Alas, we must accept it. We are slowly but surely moving into the heart of January and, with no offense meant to our lovely Capricorn friends, it can be… well, a bit of a drag of a month. After New Year’s Day is over, there just seems to be a lot of… grey before you hit Valentine’s Day. And while we love ourselves a bit of moody grey (particularly whilst wandering lonely moors and slinking down our favorite city streets), we know that this time of year can also be difficult for a lot of people. The sparkle of the holidays is over for another year, you made a bunch of “resolutions” that you broke by day 4, it’s cold and wet and gloomy outside, and it’s hard to see any so-called “magic” in the world around you.
But frankly? This just will not do. We refuse to waste a whole month feeling meh and distinctly non-magical, and we’re positive that January actually has a lot to offer, so we’ve put together a list of a few ways to totally re-enchant this poor month and make it dazzle the way it should!
1. Re-tool Your New Year’s Resolutions – In the hustle and bustle of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, many of us pledge to do some things radically differently. We vow to cook every day of the week, get 100% fit, learn to dance, become a master of underwater basket weaving, finally organize the garage, etc. etc. etc. But around the second week of January, these resolutions can start to be a source of major woe. Instead of being empowering, they become reminders of what you’re NOT (yet.) And let’s face it, it’s really hard to go from 0 to 100, which resolutions always seem to imply you should do! So our first step in re-enchanting January is to re-tool your resolutions so that you can get more of what experts refer to as “small wins.” Don’t say you’re going to cook every day of the week, say you’re going to cook ONCE a week. Then, when you’ve got that down and feel awesome, move to two days! Don’t say you’re going to learn to dance – say you’re going to sign up for swing classes once a week for the next month. Specific and doable goals are the most awesome goals… and the fastest way to guarantee a new spark in your step!
2. Embrace Hygge – Hygge is a bit of a buzzword right now, but we are absolutely down with it. It’s a Danish and Norwegian concept that essentially means feelings of coziness and well-being. It’s warm knitted blankets, hot cups of tea, good books, and good friends. It’s stories and candles and PJs. The Danish culture in particular takes it very seriously… and that might be why they’re one of the happiest countries in the world! It’s basically like the ultimate form of easy self-care, and the perfect way to spend your January evenings. The latest issue of Enchanted Living Magazine is all about hygge, and we highly recommend you check it out (and look for our article on cozy fairy-tale forest homes!)
3. Make a Wildlife Food Tree – Now some people do this only at Christmastime, as a sort of Christmas tree for animals, but we think January is the perfect time of year to help out your local wildlife friends. Simply go out into the woods (or your backyard, or even your balcony!) and decorate a bit with edible treats. Popcorn, orange slices, peanuts, suet, peanut-butter-covered pinecones, grapes, etc. are all fun ideas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a great PDF you can download with ideas for what to make! Do remember to be responsible when doing this though – make sure everything you use is biodegradable and/or edible/usable.
4. Make Soup – Sara and Brittany are both HUGE fans of soup. Like… mega-fans. When we were studying together in Ireland, it was basically all soup, all the time. Heck, when we’re together NOW it’s basically like all soup, all the time! Sara is a much better cook than Brittany (hint: the New Year’s resolution above about cooking all the things might have been Brittany’s… again…), but even Brittany can (and does!) make delicious, warm, wonderful soup. And there’s something magical about it, about combining all those ingredients into one magical cauldron of deliciousness. It’s not necessarily hard, but it takes concentrated effort and patience. It can even become a small ritual, if you let it.
5. Go Stargazing – Grab your coat and a blanket (and, if you’re like Sara, a scarf to wrap over your face and maybe three extra coats) and find somewhere to lay back and look up. We are so small, our existence so extraordinary. This is undeniably the most awesome when you’re away from big city lights and you can see the stars spilling across the sky, but if you’re in a city, try reversing this and go citygazing – find an observatory or a skyscraper and go look at the sparkling city spread out under you like fairy lights, thousands of people with thousands of different dreams.
6. Write Some Snail Mail – There is nothing in the world like getting an actual piece of mail these days, and sending it can be just as fun. Write a poem on a postcard and mail it to your best friend (even if they just live down the street and you’ll see them tomorrow), send a thank you note to someone just for being them, or make up a whole care package for a family member who has been feeling especially down. Be sure to write with your fanciest pens, to use that wax seal you’ve been saving, and to buy some extra special stamps (we love these “Spooky” stamps and these “Dragons” stamps, but the “Winter Berries” ones are perhaps the most appropriate to our theme?)
7. Catch Snowflakes – We all know that snowflakes are ridiculously beautiful little bits of tiny perfection, but when was the last time you actually looked at one? If and when it snows outside, take the time to really examine one of nature’s most amazing pieces of art. [Please note that Sara does not endorse this one because it means it must be actually snowing outside :P.]
8. Do A Random Act of Kindness – This one is especially great if you’re in a terrible mood. Whether it’s leaving an inordinately giant tip for your barrista, helping someone carry their groceries, or handwriting a nice note for your significant other to find later, doing something nice for someone else can improve your mood drastically. You’re becoming someone’s fairy godmother for a moment, and that’s pretty magical!
9. Be a (Magical) Hermit – There’s a lot of pressure to DO ALL THE THINGS/ keep all the resolutions in January (as noted above), and this can frankly get kind of exhausting. A lot of us just want nothing more than to hibernate through January and February. We’re not suggesting that you crawl into a hole and refuse to speak to the rest of humanity until March (although Brittany in particular loves the idea of all that sleeping), but we do think it’s worth honoring that feeling. Give yourself permission to nap or to daydream or to retreat a little bit when you need to. All things come in cycles, and resting can pave the way for renewed creativity and connection.
10. Take a Mini-Course! – And last, but certainly not least, consider joining us for our mini-course “Kindling a Light in the Darkness: Winter Folklore and Fairy Tales!” Tonight is the LAST NIGHT to join in before the course materials all go live tomorrow. Registration closes at midnight on the dot for this one. We’re crazy proud of this course, and we’ve specifically designed it to inject a bit of magic into your January. There will be fairy tales and monsters, bespelled polar bears and generous spiders, more on hygge and even a special ritual. If you’ve already signed up to join us, thank you and we can’t wait to see you soon!! If you’re on the fence, feel free to shoot us an e-mail about why and we’d be happy to help / talk you into it ;).
So there you have it! Good luck, magic-seekers, and may your January be full of soup and fluffy socks, magic tales and so much kindness.