For some it means a great purge, like emptying closets or garages, throwing out anything that hasn't been worn or used in years. For others it means paring daily duties to a minimum anything to simplify.
And for some, it means Shirodhara, an ancient Indian relaxation technique in which warm sesame oil is dropped onto a third eye. "I got home and I was out like a light," says Nesbit Hatch of his Shirodhara treatment.
Hatch, with his business partner Michael Woods, owns Nesbit the Complete Body Salon in the Fan. Increasingly, Hatch says, people are realizing that "all work is really stress-causing" and they need to find outlets to offset it.
Coming off the holidays is a natural time to start. So much so, says Hatch, that his and other area salons see an increase in business in January and February. "Statistically it's the largest time frame for people to use gift certificates" or to pamper themselves with some kind of luxury anything from a manicure to a full-body massage, mineral bath and dose of Shirodhara.
"The whole point is to slow down and get more reflective," Hatch says.
Finding balance can also come from a cup. Just ask Richmond's new 8th District City Council member Jackie Jackson.
"I just started getting into drinking hot tea," she confesses, adding that her resolutions are to make some improvements to her house and spend more time on "me."
Jackson has a La-Z-boy chair and a two-tone blue comforter to help her do this. For a few minutes each night, she says, she curls up, reads a book and relishes the time her phone is quiet. "It's how I calm down from the day," she says. As for manicures and pedicures, she says, laughing, "Those I'm committed to get on a regular basis."
WRIC Channel 8 news anchor and mother of two, Lisa Shaffner, made a promise to herself this year that she intends to keep.
"My resolution is to reconnect with old friends," Shaffner happily explains, from her second home in the station's newsroom. The sporadic hours of her work, community events, and boards she serves on make clearing her schedule difficult. Still, she's committed to try.
"I woke up over the holidays and realized how much I missed my friends and thought, I need to sit down and physically have lunch with them, or at least a leisurely cup of coffee." Since the year began, Shaffner says she's kept her pledge twice. The best part, she says, is going out in sweat pants without makeup and just being herself. "It makes you feel so secure to be among good friends," she says.
Still, the kickoff to 2003 is not something many are likely to feel secure about. There is the impending war with Iraq. The economy is a mess. State and local budget cuts have people weary and worried that their money and resources won't go far.
"It's a scary, scary time," remarks Stoner Winslett, artistic director for the Richmond Ballet. For Winslett, who has a 13-year-old and a toddler, January is post-Nutcracker month, on the heels of the ballet's busiest time of year. It's also when new ballet classes begin. When daily stresses pile up, she says, it's easy for creativity to buckle in the process. Time spent alone is precious.
As a dancer, Winslett says, "I'm a big fan of massage." She also savors moments in bed channel-surfing or driving without the distractions of a radio or cell phone. "When we panic we shut down," she explains. "The mind is so crowded that ideas don't bubble up." Creativity is vital, she says. And no matter how or when it comes it soothes like a salve: "Some of my best ideas come to me in the shower."
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