It’s January. The ground is covered in frost, there are sales as far as the eye can see and there are diet adverts and the idea of creating a ‘new you’ being rammed down your throat at every turn. I would be lying if I said that come 1st January I don’t make a list of all the things I’d like to attempt for the year, both things that will inevitably make me the most peaceful, giving, wonderful human on Earth and tasks I can physically tick off. What won’t be on my list however is the idea of a ‘new year, new me’.
There is so much pressure in January to make drastic, magical changes that realistically, will not work. The prospect of a fresh start and blank slate is incredibly refreshing. I love making the most of it by having a clear out in the spare room and chucking the 45 pairs of laddered tights I have in my drawer out but rather than put unnecessary pressure on yourself to become an entirely different person, focus on all the bits that make you wonderful. If you’re a naturally kind person, make an effort to perform a random act of kindness every so often. If you have the ability to bake cakes that make people emit orgasmic noises, bake something to share with your colleagues once a month.
If you want to make bigger changes pick things within realistic reach that will make your life that little bit brighter or easier. On my list of resolutions I want to try and get out of the house more often, try to keep on top of paperwork and filing and make more of an effort to see friends that don’t live close to me. They’re not going to turn me into an higher being but they are going to make my day to day life quite a bit nicer.
The big, obvious thing for the new year is weight loss. In the world of body positivity and fat acceptance weight loss isn’t something we generally see as A Good Thing. It feeds into diet culture, the idea that fat = bad, thin = good and that you are generally not good enough. However, I’m a firm believer in allowing people to make their own decisions and if losing weight is something you want to do, please, please do it sensibly. Take the emphasis away from numbers and focus more on how your body and mind feels. If you’re able to exercise, it can be wonderful for your brain. Exercise is something I discovered last year and the positive effect it has had on my mental health is immeasurable. I was sucked in by the smoothie fad (nobody’s perfect) and started ingesting berries and bizarre seedy shit in the mornings instead of five biscuits and as a result the horrible, sluggish, dreary feeling I had every morning has gone. I probably haven’t lost any chub because whilst I really love a blackberry or two every morning, I also have a fondness for cinnamon buns but I feel pretty good.
However, my health isn’t your business and your health isn’t my business but please don’t be sucked into diet culture and the idea that being physically smaller will change the way you feel about yourself. The only way to do that is to appreciate yourself in whatever form you take and not just your physical form. We judge ourselves for all sorts of things not just the way we look. If you lose your temper and snap at your child because it won’t stop wailing Let It Go, don’t be hard on yourself. If you wake up late and miss the bus, don’t beat yourself up about it. And if you have made the decision to eat healthier and you find yourself munching on a doughnut, do not see it as a failure. It’s not a slip up, it’s not naughty, it’s just a flippin’ doughnut.
Being kind to your body and looking after yourself mentally doesn’t happen over night. It takes time and it takes patience. Make realistic goals because you want to and you’re ready to, not because the universe and it’s perfectly groomed and toned show dog is telling you to. Basically, just be kind to yourself, you’re pretty excellent the way you are.
Mrs D x
ps. If I see the phrase ‘new year, new me’ one more time I’m at risk of doing a dirty protest.