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Two blog posts in one week is a bit of a stretch for me, but with all the time I’ve spent cooped up in my flat eating chocolate and drinking tea, I’ve had a lot of time for reflection! As you know, I came back to Paris this week and was honest about finding it slightly difficult. This, combined with all of the standard January ‘New Year, New Me’ posts, made me think about how we can often be a little too hard on ourselves.

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If you ask me, January is completely the wrong time to be making any great changes to your life. I get the idea behind it – you can essentially wipe the slate clean and start again – but I don’t know anybody who is entering the New Year feeling refreshed, revitalised and ready to take on a huge challenge. You’ve just spent the past two months stressing about Christmas shopping and the state of your bank account. You’ve probably attended so many social events, family get together’s and obligatory catch up sessions that you don’t know your head from your arse. And I bet that all of this resulted in a little (if not a lot) of alcohol consumption and overindulging, and maybe a few (premature) grey hairs. All of this is more than okay – after all, it’s the Christmas period and it’s meant for having great times with the people you love.

My problem lies with the fact that you’re expected to make a 180° turn with your life when you have a hangover so bad, you’re pretty sure it’s the end. Whether you’ve decided you’re going to hit the gym 6 times a week and have bought all of Nike’s collection in the Boxing Day sales to motivate you, or you’ve decided to completely cut out *insert detrimental substance here*, or you’ve decided to attempt veganism – is January 1st really the time to do it?

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What I’ve learnt this week is that January is a time to recuperate and regather yourself, and you should be taking the time to let you, and your bank account, get over the nasty side effects of the Christmas period. In the words of my nana: be kind to yourself. If this means finishing off the left over chocolate from Christmas, giving in to your favourite comfort food and sacking off the gym a few times, then so be it. Do whatever it takes to get through the horrendous month January can be, and use the time to reflect on what gradual changes you might like to see. And, come February-March, as the days get longer and the weather (hopefully) becomes warmer, you can start to implement small changes to your lifestyle with a more positive attitude. Start when you feel ready, and do it on your terms, not because society dictates that the only time you can change something is once a year.

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For me, this will probably be some time this weekend. I’ve given myself a week to readjust to the early starts and living alone, and feel a hundred times better for it. It may be a week into January, but 2016: I’m ready for you!