The tinsel, the lights, the wrapping of gifts, the overload of food and cheersing ourselves into oblivion. 

 If ever there is a time of sensory overload it is the holidays. 

Too much to take in with our eyesthe lights, the wish lists, decorations in every spare space.

With our ears: holiday songs on repeat, kids screeching excitedly or fully melting down, dogs howling at the fireworks

With our noses: heavy holiday foods, holiday candles of every possible concoction including winter sweater and Christmas sugar cookie, fire… did I leave something in the oven or is that just the fireplace?

With our mouths: sugary treats, savory delights, candy being offered to us and our kids at every turn, holiday greetings hoping we remembered to ask about the right things and people and didn’t step in it by asking about the boyfriend who didn’t make it past thanksgiving! 

With our hands: checking off lists, baking, wrapping gifts, shopping. Judging which sweater is just the right weight for her, wiping tears off cheeks, soothing disappointed kids, and grieving loved ones. Carefully cleaning up broken ornaments, hot candle wax dripping onto our hands as we try to stop and remember the sacred in the midst of the chaotic.

After all of this, it seems as though a rest might be in order but instead our culture demands we set aside our noise makers and glasses of champagne and decide our goals for the new year: GET FIT! GET ORGANIZED! GET THAT PROMOTION! THIS IS YOUR YEAR!

This may be your year to truly hustle and get all those goals accomplished before the calendar turns to February, but maybe you, like me, need to slow down and re-group before you start crushing your goals.

Maybe for you January looks like:

-Slowly take down all your holiday decorations and let things be a little barer around your home than it is the rest of the year, to give your eyes a rest. 

-Spending time in silence, either as a spiritual practice or just giving your mind and ears a rest. Instead of listening to a podcast on your way to work or kid music in the morning, maybe it would help to make space for silence. 

-Eating simple meals made at home to enjoy more slowly and to have less clean up. 

-Consider putting some of your gifts away out of sight until you can use them. If you got several books for Christmas but only put the one you’re reading on your nightstand and put the rest away. Or if you got a new candle but the one on the side of your tub still has a lot of life in it, put the new one in the cabinet and it will be a fun treat later in the year. Rotating toys, some in the closet, some in the toybox can make playing more enjoyable for kids, even though it may be hard on the front end. 

-Lastly, make a list of the things that help you feel rested and add some of them into your January. These things might be: Sunday afternoon naps, Family movie night, having your home professionally cleaned twice a month, walks by the lake, reading books regularly. Take some time in January to figure out what you and your family need to feel rested and then set clear goals for the new year.

Wishing you and yours a calm and contented 2023.