How to Survive January

Curse a lot, freely, especially in public places, and particularly around children. They’re going to need to know how to cope at some point, right? Invent some new curse words just to keep things interesting. Blame it on the kid if need be.  

Reward yourself for staying in your “big girl” clothes until the respectable hour of “lunchtime” before changing into lounge/athleisure wear/worn out pajama bottoms of choice. Bear in mind that for many people like farmers, night shift security guards, and vampires “lunchtime” could be as early as 10 AM.

Carb load. Dairy load. Sugar load. Consume everything in mass quantities except responsibility and dignity.

Scroll through images of people on Instagram, “living their best #FOMO lives” in warm places like Bali, Costa Rica, or Maui. Copy the images you like best, but instead of putting them on your vision board (tucked in your closet for the last two years anyway), photoshop yourself into those photos. Think of them as you’re opening weeping  stoplights.

Openly weep at stoplights.

Make plans to have coffee with a friend. Cancel plans almost immediately, but reward yourself for trying.

Pretend January simply isn’t happening as if you’re in an episode of Black Mirror. Binge Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Allow yourself to be soothed by the dulcet, lilting tones of her lovely voice. Do not bother to follow the show or tell yourself after the next episode you’re going to KonMarie the crap out of the shame closet—the one in the upstairs guest room where well intentioned gifts and gadgets go to die. Simply focus on her bird-song intonation. Later, go to her website and order one of each of her tidying, space-saving products. Store them in the shame closet.

Grow everything out.

Trim everything up.

Pile every blanket you own on your bed. Burrow underneath it as deep as you possibly can. Deeper. No, deeper still. There you are! Now: stay. Periodically extract a pale, scaly appendage that passes for a hand or arm through the womb-like opening to nibble on a strategically placed plate of cookies or fruit and cheese.  



Watch every Hallmark Channel “winter romance” movie. Email the producers helpful notes. For instance: “While I appreciated that Malory ultimately fell for the stoic, yet emotionally available ski instructor, Tad, in Sweet Chalet, you do realize that you’re contributing to the unrealistic expectations that romance flourishes even in the coldest months of the year and not, as is the reality, were it goes to die a gruesome death under yards of body hair and chili-encrusted soup bowls?!”

Buy a state of the art, super high-tech, blue-tooth, voice activated, smart, Oprah-endorsed light therapy lamp. Realize that you could have booked yourself a great trip to sunny Tahiti with the money you would have saved from the lamp. Consider this when you are openly weeping at stoplights.  

Give yourself a project, something that you can really put a lot of time and effort into, something that you’ve been dying to tackle for years like tracing your family’s ancestry, building ornate birdhouses, or wondering where it all went wrong.


8 thoughts

  1. Laughing, and that’s not easy when tonight’s forecast is for -8 with 40 MPH winds. Cussing works but my bird feeders work better when cardinals visit (who can resist cardinal red in the snow?) except they’re eating too much seed and expect their slave to fill the feeders again. If I don’t, they’ll punish me with death. Their death. I have a wood stove which is #1 on my list for surviving January. I have big pots of water in case the power goes out. I have books to read and chocolate and so far I have blogs to read while my own writing is avoided. Everything’s gonna be alright.

    1. Elaine: You are bringing A LOT of light and warmth with your words and your humanity. Keep at it! I can FEEL the crocuses thumping their little feet beneath that stone, cold ground. It will happen. It always does. And may we never forget or miss the miracle of it. Namaste. X!

    1. Mahlon–clearly it all went wrong the moment your REAL parents (Scottish royalty, of course) dropped you on the doorstep of that other couple…

  2. Thanks for this, Sheila!! Oh gosh, I needed a laugh today. And let’s not even discuss “…yards of body hair and chili-encrusted soup bowls.” Yup. It’s all happening over here.

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