My 2021 January Rest: The List

What is My January Rest? For anyone new, read the next couple of introductory paragraphs. If you know what My January Rest is, then skip to this year’s list.

For years I have had a New Year’s tradition to share with anyone who wants a fresh way of refocusing their values at the beginning of a new year. Years ago, I became disgusted with the decadence of December. While I wanted to focus on the most important things, Love and Relationships, it seemed to rotate around indulging–overeating, overspending, and overdoing! Sadly, all-the-while waistlines, debt, and stress increased, satisfaction dissipated.

That is why I created My January Rest, to refocus my appetite, replenish my budget and re-establish my margins.

While December’s focus was on getting, January’s focus is on giving. Giving up for the purpose of refocusing my “appetites” by “refraining or resting from” some things for the month of January.

To see some things I have done in the past (with explanations), you can read my post.

My January Rest: The 2021 List

Here’s the list, also called “Rest Points”. This year I will rest from satisfying my appetite by using up food in the pantry and freezer. I will rest from satisfying my appetite by not snacking (this should be fun—not!) I’ll rest from consuming refined sugar. That means one black coffee per day: no adding anything. I’m spelling this out for myself, so that I don’t rationalize that hey, that coffee syrup is sugar free, so it is ok. Or, I can make an unsweetened latte with coconut milk. Black coffee and I am happy to have it. One January I gave up coffee. Let me tell you that was a long month! At that point, I would rather have nothing, than give up the cream and sugar. So I have made a lot of progress: I love black coffee now. Cream, sugar, and flavors are for treats (but not in January!) Tea is fine as long as it is in my pantry. Water and smoothies are ok too. No juice unless I have a smoothie (1 cup juice or unsweetened coconut milk—until it runs out). No adult beverages.

After writing this post, but before posting it, I need to add Gatorade because I have fever. This isn’t the way I thought My January Rest would start, but I don’t get to choose.

I will rest from spending money by not shopping for non-essentials. I’ll fix food with what I have, but buy what is needed to complete a meal. I plan on going through the pantry and freezer to use what I can: it will either be devour, donate, or ditch! 

I don’t enjoy writing out meals, but in order to see what I have that needs used up, I will do an inventory. Also to save money (and eat what I already have) I’ll rest from going out to eat, unless I have a gift card (which I do and will use for a date with the hubby). The major difference from this year and any other is COVID-19! We have already stayed home, and stayed home, and stayed home ad nauseum! So staying home is NOT different! That means I’ll try to find a few safe outings for my husband and myself—ah, that would feel restful!

I will save time and money by using up certain lotions, shampoo, makeup samples, or other items that are close to gone, or aren’t my favored items. Or, those travel sized items that never get used up. I’ll again rest my eyes from looking at sales flyers and emails, advertisements, and magazines. This rest saves time and money and keeps the discontentment away! 

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

What will I read instead? Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. This book was a gift from a friend. She was having a hard time, so I sent her a gratitude journal. Soon after, I got this unexpected gift in the mail! It’s perfect for MJR.  Also, I’ll be reading the Psalms in January (which has become a tradition). For the last several years, our Sisters Bible Study group has rested from Bible study and simply read the Psalms then shared our observation with each other. This year, we are finishing an awesome study about the Psalms called Open and Unafraid by W. David O. Taylor. That is what I will read in January—things that will get in me, for good, nourishment, and encouragement!

Besides resting from reading junk email, magazines, and junk mail, I will rest from playing games on my phone. I generally do not play on my phone, at all, but once I got started (like when I went to WI and one of the cousins shared a game with me), it became a thing. I find games to be good stress relievers. And if I am honest, time burners. Since I am wanting to rest from lesser things for better things, I’ve put phone games in the category of lesser things. While I’ve never played Candy Crush again since MJR years ago, I’ve found new games of interest! However, if I get the chance to pay in-person games, I’ll say yes! Many who know me, know I haven’t liked to play games in general, but I have changed a lot over the years. 

While I usually rest from excess activities and use the time to connect with people in person, this year we still can’t connect in person. Thanks again COVID. I signed many of my cards this year, 2020, the year of our Lord (and COVID from the pit!) Humor helps. What will I do instead? Continue to look for ways to encourage and serve where God leads.

This MJR, I am going to allow two movies a week, one for family night and one over the weekend. This will be a shock for me. And for a person, who never ever watched TV, this is one way I have certainly gone in the wrong direction. Having a child changed this drastically. Moreso, last year when our girl was recovering from surgery and couldn’t do stairs, we brought the TV up—in the living room!. We only had a TV in our basement for our whole 17 years in our home before her surgery. It went back in the basement after she could do stairs again. BUT, then came COVID-from-the-pit and working from home. My husband saw the writing on the wall, and brought home his big monitor from work (yes, we bought it so he could have a huge monitor to work on). That monitor went on the desk in our living room and we immediately had movies galore at our fingertips. With COVID, staying home, and such, it was a great distraction. 

I’ll avoid videos on the phone and computer, unless there is a good purpose. Hopefully resting from so much movie and screen time will open time to read, think, write (posts like these) and sleep. 

Sleep. I do not trust myself to set a bedtime: just being honest here. It is complicated. I’ve been saying for a year that I need to get to bed earlier. Those who live here are night owls and with the last of time with my girl in our home, I savor being up. For moms of teens, you will get this…just in case they want to talk. Or want food. Plus, for whatever reason, night is when I tend to think, create, play with my pictures, write, and post. However, what I know is that I need a reboot on my sleep pattern. Goal? Less movies, more time to think, create, write, and post…earlier. And then hopefully, earlier to bed. We will see.

These “Rest Points” make me think more. My January Rest helps me reclaim some of my time to use in a restful way, versus mindless consumption of whatever comes my way. Many friends have commented on what The Rest has meant to them.

Are you interested in trying a January Rest of your own? It is never too late to decide what options you will try and for what duration. Feel free to share your experience. What you most likely will find out is that by telling yourself “no” for a season is like picking a fight with yourself. We can not only save money but we can retrain ourselves to be good managers of the resources we already have.

Happy New Year! I hope you “rest”.

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