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  • Writer's pictureJen

Hunker Down



January

Most of us dislike January. The festivities are over, the decorations are back in the loft and most of us are regretting eating a skip-full of chocolate and pigs in blankets. Let’s face it, we’re embracing elasticated-waist lounge pants this month.


January is the perfect month to have fun with our families and to use up all the leftover treats from Christmas. It’s still OK to watch Christmas films and have PJ days at the weekend and eat comfort food.


Instead of wasting January by wishing it was June when we can be outside in the sunshine, let’s embrace January for what it can offer us. It’s time to take a breather, make the most of being at home and to hunker down during what is usually a miserable month in terms of weather.


Use January as a time to slowly ease ourselves into the year ahead. We know life will get busy, our calendars will fill up with social events, work commitments and a million things to do with our children’s school and clubs.


January is the time to make the most of our homes, to enjoy spending time at home with our friends and family, to start making plans for the year ahead and just enjoy the simple things in life.


Home

Home is where we can fully be ourselves, feel warm, comforted, and sheltered. We can be make-up free, wear PJ’s all day, be silly, and lounge around without feeling guilty we’re not doing something productive. I must admit, this last one is hard for me to do, but I’m going to try and get better at switching off this year.


It’s usually grey and cold outside, so let’s create a cosy home. The word ‘hibernate’ comes to mind in January. Treat your home as one big den to hide inside. Remember back to when you were a child and made dens with blankets where you sat and ate snacks, played games with your siblings and friends, or read a book at bedtime by torchlight.


All these things can be done as adults, just without using up the dining chairs to make the actual den. Your whole house is your den for January. A base where you can hunker down with your loved ones and catch our breath before the year gets busy.


As many of us work from home now, it’s important to have a separate space for work, away from our home life. Close the door on your office in the evenings and at weekends. If your workspace is at the kitchen table, it’s important to pack your laptop away so work doesn’t encroach into your home life.


Cosy

Set up your home so it’s warm and welcoming for when you come in from work, or after you’ve been for a brisk walk in the crisp January air. Don’t pack away all your twinkle lights as, (like dogs) they’re not just for Christmas! I have a set of twinkle lights over my fireplace and along the beams in the kitchen all year long as they make me happy. Display them under a cloche or in a glass vase. Twist them around your bed frame for a soft, twinkling glow at bedtime. Light all the candles! Display pretty tea lights throughout your living areas and larger candles near where you’re sat.


Light the fire if you have a real fire, or log burner. If you don’t, but want a similar flickering glow, arrange lots of pillar candles of various sizes in your fireplace or a safe area of your lounge.

Always have blankets to hand for extra snuggliness. Keep them in a trug or basket by your sofa. And of course, lots of cushions! You can never have too many cushions. (As my husband has now learned).


Take the time to make a proper hot chocolate which you can savour whilst reading a book or watching a film.


Pile extra pillows and throws on your bed for extra comfort for those lazy mornings at the weekend, or when you’re snuggled up and reading in the evenings.


Simple

We’ve just had Christmas where most of us will have received more ‘stuff’. As lovely as it is to give and receive gifts, we can all live perfectly well without the designer handbag, posh perfume, the latest mobile phone and the branded trainers.


Taking time to enjoy the simple things helps us to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Use January to make the most of simple living. It’s important for us to teach our children that fun can be had without a phone or other handheld device that leads them to social media where they watch others living a life, instead of living their own!


Perhaps have a no device day? Imagine that!!! We’re all guilty of spending too much time on phones, so having a whole day without them would be a novelty and quite hard to do at first, but could maybe something you could do once a month? Think of the time you’d get back in your day to do other things!


· Plan a slow Sunday afternoon, curled up by the fire with your book and a cuppa. This for me would be pure bliss! I love reading and never get enough time to enjoy a book.


· Tired of cooking all the time? Plan a recipe that all the family can help with and enjoy and then get the games out and have some family fun.


· Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on a Saturday and treat yourselves to pancakes or French toast, instead of a rushed cup of coffee or a grabbed piece of toast that is the norm on a weekday.


· Bake! Who doesn’t love a homemade cake to enjoy on a winter afternoon whilst watching a film. Or make your own popcorn and add a flavour of your choice. My Mum used to make popcorn and drizzle it with syrup. OMG it was delicious! This could be an activity to do with the kids too, or perhaps start a new hobby such as bread making. Why not share your baked goods with your neighbours?


· Do you have DIY projects you want to get done this year? Spend an evening looking through house and interior magazines and cut out images of décor ideas that inspire you. Start planning the project in a notebook so you have everything ready for when you come to start.


· Invite friends and family round for an evening of nibbles, drinks, and games. Whenever we play games, we always end up laughing so much. And laughing is so good for you. They’re not kidding when they say: “laughter is the best medicine”.


· Wrap up warm and go for a long walk. Take a flask and homemade cake with you to enjoy whilst you’re out and about. Although it may be chilly, it’s so important to get fresh air and to exercise. Work off some of those extra calories we’ve consumed over Christmas.


· As it’s a new year perhaps you’re looking at taking up a new hobby. Maybe you want to be a bit more creative this year, or you want to learn a new skill. Hobbies are great for our mental health too, taking us away from the stresses of our everyday life and focusing our mind on something more fun and enjoyable.


· Sit and plan what you would like to achieve this year. A year flies by so fast when you’re an adult, that sometimes if we don’t stop and think about what we’d really like to get done for ourselves, we’ve missed it for another year.


The list is endless once you start thinking about what you can do during this month where it gets dark early and the weather is a bit rubbish. Use it to your advantage.


Everyone is busy. Life is busy. We try to cram in so much and there are so many things on our to-do list each day. So why not ease yourself into this new year by using January as a time to keep cosy, to enjoy your home, to spend time with family and friends and to live simply, whilst creating memories you’ll cherish forever.


Use it to plan your year ahead and to get organised, all in the comfort of your own home and a hot chocolate in hand. I have a collection of four different check-lists of things to get done during January. They are free to download from my shop, in the 'Freebies' category.

Click here to download for free and print at home.


Make the most of this month on your own terms. Hibernate and embrace the hygge way of living, or use it to get ahead of the game and plan your projects for the next 12 months. Whatever you do, I want to wish you a very happy new year!







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