The New Year Blues

I may have had a fantastic year last year, but the start of this year has been a bad one for a multitude of reasons. There’s something about January that stresses me out every single year and in all honesty, I am always glad to see the back of it. I call it The New Year Blues; a period of about six weeks or so at the start of the year when everything is a big grey blur, and they were certainly at play this year.

It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly dragged me down these past six weeks. I think a big contributor is still feeling like I need a rest following Christmas. When you have time off around Christmas, you feel like you have the week of stress leading up to Christmas making sure you get all of the last minute bits, then you have Christmas itself where you do nothing which rolls straight into New Year and then suddenly, you’re thrown back into work / school all over again. Christmas is the most exhausting “break” of the year in my eyes and being thrown back into doing stuff so soon in January left me feeling sluggish and lazy.

As well as feeling sluggish and lazy, the only creative project I had to work on through January was Nolan Letter. I’m not trying to undermine how much work Nolan Letter is in the slightest because it is a lot of effort and thought, but I’d done a heck of a lot of it by the time I launched the project on January 1st so for most of January, I wasn’t doing much for it, especially considering it’s built with contributions from other people. After having a very successful year full of hard work and amazing projects and then celebrating that, it was a shock to suddenly have nothing new to work with. Funnily enough, as I write this, I am working on four creative ventures to embark on in 2017 that I will be sharing more about soon (first one in March) so I guess it all just comes along at once.

The lack of motivation and drive through The New Year Blues also stems from other people feeling the same kind of demotivation. Socially, January was almost entirely empty and nothing really happened whatsoever, as well as several personal things that went completely awry and weren’t the happiest of situations. I try hard to split my life into social, school and stuff (stuff being everything I do that you guys see me do), but it’s very easy for there to be crossover in that sometimes and other things have to suffer as a result. I read Shonda Rhimes’s book Year Of Yes at the start of the year (I love her and the book is one of the best books I have ever read) and in the book, she talks about her work ethic. She explains in the book that she can’t do everything to her best standard at the exact same time because it’s just physically impossible and I think that advice has come to play here; it’s stuck with me constantly ever since I first read it.

After my fantastic year last year, I think I was very much ready to get into the swing of 2017 in the same way and battle the upcoming life problems I was having face on, while also feeling creatively and artistically satisfied: it didn’t work, and what the book has taught me is that that isn’t my fault, but it’s just the way it has to be. There is no way you can give your all to everything at once and sometimes, you just have to give time to the shit to make it good again and after spending six weeks doing that, it’s worked. Because I dedicated time to riding through The New Year Blues, I feel like I’ve come out the other side and am having my positive New Year start now instead of on January 1st. We definitely put far too much pressure on ourselves to make January 1st the day of change but in reality, there is no difference between December 31st and January 1st; time is linear and at the end of the day, change is a constant and on-going process, so why force ourselves to start anew when there’s no real need to.

I’ve come to learn recently about the importance of self care and mental care. I’ve always been very much in touch with myself as a person and have had a solid understanding of who I am and exactly how I work, but with a lot of reading and thought recently, I have really come to appreciate the art of mindfulness and self-respect. I have learned how to understand myself and appreciate myself better as a person instead of just pushing and pushing until I burn out and crash at the end. There’s something so rewarding about coming to understand that in recent months that has not only helped me to see the end of The New Year Blues, but perhaps the end of some blues that I didn’t even realise I was in.

January always seems to stress me out in one way or another and this year, it was because I put so much pressure on myself to try and do so much, I burnt out before I even began; I was like a car that stalled at traffic lights. What I’ve learned is that dedicating time to your own self and knowing your limits as a person is the most important thing to do and that sometimes, you just have to ride with the shit for a while. It’s annoying and demotivating for sure, but it’s only ever temporary.

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