The unholy trinity

Recharge with tips on boozing, snoozing and binge-watching

It’s mid-afternoon on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day and I’m still not dressed. My hair’s a rat’s nest and I’m sipping on a two-hours’ cold cup of coffee while my husband and I gently argue over which movie to queue up next. At least I’ve brushed my teeth. It’s the little victories.

I never did manage to get dressed on that particular day. What would have been the point? The holidays were, for all intents and purposes, over. Now it was time to condition for the ultimate January, one comprising a gloriously lazy and indulgent unholy trinity: drinking, binge-watching and napping.

So far this month we’ve spent every possible free moment alternating between episodes of the The Wire and Gilmore Girls (an oddly perfect combination), sipping on heavy winter ales and Manhattans, pausing only to hunker down in the dark bedroom with three cats for a nap.

And so it will go for the remainder of the month.

Eat better, exercise more, drink less? Nope.

Keep your so-called Drynuary and that unrealistic exercise schedule. Screw yoga and juice cleanses and any other detox, de-stress efforts. While the rest of the world makes a futile attempt at self-improvement, the only resolution I’ve made is be kinder to myself. This means unwinding, recharging and reveling in the bliss of an empty social calendar and a full Netflix queue.

After a season of fancy dresses and uncomfortable heels, January slips on like my favorite sweatshirt, cozy and without pretense. No awkward parties, no white elephant gift exchanges, no tense family dinners.

I didn’t always take this approach. In the past I made resolutions and set goals. I set my alarm for a chilly, pre-dawn workout. I bought kale and baby carrots and hid the bourbon.

Then, at the dawn of 2007 I found myself sick—horribly ill with a lingering bout of bronchitis that settled into my chest for the long, phlegmy haul. Armed with a doctor’s note and a boxful of Kleenex I lived on my couch that month, catching up on Lost and sipping hot toddies between naps.

By the time February rolled around, my chest had cleared and my energy returned. I felt oddly renewed and ready to face the world.

In the years since, I’ve made this routine. Factor out any debilitating cough, achiness and sneezing and it’s a lovely ritual.

Want to partake? Welcome, but a warning: The January vice-a-thon isn’t for the faint of heart. Sure, it may look easy—all those brews, sweet slumber and Orphan Black episodes—but if you’re seeking spiritual enlightenment you’d be smart to heed the following tips.

Fuel up: Stock up the fridge and bar and make sure the number for a pizza delivery place has been programmed into your phone. The whole point of nesting away a January weekend is just that: nesting. If one must leave the house to hunt down food or alcohol, it’s an immediate fail.

Choose wisely: You could spend 236 hours watching Friends—no judgment, honest—but is that really the best use of your binge-watching talents? There’s an undeniably satisfying feeling that comes from cramming the entire run of a meatier series such as Breaking Bad, Sherlock or Damages into one short month. Dr. Who, anyone?

Pace yourself: Whether it’s the booze, snooze or boob tube, be sure to set a reasonable pace. Limit day drinking to the lighter stuff such as low-octane beer, mimosas or, better yet, coffee spiked with a slug of whiskey. This approach ensures you’ll have the mental wherewithal to stay faithful to the screen with only minimal napping. This last part is key. Naps are awesome. Naps are heaven. Naps are, truthfully, sometimes my entire reason for being. But if your nap is part of a Big Picture Laziness endeavor then it’s actually counter-intuitive to doze off for too long. Thirty minutes is ideal, 45-minutes should be the max—anything longer and you’ll likely cross over to the dark side.

Happy January everyone. May the unholy trinity be with you.