January is typically celebrated as a fresh start. But while many moms are busy making New Year’s resolutions and breathing a sigh of relief from the busy holidays, I struggle with a sort of post-holiday grief. It seems like I spent from October to January treading water through class parties, baking, shopping and decorating only to find myself still gulping for air on the first day back to school. Shock and denial shroud my judgment; I bitterly take down the last of the holiday decorations. Bills needing attention get pushed to the back of my desk and I avoid my bathroom scale. As the post-holiday shock wears off, I’m overwhelmed with mommy-guilt thinking about all the opportunities missed with my kids, and for myself, because I was too distracted with crossing things off my to-do list. Anger bargains with my sub-conscious, striking deals with myself while trying to justify why I wasn’t more emotionally available. A few weeks into January, and all I am usually left with is a sparsely decorated house and days void of errands and holiday gatherings. I feel empty. Alone.
This will be my ninth winter in Michigan. Perhaps it is the lack of sun that aggravates this post-holiday grief, or maybe it is my anxious over-exaggerated emotional personality. But no matter what causes this sometimes debilitating annual behavior, I decided to take control of my January jaundice and create an attitude of empowerment and possibilities for 2011.
First, I must stop whining about what I think I missed out on or incomplete goals. Instead, I will picture my children’s beautiful smiling faces Christmas morning and how they gazed in delight at all of our whimsical decorations. My children don’t know how much time and effort everything takes, all they saw was the end result and they were thankful. Secondly, I must accept that weeks of holiday parties, savory foods and little exercise cause weight gain. I bought a couple of well-fitted outfits that make me feel great and chose not to focus on all the things that temporarily don’t fit. It’s a lot like pregnancy, right? Three months on, at least three months off! (Okay, maybe my addiction to Salt & Vinegar Chips with a tall glass of wine started a little more than three months ago.) And last, but not least, I decided to start the New Year with a “buddy”, someone I can be accountable to for keeping on task both physically and emotionally. We check in with each other every couple of days to see if we met our exercise goals and just to say, “Hi – I was thinking of you today”.
January can be about new beginnings and finding contentment, but first you have to find your resolve, create an attitude of success and not buy any more chips for the New Year.