by Maria Schulz
Here it is, January 16th, and I’ve already managed to completely forget my New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t been to the gym in a week; decided that cookies were the enemy of my enemy and therefore my friends; and have been wallowing in writer’s block for weeks now.
The rush and excitement of the holidays are over, and January is like that high school friend you see on the train that you wish you had continued to ignore. But no, you made eye contact and now you’re stuck with her. So here are my ways to make January a better friend, if only because the ride has to end eventually:
10 Ways to Make January Prettier, Funnier, And Less Annoying
- Start a petition for a new Charlie Brown January special. I just lived through three consecutive months of Charlie Brown shows including, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown; and A Charlie Brown Christmas. How can I be expected to be cheerful in January without a Charlie Brown fix? My show would be called January’s A Bummer, Charlie Brown, and it would be filled with scenes of a snow bound “Chuck” contemplating how bored he is while Linus quotes Sartre and Goethe; an angry phone call in which he tells Peppermint Patty that no, she can’t come over uninvited and yes, she should go to hell; and one where he finally kicks the football before Lucy pulls it away, and then possibly slaps/chokes Lucy for being such a jerk.
- Notice January’s best qualities and try to hold onto them. For instance, when I get out of work at night now, it’s not pitch black outside. This may seem like a small thing to most people, but when you get to work in sunlight and leave in utter darkness, it makes you feel like you just worked an 18 hour shift. Any sunlight is an improvement, even if it only lasts a few minutes.
- Clean, clean, clean. Welcome January as a time that you can clean out your closets, recycle unused clothing, and donate library books you haven’t read in a dog’s age…because who wants to do any of that once the sun is shining and the weather outside is less than frightful?
- Embrace your inner Julia Child. The kitchen may be the one place you can actually wear a tee-shirt and cropped pants thanks to that hot oven and stove. Now is the time for soup, stews, casseroles, and lasagna. See? If you look hard enough, you can always find something good about January.
- Catch up on your reading. I always feel a little bit guilty sitting inside reading a book in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. But Winter—January especially—is the perfect time to lounge on the couch like Cleopatra in a snuggly. I try to avoid anything too deep or depressing, since being trapped inside already makes me want to end it all. This is the time of year that celebrity memoirs were made for.
- Go for a walk. Yeah, I know that January stinks weather wise. It’s cold out! It could start snowing at any moment! I could slip and crack my head open like a watermelon! So what. I’m not saying you should hire a Sherpa and go to the top of Mount Everest. Just grab the dog (or sign up to walk a dog at your local animal shelter) and get out there. A 20-minute walk around the ‘hood will get your blood pumping and make you less depressed. Plus you can rationalize that not going to the gym is okay. Win/win.
- Go to the gym. You could look at a gym visit as totally depressing and a waste of time because you’ll never lose the weight, and all the good machines are taken up by other fatties like yourself who won’t even be here come March. OR…you could wait until the peak times pass (don’t go at 6 or 7…go at 7:45 pm, when everyone is home eating cookies) and get in an hour of exercise. You may never look like Jane Fonda (even at 78), but at least you won’t be laying on the couch crying that you’ll never even look as good as Jane Fonda.
- Help someone else. Are you related to an older person who won’t leave the house from October until May because they could slip and kill themselves? Drop by their house and visit them. Bring some groceries, the last book you read and enjoyed, and some amusing stories from the outside world. You may just learn a thing or two from someone who has a lot to teach you. Plus, you’ll both feel better about life in general, and you will have spent at least some time this month not being a slug.
- Call a friend. You know how you always say, “I meant to call So and So, but I’ve been so busy…” You’re not too busy right now. You’re stuck inside! There’s nothing to watch on television! YOU’RE BORED SENSELESS! Nothing will cheer you up faster than talking to someone special on the phone. Laughing and reminiscing with them will leave a smile on your face for at least the rest of the day. Plus, your friend will be so happy to hear from you (finally). Again, win/win.
- Dress to impress, or at least not to offend. Yes, it’s tempting to wear your ratty old sweatshirt, baggy pants, and no makeup all January long. But if you make the effort to NOT look like a big fat loser, maybe you won’t feel like one. Or maybe you’ll just treat yourself a little bit nicer, instead of wasting the whole month thinking about how awful you look. I’m not saying you should hire a designer and start walking the red carpet…although that would be kinda cool. You know what? Go for it! And let me know how that works out for you.
Just don’t stand next to Jane Fonda.
I love lasagna, but I also love not feeling like I just gained 20 pounds after one meal. So this collection of healthier lasagna recipes appealed to me. However, I doubt I will ever make Butternut Kale Lasagna. I will try the Classic Light Bolognese Lasagna and the Turkey Sausage and Spinach Lasagna. Check it out—and find a delicious, healthier lasagna recipe to enjoy this month.
So, Hungry Lifers…what’s your favorite way to spend a January day? Which lasagna recipe looks good to you? Do you wish you looked half as good as Jane Fonda? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!