Not sure about the science of that, but what many of us know is this: January can get you down.
I saw a cartoon about December: There was a jolly snow man, beautiful snowfall, and twinkling Christmas lights.
Then there was one about January: The snow man was half-melted and terrifying; the beautiful snowfall had turned to chills that suggested its-so-cold-my-head-might-crack-in-two; and the twinkling Christmas lights had been replaced by a mailbox full of credit card bills.
I’ll be honest. I’m not huge into January. Here are a few reasons:
- It’s freezing
- The days are still short. It’s just depressing when the sun is gone before the dinner dishes are cleared. I think I read somewhere that a lack of sunlight weighs on your brain.
- Credit card bills from Christmas come in (Not that any of us overspent though, right?)
- There isn’t a day-off celebration to look forward to (Valentine’s Day isn’t close enough nor is it a family-wide show stopper).
- You’re just coming down from the high of Christmas (Not everyone loves Christmas, but a lot of us do).
- You’re cruising Facebook and everyone just puts their best foot forward making you feel even more alone with your feelings.
- Healthy food costs more at the grocery store.
- If you have little kids it takes a boat load of energy to get them all bundled up for outside for only a few moments of fresh air.
It’s no wonder that people struggle with feeling blue. So if this is you, you’re not alone.
So what do you do about it?
- First, remember that this too shall pass. The days are getting longer!
- Make special plans—why not get together with some friends. Misery loves company. And that company can cheer you.
- Re-kick start your prayer life (blog forthcoming).
- Call in some favours. Have people offered to do something nice for you? Cash in those chips.
- Get your mind off your own woes: Ask yourself, How can I help one of my neighbours? And just do it.
- Get outside (maybe even for a run or brisk walk). Yes, it’s cold, but it wakes you up and is good for you.
- Worship. Praise lifts. And there’s something about focusing on his will more than just your whims that has a stabilizing effect.
- Get into that good book that you’ve been putting off reading.
- If you’re married, go on a date with your spouse.
- Remember, you’re Canadian: Suck it up. (To my non-Canadian readers, I woke up today and it was -30 degrees Celsius (but all of us have grandparents who apparently remember it being twice that cold).
Not every time of the year can be great. And I appreciate that actual depression is a real and difficult and complex thing. But if you’re just feeling a bit down, being intentional about a few things sure can help.
Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck wrote: “We need variety to be whole.” He was talking about something else when he said it but I think it applies to January too.
Variety. And remember, the days are getting longer.