January; a month dedicated to tea, healthy eating, the gym, woolly jumpers, fresh starts, resolutions, new intentions and tweets from those that mock much of the aforementioned. Personally, I love setting goals and January is as good a time as any to do it. However, lest I get carried away and overwhelmed, this year I'm not making any resolutions. Instead, I've set a very simple intention for the year ahead and that is to be kinder to myself. In doing so, I'm trying to bring a more conscious awareness to what I do and how I treat myself. This is a big goal as I am most definitely my own worst critic. It's a goal I will have to constantly remind myself of and make time to achieve. In keeping with this goal, I'm starting January as I mean to go; gently.
Keep reading for how to gently start your New Year...
HEAD TO daytime cinema. When it's pouring rain outside and the wind is howling, press pause on your 'to do' list and go to the cinema for the afternoon. Day time cinema is always more of a treat than night time.
BRUNCH with friends and make it an occasion. Light the fire, cook your favourite breakfast, have an infinite supply of tea and coffee at the ready and let the rest of the day look after itself.
SHOP CLEVER and buy an investment piece in the sales. Choose something classic that will stand the test of time. A cashmere jumper in grey, black or oatmeal sounds good to me. The cooler Irish weather will see you wear it right into March and, come next October your wardrobe will be thanking you for your foresight.
SLEEP is a beautiful thing. Be kinder to yourself this January and sleep with your phone in another room, or at least leave it at the other side of your bedroom away from your bed. The difference to your night's sleep is real.
PAMPER yourself. A pedicure is always good for toes neglected throughout the Winter months. A facial is pretty much a January essential to help brighten up skin battered by hot and cold extremes.
READ a book. It's my favourite way to switch off from my phone. Choose a book that isn't too long or challenging to read for ultimate reading relaxation.
MEDITATE... and say hello to clarity of thought. Ignore the New Year resolution naysayers and take up meditation. Practice ten minutes every morning and then set your alarm clock for two five minutes meditations throughout the day. A small time commitment for a calmer mindset.
DINE in your favourite restaurant. Eating out in January is a much more enjoyable occasion than eating out in December. None of the Christmas set menu craic and plenty of time to laze over you meal, without fear of being kicked out for the next setting.
REVISIT A FORGOTTEN PASSION... remember that one hobby you loved to do when you were younger. Nurture your inner child and give it another go.
WATCH A BOXSET... if this isn't the ultimate January lazy day activity I don't know what is. There are so many great box sets; ones I wish I hadn't seen so I could watch them anew. The Wire, The West Wing, The Good Wife, The Killing and for something more mindless, The Gilmore Girls.
BUY YOURSELF FLOWERS.... for no reason, other than you love flowers.