Monday, January 25, 2016

Rediscovering Me Time in the New Year

I know I've mentioned it here before, but January and February are my least favorite months of the year. The excitement and joy of the holidays are officially over, the sun very rarely makes an appearance and daylight itself is brief, the weather is often bitterly cold, and after a couple of months mostly at home, my husband goes back on the road for the band's winter and spring tours - creating a major challenge with balancing my from-home work schedule with caring for a toddler on my own. It's always been hard for me to get stoked about new year resolutions or the fresh start that January brings because of these things and the overall bummed out feeling that looms over me in the winter months. And this year of course, I also have to adapt to this gloominess and very sporadic and intense work schedule (and night time schedule - help!) with a newborn baby in the mix. It's a lot, guys. Relaxation is virtually nonexistent, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. I bet many of you can relate.

All of this said, I decided that I need to really make an effort to rediscover the concept of "me time" that I established last year and remember how important it is for my happiness (and sanity!). Those of you who are regular readers may recall a couple other posts I've written about taking time for myself, once last summer, and once in the fall. One thing I've noticed is that as the seasons change, so do priorities and schedules and life events, and as a result, our 'me time' routines have to be adjusted as well. As I mentioned above, with the recent changes in my life combined with my usual winter struggles, taking time for myself can be difficult - but by consciously taking the steps to carve out even just a few minutes a day for myself, and specifically in ways that embrace this time of year, I'm finding new ways to recharge and even feel inspired by the wintertime and new year.

One thing that proved quite helpful to me in the fall (which although a beautiful season means bidding a tearful farewell to my beloved summertime) was finding ways to appreciate - instead of reject - the season while carving out my me time (think hot apple cider with cinnamon and spiced candles). Because I tend to fight what I less-than-affectionately refer to as the evil grasp of winter with all of my strength, which I'm fairly confident only works against me, I decided to try the same method I used in the fall. I would attempt to fully embrace winter and the new year, and find ways to be inspired by it while rediscovering me time.

A few nights ago I left the husband and kids at home and ventured out into what the weather channel app described as "feels like -18 degrees" to Jewel-Osco, and filled my cart with the ingredients for what I consider the ultimate wintertime comfort meal: veggie chili. While I was at it, I nabbed the February issues of two of my favorite magazines, Real Simple and InStyle. I came home and whipped the chili together for the following day, got my toddler fed and my newborn nursed, and my husband got them ready for bed. We cleaned up, I finished up a work project, and we exhaustedly fell into bed. I knew the night and following morning would be hectic, but I looked forward to the time I would be setting aside for myself. And the next day, during a much appreciated hour where both kids slept, I heated up some chili, got cozy under my favorite blanket, and flipped through my new magazines. Just like with my summer and fall me time moments, it didn't take long for my headspace to shift from stressed to blissfully calm. I tried to focus on the little wintertime luxuries that just feel better this time of year (homemade chili and blankets, I'm talking about you), and to allow myself to feel inspired by the new year via articles in the mags - like Real Simple's piece on 15 simple diet tweaks to add to your everyday routine (see ya, baby weight) and Q&A on conquering clutter, and InStyle's piece on swept-to-the side waves (major hair inspiration for my cut next week) and article on 10 new ways to find calm. The last few days I've continued with this routine by taking a few minutes a day to appreciate some of wintertime's unique qualities while reading my magazines or listening to music. It's made a major difference, and I look forward to it becoming a habit.

I know you guys are busy too, and that your lives likely change and become hectic in different ways during the new year and winter months - so I hope my sharing my current me time routine encourages you to make similar efforts to take time for yourself. Even just a few minutes a day can make a substantial difference. Find things about the season that just aren't as awesome during the rest of the year and embrace them (think cozy winter luxuries). Read your favorite mags and allow yourself to be inspired by their content for the season and year ahead. Here's a little extra motivation for you: head over to Jewel-Osco and take advantage of $1.00 off participating titles (PEOPLE®, InStyle®, People StyleWatch®, Real Simple®, and Sunset®) with this digital offer until 2/15/16 while supplies last. You're in, right?

Who else needs a little boost to feel good during January and February? What kind of things do you do to take time for yourself this time of year?

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and InStyle® and Real Simple® Magazines, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #NewYearMeTime



  1. I have a tough time in the winter and get stressed easily so this is a great reminder to slow down. I like to go to a coffee shop and read magazines too, it's soothing

  2. I don't know how you do it all, Melissa, but I so admire that you do :) My life doesn't involve a lot of free time but to be honest, that's something I've brought on myself and I'm very aware it's a choice, so if one day I decide I don't want to work on blog stuff or I want to skip a workout, that's okay - not that it happens very often ;) Winter is without a doubt a harder season to stay sane with the lack of daylight and sunshine, but for me, I actually find that keeping busy as much as possible helps me to push through it. Well, that and having a holiday to look forward to towards the end!!

  3. I love comfort food, especially in winter and veggie chili sounds SO good :)
    January and February aren't my favorite months either - I find trying out new crafts helps me get over the winter blues!

  4. First I love your nail polish! Haha Second I have to work harder to set aside time for myself this time of year too. I guess after the comforts of christmas and the holidays I feel guilty when I relax in the new year which is ridiculous. I'm inspired by this post to try harder. =)

  5. I love setting aside time to zone out with a magazine. My time also includes a bath and a glass of wine :)

  6. Mmmmme, too! Way too many carbs, lots of books, extra drawing, hot baths & audio books.


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