Each time this year I have to fight the blahs that creep in when daily life resumes after the holidays. I have a hard time with the abrupt ending of the magical feeling – one minute you’re listening to Christmas music and admiring the twinkly lights on the tree, the next minute it’s all gone. All of that infectious wonder and cheer seems to fade away far too quickly. I’ve always thought that towns and homes should keep their white lights up through the month of January for a smoother transition.
This week has been filled with the expected busyness we all face after weeks of merriment and time with loved ones. So I made myself a little list to stay focused and inspired – thought I’d share. Note: this list isn’t meant to sound preachy, it all started as notes to myself, ha!
. . . .
1. Be kind. This tip has hardly ever failed me. I’m reminded of one particular time at a busy Starbucks – it was the week before Christmas last year and our car literally went up in smoke on our way to the airport for our Colorado vacation. We had to stop and wait for a tow truck along the outskirts of Atlanta – thankfully a Starbucks was within walking distance. We had all four kids and were super stressed about missing our flight and having an expensive problem with our car. Not an awesome combination.
After bundling up and braving a chilly walk with our kiddos, we made it to Starbucks. It was freezing outside! When placing our order, I asked the Starbucks Barista if she could pour any extra froth from my latte into a small cup for our six-year-old. She glared at me, shook her head and said “No.” I took a deep breath and decided to say something nice to her – because I figured she was probably pretty stressed herself. I said, “okay, no problem.” As she was making my latte I watched and made a point to thank her for doing such a nice job. After taking a sip I said “you know, I have to tell you this is the best latte I’ve ever had a Starbucks. You have quite the a skill – thanks for making this extra delish.” She smiled at me and said “here’s that extra cup of milk you asked for.” Sometimes you just need someone to be kind to you. We all do.
2. Write more letters. They are happiness wrapped in pretty paper.
3. Live in the moment. There is no better gift than the present. One idea: try doing something very basic in an unexpected environment. It really inspires living in the moment.
4. Enjoy the simple things…truly savor them. Sometimes I need help with this. May sound strange, but the way I learn is by taking cues from nature; such as watching birds at a feeder in the midst of a cold or rainy day. They are really enjoying the moment – not fretting about yesterday or tomorrow. Think about it – there is no anxiety in nature. There is simply order and peace.
5. Have patience. Ahem, also not one of my strong points. This can be a doozy, but I find is doable with effort. I have to practice this one day at a time. For instance, this particular blog post has taken me an entire week to write because our crazy busy life – had to write it in bits and pieces. And I’m trying to have patience.
6. Make pretty things. Even if it’s something little. I’d like to make some of these. Saw them on pinterest and the description said to draw dots with a gold sharpie then bake for 10 minutes to set the color.
7. Be spontaneous. Husband and I love spontaneous road trips. As a result, our children do too! I recently asked each of them what their favorite memory was so far and all chimed in “our roadtrips!” It really surprised me. If you can’t get away, a good picnic in a neighboring town is also a great plan. There are so many beautiful parks to visit. I always say a set of pretty dishes and anything bubbly in a bottle are the makings for a perfect picnic.
8. Roast marshmallows in the fireplace. My children taught me this simple little activity…it really is fun! Don’t have a fireplace? A mason jar and candle can do the trick ; )
9. Keep a journal of gratitude. This one I’ve never done, only made lists, but think it could be a wonderful thing. Nothing puts life into perspective more than feeling grateful for the simple gifts surrounding you. Whenever I’ve made a gratitude list, I’ve always been surprised how many wonderful people and circumstances are in my life! This could be cute printed on the front of a gratitude journal…
10. Make something special and share. I would like to make a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup and give to others as gifts…that is my goal this month! I have lots of extra mason jars and plenty of pretty ribbon, so this WILL happen : )
Now I feel much better about January. And I think I’m going to try and sneak in some twinkly white lights somewhere in our home.