Every year, I hear all kinds of people knocking the month of January. Some say that, now that all the decorations are put away and holiday festivities are wrapped up, January feels dull and bleak and depressing. Others complain that it’s too cold, or that there’s nothing to do. But I think that poor January has gotten a bad rap–because by taking a different perspective on this season’s chilly calm, it’s possible to turn January into a monthlong creative and musical retreat!
I get into this creativity-friendly perspective simply by turning around the wintery subjects I’m tempted to whine about. For example, if my first thought is, “Man, it’s too cold outside to do anything!!” I spin that thought around until it says, “But it’s super-warm indoors. What are some things I can do inside?” (And for a musician, this question has some awesome answers: practice, compose, arrange, harmonize, study, improvise, jam, experiment…and the list goes on!)
Here are 3 more typical January complaints, and how to turn them around to give you a creative boost:
1. “I’m SOOO tired!” – January is quite a dark and gray month in many parts of the country, so it can be a nightmare trying to get out of bed in the morning…or at all. Sometimes it may feel like all we want to do is sleep! But what if we looked at this urge to hibernate as a good thing?
Extra sleep can feel luxurious, especially when we lay aside our worries about what we think we “should” be doing and just rest. When we allow ourselves small luxuries like lazy, carefree relaxation, we contribute to the health of our Inner Artist. And when our Inner Artist is strong and happy, our creative ideas flow more easily!
2. “I’m SO bored; there’s nothing to do!” – After the craziness of the holiday season, adjusting to the calm of January can be very difficult. One great way to turn this complaint around is to view a sparse schedule as a golden opportunity to pursue those things we never seem to have time for. For many freelance musicians, January is a time when nobody’s calling us to play their music. So, we can turn it into a chance to make OUR music! When we start feeling bored or stuck, we can use it as a signal to sit down and work on music we’re passionate about.
3. “Everything looks so depressing, now that all the Christmas lights are down.” – It can be a real drag taking down all the pretty holiday decorations we put up last month. But who says that decorations are only a December thing? We can also have great fun decorating for January! Each year, I make January fun by doing up Summerglen in calm, meditative winter stuff. I only decorate for January once a year, so it’s a special thing that I look forward to. And…changing up our environment can stimulate our brains, bringing us new ideas to bring into our musical lives.
So, how will you make this month a fun and musical time? Best wishes, and happy January!