Well, January was a bit of an odd one, wasn’t it? It’s hard to comprehend how much the world has changed since the beginning of this year, and it feels strange to try and situate my own personal day-to-day experiences within this new political framework. But this year I’ve decided that I want to take some time at the beginning of each new month reflecting on the one previous and setting a focus for the days ahead, so here goes.
Day by day, January dragged. I’ve always found this month the most exhausting of the year; although we tend to start the month with all the drive and motivation of the new year, the bitter cold and ceaseless short days are irrevocably demotivating – and all the more so when there’s no let up in store for another couple of months. Rather than making big changes, then, January ought to be about taking good care of yourself. That’s the spirit into which I entered this month, and it’s been interesting to see how it paid off.
January Top Ten
- Twelfth Night celebrations at home with my family
- Visiting York Art Gallery for the first time
- A night in the Fossgate Social with Lit girls
- Really enjoying my modules at uni
- An evening in with my wonderful housemates
- Photo walks around York
- Reading more than ever (come say hi on goodreads!)
- Finally feeling confident at the gym
- Falling in love with cooking again
- Witnessing extraordinary displays of solidarity and humanity around the world
Best of LWG in January
Student Survival: How I Stay Organised At University
#PrettyHealthyProject: How I Got Over My Gym Fear For Good
Tourist: A Yorkshire Weekend
In January I headed back to university for (so-called) spring term of my second year. There’s been a lot of work and reading this term, but I’m really enjoying my classes so far. I’ve worked hard to completely revolutionise the way I study and it’s made a huge difference to my motivation for and performance in class. I feel like I’m really putting my studies first, and it seems to be paying off.
I’ve also been reading a lot; over Christmas I got really into reading non-fiction, and so far this year I’ve read Born To Run, Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, and finished Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The latter was particularly fascinating, especially given that around three-quarters of it was dedicated purely to the primaries race, and the battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton. In light of recent events, it was a pretty bittersweet read. I’ve now started Landskipping by Anna Parvord which is really beautiful so far. Making time for reading has made such a difference to my mood, productivity, and sleep – something I’m hoping to write on during the next month.
For January I wanted to focus on self-care, consistency, and stability. Right from the beginning of the month I made a real commitment to get to the gym three times a week, and so far I’ve done exactly that. That goal boosted me into sorting out my morning routine which I now really look forward to each day, and I’ve managed to get up at seven-am every single day except once when I was feeling unwell, and yesterday – when I got up at six to go to the gym before my morning lecture! I’ve also rediscovered cooking as a perfect method of relaxation. Towards the end of the month things started to slip downhill and out of my control, so staying in and trying out new recipes has become a really comforting and safe way to take myself away from the stresses of the day.
Yes; despite all my efforts to look out for myself and keep everything stable, the last ten days or so of January were particularly difficult (if you follow me on Instagram you might have got a sense of this!). I can’t really pinpoint a reason; it’s most likely due to lots of little personal things building up combined with all the tumult and fear since Trump’s inauguration. As a result of this, and the workload which piled up almost immediately on my return to York, my plan to blog every weekday in January collapsed before it really had a chance to begin. I’m pretty gutted about this as I was so excited for it at the start of the month, but it was simply a stretch too far for me. I’m going to finish off the content for my January Student Survival posts and schedule them for the dates they were originally scheduled to go out on and then put it behind me and move forward.
That’s my focus for February: moving forward and looking outward. I could get caught up in trying to work out exactly what happened at the end of January to send me spiralling down an unwelcome path, or I could focus on the fact that things are on the up again thanks to some good weather, a photo walk around the city, and a timely intervention from friends.
There’s a lot to look forward to in the upcoming month. G will finally be coming up to visit this weekend, and I’ll take a trip home in a couple of weeks; it’ll be during half-term, so Mum is planning on coming up to stay for a couple of days midweek before taking me home for the weekend. There’ll be another edition of the newspaper to put together, and some formative assessments and essays to plan. And I’ll be working to fit in blogging as much as I possibly can, which is so important to me.
Above all, I’ll be building on the work I’ve put in on myself this month and turning it outward. Whilst January was an inward month, focused on getting myself on track and set up for the year ahead, February needs to be about using my privileged position to support others and amplify the voices of those who don’t have the same platforms as I do. Even as ever-growing forces try to push us back, February for me needs to be about ploughing on and doing whatever I can to help.
What were your January highlights? What are you looking forward to in February? Let me know in the comments!