ALISSA SWANK COUNSELING

Journal

It's Still January

 
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You might be like me: a Northwesterner with a case of the Januarys. Is it just me, or does January always feel a little gray, swirly, damp, and bleak? I’m sure you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

It’s January. Historically my least favorite month of the year. The holidays are over, it’s the middle of winter, and I’m just trying to get through to February. Typically, I dread this time of year. I get excited for December with a lot of friend’s birthdays (including my husband’s), Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But all along I know that when all of those celebrations are over, January will be here. It’s sort of like a big ol’ Monday morning inevitably coming up right behind a jam-packed weekend of fun and saying, “Time to get back to work!”. Ughhhh…

I was in a yoga class recently on a particularly gray day and the room had a lot of windows to emphasize the grayness. I got on my mat, pretty ready to take a snooze instead of do yoga, when the teacher started to talk about rest. She acknowledged that yes, we are in the middle of winter. Yes, it is cold and dreary. Yes, it’s hard to do much. Yes, all we want to do is get cozy. And then she invited us to listen to the invitation to rest! Winter is a time when everything else in nature is resting. The bears are hibernating. The trees and plants are dormant. The garden beds are resting and waiting for new seeds once the frost is gone.

Novel. I thought, “Why haven’t I thought of this before?” What if I actually welcomed January as a time of rest and renewal? What would it be like if we all had this mindset of a winter rest? What if when all I want to do is sleep in is actually okay, called for, welcomed? And why do we try so hard to make resolutions to be more productive and override this beautiful invitation? Why do we get so guilty when we take the time to rest? We work SO HARD all the time if you ask me. You, me, and the rest of this country are due for some good rhythms of rest.

Rest often comes sweetest when followed by hard work or high productivity. My favorite feeling is to work outside in the yard for a good chunk of the day or do a hike with commitment, and then… r.e.s.t. Take a bath, move slowly, read a book, sleep, recover. Renew my sprit and my physical being, so that I am able to do more again, in time. So, perhaps I can take a look at how busy I’ve been the last year, especially towards the end with all of that celebrating, and finally slow down a bit. Perhaps I can let this time be intentional about letting myself heal and renew, that I may feel energized and ready to welcome spring and the sunshine that will surely come.

Man, I love rest. What’s not to love? Looks like I may be more keen of January than I thought.

Go, get some rest. It’s totally in season.

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Alissa Swank