January is coming and with it a brand-new year. I always find the transition into the New Year to be an anxious and unsettling time – even though I know it’s just a day, like any other day. It feels like the year has been a mighty hike up a cliff, and to get to the next, you need to take a leap of faith and jump into the sea.
This doesn’t make much sense to me, but it’s the only way I can visualise it. Leaving the old behind, launching into something new. But then, of course, you have the highly marketed ‘January blues’ – no money, the pressure to ‘eat clean’ and ‘shed pounds’, all with cold weather and short days thrown in. In all honesty, it would be much easier if you just switched off all online media for the month – but when your job is in digital marketing, that’s pretty tough!
I don’t fully understand why I get so het up about the new year, but I am going to try and make the most of the new leaf. I’m under no impression that 2021 is going to be miraculously better than 2020 – in fact, I expect pretty much more of the same and will be pleasantly surprised for any kind of improvement. However, I understand I can try and make the most of my own situation. Here’s how I’ll be trying to beat the January blues:
This year we’ve seen so many examples of community spirit and I like to think I’ve done my small part in volunteering for Shout. Shout 85258 is a free, confidential, 24/7 text-messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Since qualifying in July, I have taken over 120 conversations and hope to take on many more in January and across the entirety of 2021.
Each year, I set myself a Goodreads Reading Challenge. This started when I got my Kindle as a Christmas present in 2017. In 2018 I managed 64 books, in 2019 66, and this year I’m just days away from hitting my goal of 68. Next year I’ll try and see if I can hit 70 – January can’t make me blue if my head is constantly in a book!
Ironically, during the first lockdown, I homed in on my love for birdwatching. Springwatch helped me to reignite my love for birdwatching, even when I was shielding indoors, and throughout the year I managed to improve my skills. I was really lucky to receive a pair of bloody fantastic binoculars for Christmas, so I’m going to use January as a time to wrap up, get outdoors, and spot some winter birds.
I’m always really hesitant to set New Year’s Resolutions as I think forced self-improvement, like forced-fun, is a recipe for disaster. Do they ever actually work?
However, I will be using my down moments to improve on the things I already like doing. So it’s not a gruelling ‘I must lose two stone by the 31st!’ and more ‘hey, it would be cool if I could do this particular crochet stitch.’
I’ve got a deadline for my MA Creative Writing at the end of the month, so my prose project and reflexive essay will be a good opportunity for me to exercise my writing muscles. I’ll also be carrying on my crochet whale shark project (which is currently an unravelled mess on the floor!) which is the hardest crochet project I’ve undertaken so far.
Both projects are challenging, but I love to crochet and I love my MA, so it’s self-improvement without the self-flagellation.
How do you think you’ll try to beat the January blues? I’m always open for new suggestions and love to hear what you’ve got to say! In the meantime, take a lot at my last blog, We Can Save Lives By Discussing Men’s Mental Health.