A single month can seem like an eternity at times. That is why each new year requires careful consideration as to what my new My January Rest will look like. After I commit to my focuses, I often need to remind myself that it is only a month! My rest seems to break down into three major categories that I have identified to rest from: satisfying appetites, unnecessary spending, and activities.
My previous January Rests have helped me reclaimed some of my time to use in a restful way, versus mindless consumption of whatever came my way. Now that my daughter is older, I take her life into consideration more than I did years ago when I started. She didn’t miss certain things because she didn’t have as strong of an opinion about preferences. The last couple years I heard about it (meaning she wasn’t pleased with all my choices and limitations). Like last year’s rest, I will factor in a few family friendly outings to ease the strain on my family. My family, as are many of my friends, great sports—for the most part—about MJR.
Here is this year’s list based on the three major categories for My January Rest:
Rest from satisfying appetites
- Use what I have in the house vs buy what I prefer to eat. This year’s goal is to target what needs used up most and start there. This year’s challenge is that I’ve been experimenting with gluten free and dairy free (not 100%) due to some health issues. So, eating what I have, which much of it has gluten, will require my eating motto: good, better, or best. I can eat good, or I can make better choices, or sometimes I can eat 100% on plan and that is best. But, to try to live up to perfection 100% of the time, isn’t living; for me it is life draining and impossible. I am sure I’ll write about this journey too, as it pertains to making choices as to what I deem necessary to purchase (fresh or staples) for daily living,
- Also in the use up what I have category are the shampoos, conditioners, bottled lotions and other household products. I got new lotions for Christmas, but mostly, I’ll try to use up existing instead of using my new.
- Coffee yes, but no coffee out, no foo-foo drinks or sugar or creamer (ouch!) I LOVE coffee, but I love it with cream and sugar—straight black coffee, not so much. My husband has fixed me up with many delicious options of syrups at home, but black it will be for the month of January.
- Need vs want. What I already have over what I prefer. Eat up what we already have and force feed those snack items (processed, candy, crackers, chips, goodies from Mom, etc) to my family when they think they need to buy something new. Use these items for our home movie night and I will generally refrain from sweets, processed foods, and mindless snacking. Wish me luck!
Rest from spending
- Again this year purchase only what is needed to complete a meal. I must confess that recently I went through our freezer and pitched a handful of hambones that went into the freeze that I never made in to stock. I’ll do better this year. IF a bone goes in, it will be flipped to soup in two to four weeks tops.
- Again, I will avoid non-essential shopping with the exception of fresh produce or a true need (not planning on using magazines as toilet paper, if you get my point.) Again, I will go out for ONE family dinner using a coupon/gift card we already have and ONE date night with same criteria. I will schedule these so that they do happen! Unlike last year, I will not go out for coffee: I have a big balance on Starbucks and I have several free ones from Coffee Hound. I could go out every week for coffee and that would be no different than my current pattern. I choose to take a break. My choice will be to meet at a home or my studio when I need to meet with someone, instead of going out to a coffee shop. Unless it is socially awkward, like in a business sense, I will adhere to this goal. The one loophole, that I discovered last year and am leaving open, is a hot chocolate out. My husband and I used part of a gift card to a place I rarely frequent, for our date night. Since he doesn’t drink coffee, it worked for MJR for me to have a hot chocolate with him. As I have said before, this is partially about relationship over mindless whatever and sometimes relationship comes before legalistic adherence to MJR. There can be rest from MJR for the right reasons!
Rest from activities
- Resting my appetite from my preferred way of drinking coffee AND going out for it, will save time and money. This will definitely cause me to rest, as meeting people for coffee is a primary way I meet people socially and for business.
- Rest from reading advertisements (email and snail mail) which will also help me to rest from spending. I plan on scheduling an hour slot to sift through (not read), add filters, or unsubscribe from unwanted promotions.
- Rest from reading magazines, TV and entertainment. I will watch up to two movies a week with family at home, although one is better, (I am giving myself the freedom if the opportunity comes up for family time),
- Rest from rabbit trails. Try this one! It is maddening to define and do. I’ve become more mindful of my distractions.
- Rest from Bible study again. My Sisters’ group is reading and savoring (meaning s-l-o-wing down and reflecting versus speed reading or quick consumption to finish a task) the Psalms again in January and resting from a prescribed study. Cool!
- Rest from contacting people, unnecessarily. This is hard to define, because what is truly necessary? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel the need to connect up with people. When I have this feeling, I discern if it is a compulsive need to connect, or a true need to connect that is for a greater purpose. This makes my contacts more sincere and reflecting on the why behind the contact causes me to slow down and rest from unnecessary contacts. Since I am a people person, it is a great discipline for me to practice.
- Rest from compulsive responses to text, email, etc. I am specifically thinking of pleasantries where you go back and forth, then back and forth unnecessarily, while being distracted from what you are attempting to give focus too. Or, when I have those fun thoughts I want to share with my friends. Some of that is fine, but often they are a time sucker for me and them. I’m thinking through them.
- Rest from phone and computer by setting boundaries and daily quiet zones Monday through Friday. I still need to decide if I have the guts to turn my phone off at 9 pm. and turn my phone off daily for two, two hour quiet zones when I am not with people. The quiet zones will be used for time to create and developing material for speaking and teaching. I will put daily (in most cases) creative blocks on the calendar Monday through Friday.
- Attempt good rest at night or naps when possible.
My January Rest will replenish me by resting from these things. I will have needed space and time to create, write, develop ideas and material, and rest physically. Or so the theory goes. Last year’s greatest challenge was that we had a guest living with us for the entire month of January. MJR doesn’t seem weird to me, but living MJR in front of new eyes 24/7 really seemed weird! There were many humorous moments trying to explain and attempting to stay on track while remaining hospitable. This year’s greatest challenge—as I see it—is the new time commitment of my husband and I helping our church and three other couples launch a new weekly ministry beginning in January. Normally, I avoid new commitments to carve out a bit more time to reflect, refocus and refresh, but we can’t always control when something of worth presents itself. I feel that this opportunity is one of the greater things that I can give myself to.
I hope you will keep reading to see how this year’s Rest turns out and encourage me along the way. As always, I look forward to hearing how your rest is going.