My Material Life

Easing into the New Year

The problem with the holidays is that even if you get through them on a relatively even keel, you are bound to feel some let-down as you and everyone else returns to the work-a-day world.  If this never happens to you then you are made of stronger stuff than me – more power to you!

If, however, you don’t yet feel the energy to try to lose that weight or organize your entire household (my constant goal) or pursue whatever life-changing goal you might have for the new year because the end of the holidays leaves you feeling just the teensiest bit depressed, may I suggest the following simple ways to elevate your spirits.  In your own due time, you will surely be ready to take on the world.

Use fresh flowers and white fairy lights to beautify your surroundings.  I believe in taking the long of view of Christmas – the whole twelve days ending with the Epiphany on January 6.  I don’t rush in and I don’t rush out.  Our tree won’t make it to the curb until this weekend.  But once it does, I’m going to head out to Whole Foods to buy an arrangement like the one I photographed in the store on Monday (above).  So lovely, so fresh.  Even Dr. Andrew Weil recommends fresh flowers for optimal health.  That touch of evergreen makes this kind of arrangement just right for January.  And as for white lights? Well, use whatever color you wish, but by all means use them!  I like to drape them around mirrors.  They are a January essential for their magic, their warmth, their cheer.  No need to box them all up yet.

Eat foods that boost your mood.  Foods like leafy greens for B vitamins, salmon for omega-3s and tuna for niacin, nuts and seeds for magnesium (supposedly helps relax the body and soothe the mind) and whole grains like whole wheat pasta and oatmeal.  See the oatmeal pictured above?  I added some pumpkin pie mix, a splash of milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon. That idea came from Sunset magazine.  Although now that I look back at it I see they were suggesting simply cooked pumpkin whereas I went for the sweetened and flavored variety (at least my mix was organic).  I recommend the pie mix. It’s also good with Greek yogurt and granola.  Comforting, tasty, and good for you.

Enlist your sense of smell.  Fragrance is a powerful way to instantly provide a mood boost.  I always keep a bottle of lavender water in Samantha’s room.  We call it “good night” spray, and we spray it in her room whenever she needs some extra help calming down before bed.  I love these fragrant sprays that are pretty much just essential oils blended with distilled water.  The Lavender Spritzer shown comes from Bonny Doon Farm.  I usually pick up a bottle around Valentine’s Day at Yamagami’s Nursery.  However you can work a pleasing fragrance into your life right now is sure to help.

Give yourself time to dream new dreams.  What do you want to look forward to this year?  What do you want to make? Who do you want to come into your life?  Try to hold on to some of that peaceful feeling we often have between Christmas and New Year’s for just a little longer to let these things emerge.  I hope that at least a dream or two come true for you in 2012.


  1. Joy Gutnick


    Did not know that you had a blog. Love what you had to say….I agree with the flowers and the scents. A definite must have!
    Happy New Year to you and your family.

    • Thanks Joy. The flower field photos you forwarded to me last year actually inspired one of my posts from last spring on knitting and stripes. I’ll have to send you the link to that one – Happy New Year to you guys too!

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