to everyone. I'm going to take care of my niece and nephews, I'm going to make sure I call my parents often, I'm going to have deep chats with my friends. And of course, I'm going to be grateful for the loves in my life.
March is for Meditation:
And that's not just because I love alliteration! March, personally, is a sad month so I'm cocooning myself in and finding ways to make myself feel emotionally balanced. Why do I find March so sad? Well, the winter is ongoing, the weather usually stays grim (UK folks, you know what I'm saying) and there's nothing especially exciting happening.
I'm setting an intention to use this month to close my eyes to what I find dark and gloomy and open them inwards, where it's warm and bright.
April is for Rehydration of the Soul:
Introducing, reflective walks in the rain listening to wordy music, y'all!
Following on from the stillness of March, April allows for a blooming of the soul, taking inspiration from the awakening landscape, the rebirth of Easter and the overall livelihood of the fauna. For this month, I want to take time to read, visit museums, listen to interesting talks, go to church and travel.
May is for new beginnings
I love May. The flowers, the birthdays, the sun peeking out from behind white clouds and the lighter evenings. May is to me, the start of the summer time, bringing really positive energy and drive to achieve and enjoy life that much more. May is a fresh page, a time to forgive and forget, call up someone you haven't spoken to in a long while and change up an old habit that's bringing you more pain than joy.
In May, I want to see the sea, visit a new continent, start working on projects I've not had time to work on and make a positive change to my lifestyle. I also really want to jump into a pool... Oh, May, you minx!
June is for fun
Growing up in Spain, June was always the last month of school. We'd get to finish early and usually enjoyed a big party at the end of term (once all the boring exams were out the way). So for me, June will always be a month of fun and liberation.
In June, I plan to enjoy the outdoors. I want to go on long walks wearing shorts and hiking boots, I want to have my lunch break in the park and BBQ for my dinner. I also want to host a party - one with Margaritas and inflatable cacti...not too sure why.
More than just fun, I want to make the most of the earlier sunrise and later sunset to get a bunch of stuff done. Spring clean the home, plant new stuff in the garden and give the wardrobe a once-over.
July is for growth
This might ring truer to me as it's my birthday in July, but this month makes me think about growth and progress. It's an airy month, with lots of moving space to test out new fitness regimes, try your hand at a new craft or go to a networking event.
When I think about July, I think upwards, reaching and stretching and enhancing. In this month, I'm going to give special attention to my spine; it's the biggest supporter to our wellbeing, energising us, keeping us standing upright and protecting our bodies from harm. Remember, you're only as young as your spine is flexible!
August is for rest
Kick your feet up and have yourself a good old rest. This sleepy month is here to remind us to take a deep breath, look after our physical bodies and watch time drift by from a sunlounger. The only catch here? Do NOT allow yourself to feel guilty about it.
If you've been tackling the year right, focussing your energy where it needs to be each day, August should be another instance of calm and rest. Disconnect mindfully, giving your monkey mind the green light to sign-off. The thinking body needs to be replaced by the physical body, exhausting oneself with activities that depend on corporal dexterity and strength.
September is for determination
Back to school, back to work, back to the routine. September asks for almighty optimism. Don't let yourself be brought down by the daily grind. Instead, let's try to tweak that which we can not face and shed positive perspective on those things we can not change.
Set yourself a goal - be it personal or work related - and stick to it. If you need extra help with motivation, get yourself one of those sweet goal planners to liven up the path to victory!
October is for bonds
October will be used to reconnect with others. After the summer holidays, we tend to have to put our heads down and either try to recuperate all that money we spent on the holiday or make up the time we were away from work and the household.
I'm voting October as the month of strengthing bonds. Dinner parties, movie nights, Sunday walks through golden leaves that invariably end up at the pub. Conversation and empathy are the tokens of this time.
November is for preparation
Edging dangerously into nerve wracking terrain, November is for planning and preparation. As the weather gets colder and the Autumn sets in, I'm using November to prepare for winter and Christmas. If I've learned anything from this year is to set my own expectations. This year to me will be analysed by the thought of 'What do you want vs what do you need?'.
I'll be using November to make lists (I love a Christmas list), plan and budget. I will absolutely make an effort to enjoy all the wonderful things on offer in November. Chilli walks, markets, plays and lots of root vegetables!
December is for others
And of course, December, is for others.
Whether you're a Christmas person or not, this month is all about giving yourself to the people you love and who love you. More than that, it's about being kind and warm to everyone, be it your neighbours, the grumpy commuter or the lonely elderly in the home.
In between all the baking and the making, I want to find time to look up, acknowledge my fellow humans and offer a smile to even the rudest of shoppers. I truly believe, in the current desolate state we find our world in, we need to stick together. Support each other, respect one and other and celebrate us all. Let's not let the nasty voices on the internet, in the media, on the streets, get any louder. Let's not divide our communities or evade ourselves from the reality that we were made as one matter. Interconnected and in constant motion around this awesome galaxy we all call home.