As we reach the middle of January, it can be hard to feel that New Year zeal that we are ‘supposed’ to feel. It’s still dark for a large proportion of the day, and the pretty fairylights that offset the gloom have been packed away for another year. The bedroom is cold; the duvet is warm. We haul ourselves out from under it anyway and pad to the kitchen. The coffee mug is calling, but the January detox dictates we fire up the juicer instead.
January represents a huge clash of instinctive nature and cultural nurture. As citizens of the 21st-century first world, January is the (manmade) turn of a New Year, signalling new starts, fresh ideas and exciting goals. As mammals though, the lack of light and warmth dictates drawing in, introspection and reserving energy for the Spring. When these two parts collide – especially when you add wedding anxiety – it’s the recipe for the January Blues.
For our early ancestors, each year at this time there was a very real danger of starvation before Spring arrived with its new growth. The winter was about hunkering down to endure the dark, cold and hunger. Starvation isn’t an issue for (most of) the western world today, however extreme the detox may feel. But there is a strong animal part of our brain that is a lot more in tune with the natural world than we are generally aware of when sat in our centrally heated houses.
If you are struggling to feel the right energy for getting started on your ceremony plans, or indeed your other plans for the year, it could be time to listen to your mammalian instincts. I’m not suggesting that you just go back to bed and eat chocolate until Spring – however attractive a prospect that may seem – but here are a few ideas to make nature and nurture work together for you.
8 Ways to Embrace Your Inner Caveperson, Beat the January Blues and Plan your Wedding without stress
Remember that January 1st is just a manmade marker of the New Year. If you feel that you’re naturally more energetic at a different time of the year, that’s fine too. Some people find that September feels like a better time for a clean slate – plan your biggest steps for then if that’s you (and your wedding timeline allows!) For our Celtic ancestors, the quarter days in the year were marked by Imbolc (1st Feb), Beltane (1st May), Lughnasa (1st August) and Samhain (1st November). Personally, I feel so much more like a fresh start at Imbolc when the first signs of spring show themselves. If these seem more instinctively ‘right’ to you than January Zeal, why not try planning around them instead?
Get plenty of sleep. Hibernation is not a very practical option, but making sure that you get your 8 hours a night, especially at this time of year, will help your mood and health no end. Waking up with the sun is naturally much easier, but if that’s not an option for you, invest in a sunrise-simulating alarm clock.
Use January as a time to read a lot, write a lot, and plan for the days when the light comes back and you’ll have more natural energy to implement your ideas. It’s worth journaling your thoughts through this time, as they tend to go in deeper during the darker months. This is a great time to reflect on what your wedding means to you and your partner, how you want the day to feel for your guests, and your hopes and dreams for the future together. It’s also the perfect time to get cosy and answer the questionnaire your celebrant sent you!!
Make sure you leave your cave at least once a day and walk/run in the daylight. Everything feels better in the daylight and fresh air, even if it’s freezing cold or raining.
Don’t let the New Year enthusiasm of others make you feel guilty or left behind in any way. If you’re getting married this year, you will no doubt be bombarded with ‘action plans’ and hysterical articles online and in magazines (not to mention overexcited family and friends). You will get more done and with less stress by being in tune with what feels right for you than by forcing yourself to make big decisions now just because it’s the thing that everyone else does. Switch off your social media for a while and limit your exposure to other media (or people!) that make you feel that you ‘should’ do anything other than what you are doing.
Eat plenty of seasonal fresh fruit and veg, and make sure you drink lots of water. Soups and casseroles are healthy as well as being comforting, warming winter food. But please, please don’t cave into the ‘shedding for the wedding’ toxic weight loss stuff. This is about looking after yourself and your precious body, not forcing yourself to conform to other people’s beauty standards.
Set a date to end your introspection. It’s important not to get too cosy in your cave! Mark it with a big, celebratory Spring clean before you go off chasing mammoths (or florists, caterers or wedding party members!!)
Remember the whole thing can be done in a few days on ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’! Whilst I’m not suggesting you leave it till the last minute, it really doesn’t all have to be done now (well, unless your wedding’s in February of course, in which case, good luck!)
And if you need some support in your wedding hibernation, give me a shout!