I never have cared very much for January. For many it begins with Auld Lang Syne, New Year's resolutions, and sometimes a 'word of the year'. For me, however, it has often brought with it much uncertainty, unexpected challenges and even loss. As you can imagine, I usually dread the start of a new year, and I realise my feelings of apprehension and foreboding only serve to exaggerate any existing sense of impending doom. Some years, I have tried my hardest to remain upbeat and positive, but that didn't particularly help - I don't think I was convincing anyone, especially not myself!
This year, I have tried a far more gentle approach. I found myself quietly going about my days, not putting any pressure on myself and simply focusing on my working week - with the occasional walk on the weekends when the weather has allowed. My pace has been unhurried and slower, taking things day by day. And even though I've not been quite as productive as usual, what I have achieved has been far more intentional, and this is exactly what I need just now. A time to heal, a time to let go, a time to just simply 'be'. My absence in this space has been deliberate, just dipping in now and again to enjoy a quick read. I had hoped that if I kept my head down, and quietly tiptoed my way through the month, then the more unwelcome parts might simply pass me by. And for the most part this has been the case, although I am sure this has been more to do with fortunate coincidence than anything I may or may not have actually done :)
I am happy to report that my back is recovering well after the 'incident'. I discovered that continued gentle movement has helped far more than simply resting, and although I have yet to attempt going for a run, I'm sure it won't be too far off. I have kept walks at a low level, partly with me being uncertain of my abilities just now, but mainly because of the awful wet weather. Even on dry days, it has been incredibly cold, and on the higher fells the snow and ice would have been far too treacherous for walking.
Whilst out of the main tourist season, we have ventured to some parts of The Lakes which would usually be quite busy, and therefore not particularly enjoyable to visit. Right now, they are peaceful and quiet, just as I like it.
I have also been spending this last month being more mindful of my diet. Stodgy sandwiches have been replaced by some very tasty salads. I've found preparation is the key, rather than finding myself reaching for the quickest solution when I am feeling hungry. And I am trying very hard not to give into temptation too often, which is easier said than done when I have such a sweet tooth :) I am still providing a cake for the Warm Space each week, so at least I can still have the enjoyment of baking. And last week, I spent a busy evening in the kitchen making marmalade. One day I might even manage to do it without getting both myself and the kitchen into such a sticky mess! Never mind, it tastes delicious. I couldn't bring myself to make any last year, as my dad would have been the first person I would have given a jar to. He used to joke that he found it easier walking on the days he had enjoyed some - because of the added brandy!
It has been a quiet few weeks, for which I am relieved. And now I hope to spend some time catching up properly with everyone over the next few days.