January is never an easy month, but this January in particular felt long. The days felt dark and gloomy, and there were weeks when I was certain that the rain would never stop.
Some days were harder than others. Like the 14th of January, which marked 4 years since my wonderful Nan passed away. Or the following Sunday, when I woke up under a cloud, heavy sobs choking in my throat for no reason in particular.
On those days, when life felt overwhelming and unbearably heavy, there was one thing that brought a little bit of light – my #FindingTheJoyInJanuary project. For those who haven’t been participating, #FindingTheJoyInJanuary was an Instagram project that I designed to encourage people to focus on the good parts of January, rather than the gloom and the grey.
Scrolling through the hashtag every morning and reading all those little sparks of positivity and gratitude quickly became my favourite way to start the day. And before long, what started out as a small idea began to have a huge impact on my attitude, mental health and approach to life.
Rather than moaning about the weather, or complaining about my bank balance, I found myself feeling grateful that tulips were back in the supermarket, or appreciating the cosiness of curling up under a blanket with a good book. I started to take notice of those little moments of bliss – the first cup of tea of the day, or a lovely lunch with family.
And on those sad days, when my mind was more invested in worry and grief than smiles and sunshine, #FindingTheJoyInJanuary forced me to dig a little deeper and realise how lucky I was. It made me remember that despite how difficult life can be sometimes, I still have a wonderful husband and a supportive family and a gorgeous home.
As the end of the month approached, I started to feel a little bit sad. The project had brought me so much joy, and I knew I’d miss it when February rolled around. And so, I’ve decided to start a new hashtag – #FindingTheJoyInEveryday.
The idea is exactly the same – it will be a space for people to share the little (and big!) things that bring them joy. It will be a community of positivity, a place where we can all enjoy looking on the bright side of life. And hopefully it will continue to be a source of comfort on those down days for anybody who needs it.
But most of all, I hope that #FindingTheJoyInEveryday will serve as a reminder that our lives being lived right now. They don’t start when we get that fabulous new job we dream of, or when we’ve got a ring on our finger, or when we lose ten pounds. They’re happening now, and those little things that make us smile are the memories we’ll look back on one day and cherish. So we might as well appreciate them now, right?
If you’d like to join in, please come and follow #FindingTheJoyInEveryday on Instagram (yep, you can follow hashtags now and it’s really cool!), and if you like what you see, get using the hashtag too. I can’t wait to share your special little moments with you.