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Gentle January

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Some people I know are starting off 2023 doing a “45 Hard” in January. This involves following a strict diet, working out twice daily (at least once outdoors), reading self-help books (at least ten pages per day) and taking daily progress photos. This program is attractive to people who are very disciplined and crave structure, but it’s not for me.

I love structure and I do most of the things on that list daily, but I rebel against the hard restrictive rules in this plan. So instead, I’m following a concept I read about on a lovely blog by Karlee Sisler Flores. It’s called “Gentle January” and it’s a breath of fresh air.

Writing a list of goals (i.e. resolutions) on an arbitrary date just doesn’t seem to work for me. It has never empowered me to make the changes I want to make; plus there’s a long, beautiful year ahead of us full of opportunities to reach those goals.

Coming off the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be depressing and exhausting. I always feel a bit blue when all the twinkly lights and greenery of the holidays are packed away. This year, we put it off as long as possible, but when our once beautiful Frazier Fir started dropping needles at a rapid pace, I knew it was time.

I saved one tree of twinkly lights and put it behind my comfy chair, stashed my favorite blanket on the arm of the chair, and strategically put my book and journal on the other arm of the chair. I created a simple, gentle, cozy space to start and end my days during these long months of the never-ending Minnesota winter.

I’ve also embraced the Danish concept of HYGGE (pronounced “hoo-guh”). This word describes a mood of coziness and comfort, with feelings of wellness and contentment. It is about embracing winter, rather than dreading it. My husband and I got snowshoes for Christmas, and we are enjoying the beauty of the 14 inches of snow that fell over the past couple of weeks. We are nourishing our bodies with warm, nutrient-dense meals packed full of comforting winter veggies. Most nights you will find us playing cards or games in front of a crackling fire. I’m loving evenings when I curl up in my comfy chair with my book (I’m reading The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama and I’m loving it). Simple. Gentle. Comforting.

We often have music playing in our home. There’s a simple comfort in cooking with a great playlist (and a glass of wine). Spotify has a beautiful HYGGE playlist with many of my favorite artists: Maggie Rogers, Bon Iver and the Lumineers. I also found a “Gentle January 2023” Playlist with even more of my favorites: James Taylor, Van Morrison and Allison Krauss & Union Station.

I encourage you to put on some music, curl up with a good book and a comfy blanket and enjoy a gentle January… and expand it to February, March and April.

AND if you want to embrace the concept of HYGGE by participating in our winter HYGEE Retreat, (think winter adventure, nourishing meals, simple, gentle comfort), you are in luck. We still have spots available for our non-accommodation option. You can register here:

With love and coziness,


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