January is a hard month for me. (As it is for MOST of us, I imagine.)
The end of the year is full of so much joy. I look at the next year as a clean slate, waiting for me to put my mark on it. I wake up on New Year’s Day and let my optimism take over and hope for good things on the horizon.
But then the real January comes.
The optimism felt not even two weeks ago has faded. The cheer is gone. The problems of the world around me returns in full technicolor just as my immediate surroundings turn a dismal grey.
January is never the clean slate I’d imagined it would be.
It’s transitioning from vacation mode back into regular life.
It’s catching up on everything that had been put on hold.
It’s putting off those projects I’d wanted to work on because my brain is too tired.
It is so much more than all of that.
January is cold. It’s dark. The camaraderie of the previous month has faded. People are tired of “forced” socialization and they want to hibernate.
But hibernating when it’s cold and dark is not good for MY mental health. It’s even more important for me to see people and know that I’m not alone.
To be clear – I am not hitting nor even heading toward full depression. I am just exhausted and feeling somewhat melancholy.
On the plus side, recognizing what’s going on is the key to knowing how to fix it.
So I am here, not even two weeks into the month and needing a vacation. Thank god for a long weekend coming up and a job that understands the need for mental health days. I’m taking Friday off and taking these few days for myself to shake off what’s bothering me.
I’ll see friends. Make art. Wrap myself up in my warmest clothes and go outside to soak in the sun before the sky turns dark again. Do something to help someone else.
Self care. I recommend it to everyone, particularly during this time of year. Ask for help if you need it.
January exhaustion doesn’t have to win.