We’re half way through January. Halleluyah.
Only . . . the second half to go.
Here, Lena Semaan grabs us by the depressed ears, and kicks the January Blues into the long grass.
“This is going to be my year. I can feel it. It’s definitely mine.”
There’s nothing quite like hearing this declaration of intended awesomeness at the start of a new year, to ruin it for the rest of us.
You start to worry. Should you have declared the same thing? It’s mid January and you’re still eating the last of the mince piece.
Is it already too late?
Meanwhile, most of your 1000 pretend Facebook friends have pronounced the same thing; this is going to be their year.
Not just that but 2017 will be the biggest year yet, where they will presumably achieve all those things they were cheated out of in 2016 (’15, ’14 etc.).
The Laws of Science being what they are, most are likely to be disappointed. There are only so many MY YEARS to go around each year. It’s not like fat where there is plenty for everyone. The unpalatable truth is that no matter how much talent or intention or hard work you contribute, luck and timing usually determine what happens.
Life is shit like that. And in January it can be doubly so. It can be a very tough month for a lot of people.
Some people call it the January blues. It can be mild, or horribly debilitating.
Often it’s just the frustrations of the so-called ‘holiday period’ oozing out. We’re all more irritable and restless. We feel displaced, and with good reason. For most of the year we have a routine, but in January our rhythms are recovering from the disruption of enforced holidays, rich food, gatherings with people we really don’t want to see, and we feel hemmed in, broke and tired.
What we don’t need are articles and posts exhorting us to turn our Old Self into a shiny New Self and turn our entire lives upside down.
Who the fuck has the energy to do anything at this time of year?
It’s easy to think that everyone else is getting it right while you’re not. You might even feel you don’t exist or you’ve been forgotten. The place to fix this is not social media but . . oh hello, there you are already, hoping for some sort of validation.
Are you kidding? It’s like a roll-call of brilliance.
Max has a new job and is feeling ‘blessed’. Esme and her husband are ‘grateful’ and boring Lisa, who hasn’t got laid in years, is ‘very much in love.’
Shit, people have got this 2017 thing off to a flying start.
You panic, “I’ve missed the fucking boat. It’s mid January and I’ve fucked it up.”
No, you haven’t. You just need to sort out the shit that matters from the bullshit. You have to look after you.
I know this because I have a lot of Januarys. The joys of being a genetic type depressive are that you can get randomly miserable, at any time. However the upside is that I have strategies for such things.
So here’s the drill for you Januworriers:
Social Media: Leave now. You don’t need to see what others are pretending to be doing (Remember 75% of the internet is all just made up stuff, except the porn.). Go all enigmatic and if you really have to explain yourself say you’re doing a social media detox challenge that’s sweeping LA and you’re surprised they haven’t heard of it as it’s the only thing to do.
Professional: January is not the time to look for a new job. The recruitment girls are still recovering from their hangovers so they’re lazier than usual. Anyway the best jobs don’t turn up until at least March when employers get their head together. The only stuff around now is the equivalent of dried up Christmas turkey. And avoid Linked In: You don’t want some evangelical self-titled Head of Funky Business Wizardry giving you a ten-point list for success in an article called something like Don’t do business. Be the business.
Diets, Detoxes, Exercise: If you’re feeling low then your adrenal glands are already under pressure. Seriously. This is not the time to do anything radical to your body and upset your balance even more. Eat properly, avoid sugar if you can (it can bring you down further) and take moderate exercise that makes you feel refreshed, not exhausted.
Relationships: Like gyms, online dating sites go hard on recruitment in January. Like gyms this is not the time to join. Most people looking online at this time will either be married and want a hook-up to forget that little fact or they’ll be leftovers from last year (and the year before that), maybe a few hookers looking for some easy money from desperados and the kind of guys who say they want ‘an exercise partner LOL LOL LOL’. If any of these appeal to you then you have already sunk too low and need help.
Speaking of which . . . how do you know if you’ve just got temporary blues, or something more? Here are some of the classic questions that sort the pale blue from the inky blue.
• Are you constantly weepy for no reason?
• Are you unable to concentrate even for short periods?
• Are you unable to sleep or sleeping more than usual?
• Do you feel slower than usual and find it hard to move?
• Do you feel hopeless and pessimistic about things?
• Are you finding it hard to enjoy things that normally give you pleasure?
• Are you feeling alone even among people you know?
If you answered yes to two or three of these you should go and see your doctor in the first instance. Do not pass go; do not listen to anyone who tells you, “You need to meet Eduardo, my yoga teacher.” And remember you’re in good company. Sure, most of us are miserable, lethargic, tired, fed up and unable to be cheered even by watching School of Rock. But you’re not alone.