The Google search term “seasonal depression” spikes like hell in January and stays pretty popular until March for the very obvious reason that we get blue as fuq once the holidays have ended and we’re back at work to endure what I consider the most challenging stretch of the year. This is not unusual given what the month represents: the very beginning of winter, a month-long rally with exactly one vacation (MLK day) to show for itself, and the funeral of, duh, the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s drab. It’s cold. You can’t wear satin shoes because it’s wintering.
I’ve been spending a shitload of time thinking about how to make this month feel awesome, like it’s June or something. (Just so you know, there are exactly zero vacation days to show for June and yet, we find ourselves all hopped up on happy drugs — again, for obvious reasons e.g. sun and caftans, but that’s not the point). Because a lot of what makes June great (not all, but a lot) can be attributed to state of mind. Think of it like a Friday vs. a Monday. On Mondays, we’re like fuuuuuuuck, but on Fridays, we’re like yeeeeeeaaaahhh. (As you can see, I have become significantly more articulate over the break.) Sure, Fridays signal the end of the week and Mondays do just the opposite, but by the rules of living in The Now, you’re probably doing the same shit on a Friday at work as you are on a Monday at work, no? And besides, there are plenty of things you can do to make Monday (now a metaphor for January) feel like Friday (June).
Not trying to ram ideas down your throat, but here’s a pass at my attempt at The Best January Ever.
1. Replace stressful cardio classes with yoga and reformer pilates — seriously, though. In 2017, I’m doing 100% less spinning and 80% more fitness that requires frequent deep breathing. (With that additional 20%, I will finish watching Season 3 of Black Mirror.)
1a. Take sooooo many deep breaths, even when I feel like I don’t need them.
1b. Stop trying to have a full day before the actual day starts. I’d rather slit my throat than attend a 7:15 a.m. dance class ever again.
1c. To that point, I’m going to use my lunch break to do something for myself, like attend the aforementioned yoga, for example.
1d. Or get a 20-minute back rub down the block.
2. Keep a chilled bottle of rosé in my fridge. When the radiator and humidifier are on in my apartment, there is no real difference between the two and natural summertime warmth.
2a. Be a delusional optimist (example: convince yourself there is no real difference between sunshine and a radiator).
3. Invest in a sun lamp. I’ve never used one, but I hear they work and I am dying to try one.
Maybe wait until I do this and report back before you take the fiscal plunge.
4. It’s the little things: leave a hairbrush and face cream at my desk and brush my hair/apply to my face at random midday. It’s a small luxury that seems very extravagant.
4a. Tell your co-workers to suck it.
4b. Make lots of jokes, it doesn’t matter how stupid/bad (see: 6a) they are.
5. Reach out to four people I really, really, really like and force myself to see them all through hell or high water (snow) over the course of the month. Doing this 1x a week will give me something to look forward to every week.
6. Manifest warm weather outfits, like this one:
…But not to buy, just to see! So that I can pretend I have somewhere to go, even though I don’t.
7. Start planning my next vacation now — TripAdvisor, ttysoon.
8. Go bowling (or do another activity — like rock climbing — that I don’t, or wouldn’t, usually do).
9 and 10. I will not, I repeat, will not resolve to stop eating or drinking any of my favorite foods or beverages, or doing any of my favorite recreational tasks this month. They might not be good for me, but I have nothing if not these vices to get me through January.
I think 2017 is the year of moderation.
Photo by Krista Anna Lewis.