Janus, also known as January, is the first month of the calendar year and is recognized as the god of doorways, representing the present and the past and the sun’s rising and setting.
It represents transitions; the old and new. Janus is visually represented by two bearded heads attached and looking in opposite directions of the past and the future. It is not a surprise that January is often a time of reflection on the year prior and hopes for better days ahead. January presents new opportunities and ways to celebrate. Folks sometimes purge and prepare by making wishes and resolutions in hopes of a better outcome than the prior year. Several special days in January encourage self-care, empathy, history, and advocacy.
January 3 is Mind Body Wellness Day, a time to rededicate efforts towards self-care. Juggling day-to-day responsibilities can be overwhelming when we lose focus on our health. While caring for others, we often neglect ourselves by pushing ourselves to our mental and physical limits without taking the necessary time to rejuvenate. Interestingly enough, gyms often find an increase in memberships during January and March, with January being a time of renewal and March getting prepared for the summer. There are several options to get fit. Join a local gym, download apps that support fitness, or take daily walks to recenter your focus and energy. The most important part is to remain active, including taking the time to renew your mind and thinking. Dedicating 15 to 30 minutes towards self-care each day is a great start.
World Day Against Human Trafficking is observed on July 30. However, the United States marks National Human Trafficking Awareness Day on January 11. California reports having the highest cases of human trafficking, which includes both female and male victims. The Solano Anti-Trafficking Coalition was established in 2020 out of the Solano County District Attorney’s Office and has made efforts to raise awareness and education. For more information, call the Human Trafficking Hotline at 1.888.373.7888 or go online to humantraffickinghotline.org/state/california; and for Solano County, check out the Solano Anti-Trafficking Coalition natureofsound.org/satc.
January 16, 2023, observes Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This holiday takes place on the third Monday of January. Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. King was a notable civil rights advocate who practiced nonviolence in his approach to fight racism, discrimination and segregation. This holiday is celebrated with various programs put on by community leaders. Dr. King hoped that everyone, regardless of ethnicity or religion, would work together toward human rights for all. In Solano County, the Vallejo Chapter of The National Coalition of Negro Women holds an annual breakfast and a program. The Vallejo chapter was established over 65 years ago. This event usually occurs at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfield, CA. For a list of other holidays observed by Solano County, visit the Solano County website at solanocounty.com/cals/county_holidays.asp.
January 24 is National Compliment Day. Take the time out to see the good in others and tell them. You never know what an encouraging word can do for the soul. It can be as simple as telling someone “thank you” for a service or acknowledging their efforts. I recall my days as a classroom teacher. I considered my students my own, so my efforts were to protect them, as their parents entrusted their lives to me daily. Some of the best gifts I have ever received were the kind words parents and former students expressed to me. Even as a school site administrator, the outpouring of love and support was overwhelming. It meant a lot to me because some of our most challenging professions can feel thankless, and we don’t always see the outcome of our efforts.
January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This annual day of remembrance is so we do not forget that the Nazi Regime murdered over six million Jewish people under the leadership and order of Adolph Hitler and other collaborators through systematic planning and propaganda. This genocide was allowed to happen because instead of standing up for human rights, people followed orders without question, listened and believed false narratives, stood by without asking questions and went along with the flow of this horrific genocide instead of standing up against hate. For additional resources, visit the United States Holocaust Museum at ushmm.org/learn.