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 over ten 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 revolve 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 often on getting (consuming), 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”. In essence rest from: sugar, snacking, most drinks, unnecessary shopping, eating out, looking at junk mail-physical or electronic, painting my fingernails, excessive activities, TV, and rest more! See below for an expanded version of my Rest Points!
This year I will rest from satisfying my appetite by using up food in the pantry and freezer. I’ll rest from choosing processed foods over whole/fresh foods. I will rest from satisfying my appetite by not snacking. And to make my meals more satisfying, I plan on sitting at the table, and lighting a candle when I can. Plus I’ll focus on my meal and not the phone, my to-do list, or other distractions. 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. Some weeks I might rest from everything except water, coffee, and tea…or I might go with water only! While My Rest didn’t start out expressly about spiritual things, when I made room by giving up lesser things, I found a spiritual rest as well. This year I’m adding a few weekly items to rest from, then I’ll pray specifically for something or someone.
Last year at this time, I had Covid. That was an uninvited participant to complicate MJR (My January Rest)—I signed many of my cards, “2020, the year of our Lord (and COVID from the pit!)” Humor helped. Some. Every MJR has its own fingerprint. This year—at this writing—I have much more control over what I can do and how I manage food. Last year I had two girls living here and that is the second time I’ve had houseguests while trying to Rest. Let’s just say it makes things more challenging and quite interesting!
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 while substituting or omitting ingredients unless deemed vital. I plan on going through the pantry and freezer to use what I can: it will either be devoured, donated, or ditched! I’ll use the gift card to a grocery store I have that I normally don’t shop at.
Also to save money (and eat what I already have) I’ll rest from going out to eat unless traveling as I have two small trips planned. I have a gift card to use for my once per month date night with my husband.
Last year the major difference from previous pre-COVID is that we had already stayed home, and stayed home, and stayed home ad nauseum! So staying home was NOT different! Everyone had a MJR experience!
Even though my husband still works from home and more of our life has been lived outside our four walls, we’ve had some big changes. My girl is in college and living outside our home, so I don’t need to feel bad about restricting purchases. Previous years it was often hard, because I didn’t want my daughter to hate January! And we are officially empty nesters—every night can be date night!
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. When I went on vacation this year, I had my first manicure. Guess what? I liked it. I’ve been painting my nails ever since and even got new colors for Christmas—but, it takes time I’m not use to! So for this month, when my current polish gives out, I’ll paint them with clear only, to keep them from breaking.
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!
What will I read instead? C. S. Lewis! I’ve wanted to dive into more of his work, so I purchased one of his collections when it was on sale. And I’ll be reading the Psalms in January, as has become my yearly rhythm. For many years, our Sisters Bible Study group has rested from Bible study and simply read the Psalms then shared our observations with each other. Wow, I fall more in love with them each year: so rich, so passionate, and so wise! Instead of reading texts with no “nutrition”, in January I read things that will get in me for my 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.
For the month of January, I try to rest from excessive activities then use the recovered time to connect with people in person. This year I’m planning a handful of special outings that will feed my soul.
Again this MJR, I am going to allow two movies a week (no TV), one for family night and one over the weekend. I did this last year too. While I don’t watch TV per se, I’ve watched many more movies as of late! I’ll avoid videos on the phone and computer, unless there is a valid reason beyond curiosity or mindless consumption—like Reels. Wow, I cannot believe how I got sucked in! I’ll use social media and mind my own business: I do have a business, so I need to be involved with that and I will be posting about MJR and interacting with that, but I’m minimizing browsing other’s posts. Hopefully resting from so much movie and screen time will open time to read, think, write (posts like these) and sleep.
Sleep, for the first time in my life, I have a sleep tracking device as of Christmas. Merry Christmas to me! While I’ve been attempting to get more sleep but failing, now that my teen is on her own, I might do better. We shall 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. We can find freedom and experience peace and contentment that comes through the process.
Happy New Year! I hope you “rest”.