By Danielle McKenna
So, who else is already feeling like it’s the 74thof January? January; what a weird creature it is – the month that you are feeling most energetically and financially depleted, but the month you are expected to be your very best self.
The minute the clock strikes midnight on the 31stof December, we are constantly bombarded by messages that tell us; plan the year ahead to make it the BEST one yet, start the diet that guarantees you the proportions of a Kardashian, slog it out in the gym daily – oh and by the way, can you do it all alcohol FREE? No, I’m sorry, I can’t actually . . . I’d like to wake up at the end of February. Night night.
I have a controversial idea people, what if we give ourselves a break. What about we break that guilt stick over our carefully gym honed knee and throw it over our head. I get it, I get it all and the well-meant messages and as a life coach my trade is self-improvement, transformation and being your very best self. But sometimes I believe too many messages are damaging and cause us to procrastinate and feel less than. Even more so when we don’t stick to the faddy diets, the weird new Brazilian dance class or are feeling less than Namaste about our anorexic bank balance at the end of the month. We also need to let go of the ridiculous concept that January is the blueprint for how the rest of the year is going to pan out. Its simply not the case.
In an ideal world, what I would like is for the people of the nation to give themselves a break and understand their worth so that they place self-care at the forefront of their minds every day, week and month of the year. I talk to my clients about self-care a lot, I believe it is the foundation from which everything in our lives flow – our physical health, our mental wellbeing, our relationships, and how we show up in the world. Like all new healthy habits these take time to bed, and, like a puppy for Christmas, self-care is not just for January.
I understand that life is chaotic, usually time poor and we are all pulled in many directions by grown up (yawn) responsibilities, but if you want growth and to feel your very best, self-care is an essential part of that, and it doesn’t mean you have to totally overhaul your life. It is valuing yourself enough to make the time and to do the work which is a power move in itself.
So, the first thing you need to know is that self-care does not need to be expensive. You can run yourself a lovely bubble bath at the end of a long day or get yourself out into nature by going on a walk in a beautiful setting. You can make sure that you find time to meditate or cook yourself a nutritious meal from scratch and kill two birds with one stone by inviting someone you love to share it with you. Sometimes I even tell clients after an evening’s coaching session to pour themselves a glass of wine and listen to some relaxing music to wind down (just don’t drink the whole bottle in the name of self-care please, the hangover is on you, not on me). Self-care means different things for each individual, so take the time to identify and do whatever it takes that resonates best as self-care to your heart and soul.
If we are able to take this approach and make sure that we take positive steps in taking care of ourselves there will be no need for the January drama, the self-flagellation and for buying into anything that is setting us up to fail and therefore feel less than. When we feel like the best version of ourselves, we do better and kinder things for ourselves and for those around us which creates a beautiful ripple effect. If you can channel one thing in January, make it this; that you learn to love and look after yourself as you would your dearest friend.