Okay, so January is without a doubt the most depressing month ever. You’ve just had a jam packed month of fun, indulgence, drinking, food, family, friends, traditions and all things festive and exciting. Then all of a sudden – nothing. The festivities come to an end and you head back to work and it seems like there is nothing good to look forward to in life ever. It’s cold and miserable, it takes pretty much the whole month to adjust to 9-5 work every day instead of lay ins and all day sofa film binges, and it’s basically just dull.
Now, I understand why people would choose this month of hell to detox and be healthy and abstain from alcohol, I do. The amount we consume over the holidays and in the lead up to Christmas is ridiculous and obviously our bodies need a break from all that. But the other part of me is saying, why oh why are we choosing to make January worse than it already is? It’s bad enough that we’re having withdrawal symptoms from the activities Christmas and New Year bring, without sucking the fun out of the rest of the month too. Are we trying to force ourselves into a huddle of hibernation and sadness and boredom?
I personally do need to give my body a bit of time out from all the funs simply because my pre-Christmas period was SO mental. I don’t think there was one day where I wasn’t drunk. I went on spontaneous work nights out that went on til dawn so stayed at my friends house and continued being ridiculous for the whole of the next day at work. I ate unhealthy amounts of cheese, drank unhealthy amounts of wine and even reverted to a student mindset leading to spoons pitchers and the roxy. I probably spent 57% of my time at work laughing at videos of singing and lightsabers or destinys child photoshops or cringe voice messages. All in all it was an absolutely fantastic and hilarious couple of weeks but my goodness did my body hate me for it.
By the time Christmas arrived I was ready to sleep for eternity but then came the festive period and all the indulgence that brings with it. And of course it was fabulous. You simply cannot beat good old family time and Harry Potter games and walks and dinner parties. I managed some relaxation in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but then came the craziness of fancy dress, old school drinking games and 7am beer pong. And with that, the hangover to beat all hangovers.
So I get it. My body is begging me for sleep and green tea and kale and exercise and all the rest of it. January is an obvious time to tell yourself that you will be healthy and exercise, because what else are New Years resolutions for? But I think we actually do ourselves more harm than good by aiming for a COMPLETE life change. I am never going to go to the gym more than once a week, and I am never going to stop wanting to eat cakes. That’s just life. I can’t expect January to be any different just because it comes after a month of saying “yolo it’s Christmas”.
I do want to exercise more than I was (I’m sure I can improve on nothing), eat some healthy foods, and have a little break from our old friend alcohol. But I’m not going to make any bold claims like I’m giving up drinking FOREVER or I’m only eating smoothies or I’m running to work every day. No, nada, not going to happen. And I have plans for January that involve going out. Yes, yes I do. That might not be fitting with the ethos of dry January but I CANNOT bear the idea of a month of nothingness. Leaving the world of cosy homely goodness and reentering the commuting working world is bad enough in the midst of winter, without the thought of being sensible all month. Not being sensible is OKAY as long as it’s not a constant wildness. It’s called finding the balance, and it’s called life. Go with it. Don’t be so hard on yourself.