I’ve never really liked January. Be it due to being broke, fat, full of cheese, depressed over having the excitement of Christmas behind you, or just the long dark days that seem to stretch on forever, it’s a bit of a shitty month for most.
Everywhere you look diets are being pushed on you, gyms are calling out for you to get in there and sweat out all the booze and Roses you ate, while some smug little shitface tries to sell you miracle ‘skinny tea,’ that promises to magically bust your fat, yet all it does is taste like actual dishwasher water and make you pee more often.
Sometimes I feel like I’m permanently hung over in January. It’s the dark headache I can’t get rid of and even though I’ve got the equivalent of a blank page right here in my hands full of possibility, all I tend to see is a whole year stretched out in front of me and instead of inspiring me, it terrifies me.
I don’t know why that is, but it’s as if it’s my penance for over indulging at Christmas. I should somehow now have to pay in sackcloth and ashes for my merriment and flahoolock-ness. So instead of embracing January for what it is - a new beginning, I see it as some kind of perpetual dirge. Four long weeks of dark evenings, four long weeks of no cash, rabbit food, no booze and a very angry imaginary drill sergeant walking behind me telling to get my fat arse on that treadmill.
You had time to yourself Niamh and now you must suffer…. Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!
On top of that since I became a mum, January has become more than just a hangover. Two years ago, it was the month where I hit rock bottom, just weeks after giving birth to my little dude. In short I lost myself in a haze of post-natal depression and the echoes of that awful time still haunt me.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
But you know what?
I’m saying fuck that.
For the first time in years, I’m not going to punish myself this month. Instead, I’m going to be kind. I’m going to have that piece of cake if I want it. If I fancy a glass of wine after a long tough week, I’m going to guzzle it with aplomb. I’m not going to dangle size 12 jeans in front of me and tell myself that I better fit back into them by the end of the month or else my cellulite will double in size. I’ll go for a walk if I want to, not because I feel I have to. I’ll eat healthy if I fancy it, not because I’m punishing myself. I’ll make changes if I want to, rather than set up unattainable goals.
In short, I want to set myself up for success this year, not failure and to do that I’ve got to try and be kind to myself. Something I, like a lot of mums, find hard to do, when guilt is our default setting.