Only after a conversation with a friend did I realise how little I’d been outside in January – and what it was doing to my mood.
Pretty much since the beginning of this year (or decade, if I’m being dramatic), I’ve been feeling very tired and low, as well as lacking in ideas and being slow to complete work. Mornings have been tough – with some days seeing me wake up in such a daze I barely know what day it is.
That all seemed to change when the sun came out this weekend. For the first time, I felt my spirits lift. Words flowed freely. I worked through my to do list and felt hopeful for brighter times ahead.
Cliché? Perhaps. But it’s true. Now, I have no idea whether I actually suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – in which January is apparently the peak month, being the darkest. I could just have ‘January blues’, or accept the fact I am just a more complicated plant – but I can’t even begin to explain the difference it made.
Up until 17th January, I found myself just drifting from place to place. I’m expected at work, of course. But even at home, I felt no desire to engage in anything I typically enjoy.
Winter is hard. We’re coming right off the back of the festive season, with twinkly lights, rosy cheeks and warmly spiced drinks. We socialise with loved ones. We look forward to a short break.
January is dark. There is little light to speak of. We enter hibernation mode and having to actually focus on maintaining good mental health. January feels like a rude awakening.
Plans for the coming year can feel overwhelming. There’s pressure to make positive changes – all at a time where you may have little in the way of motivation to actually do it. It’s a big contrast to December.
So right now, my focus is on taking each day as it comes. Slowly but surely the days are getting lighter, and with it, the darkness is beginning to melt away.