What I'm Taking Into February of 2022

Treats and fun things to do. I make a list and pick from it. Does it feel fake, to rely on a list instead of some sense of joyful spontaneity? Sometimes. Is it worth it? Yes. Because sometimes it’s hard to remember, in a glum moment, what might cheer me up. What’s fun, when nothing sounds like fun. So the list is helpful.

What’s on the list? Fun things to make in the kitchen (like the turkey breast roast we had in December or the banana bread loaves that might appear this afternoon). Ways to bring the outdoors indoors intentionally (not like tracking snow in) and beautifully (also not like tracking snow in, and harder in the winter than other seasons). Specifically, growing a bulb or buying flowers or a potted hyacinth. Also: specific movies (seasonal or nostalgic) to watch. Using special mugs for my morning coffee. Small things, but mighty.

Until they're growing outdoors, I can grow some indoors.
Or, you know, try.

Music. For the past several years I’ve fallen out of the habit of listening to music during the day. I tend toward podcasts when I’m walking, and my work is such that music with words sometimes isn't a good choice. But at the Christmas holidays, I always remember music. And this year I’ve carried that through January (I yearned for classical music and Eva Cassidy) and into February (music I used to work to—soundtracks, mostly).

Scroll-Breakers. As in, a list of more-valuable (not necessarily fun) activities than scrolling. Again, why the list helps: often I’m scrolling because nothing else sounds like fun, or even worth doing. And sometimes--sometimes--remembering that I’ve wanted to wipe the years of grime off the staircase railing can get me to put the phone down and pick up a rag. Which I might not remember without the list. 

Rest. Sleep. Exercise. Rest. Generally, take it easier (and miraculously, I’m doing as much as I was, WHICH IS NOT THE POINT). Be kind, starting with myself.

Selectivity. Specifically, greater selectivity in attention to the news. My local health unit changed their COVID reporting and that made it easier. Resting has also helped me worry less about parts of the world I can’t control (the many sides, sad and otherwise, of aging monarchs; bad behaviour in Eurasia). Also: I'm doing a better job of choosing books, from a copious supply (and library), that suit my mood. Some books lighten it, some tickle it, some support it, some challenge it. Choosing is helpful.

What are you taking into February? I'll raise my delightful coffee mug in a toast to our collective happiness.