This is a tricky time of year. After the chaotic, pell-mell rush that leads up to and culminates in Christmas, January always attempts to lull me into lethargy from which, if I’m not careful, I can easily slip into apathy and despair. I feel the simultaneous need to recharge my batteries and not to lose positive momentum. It’s a double-edged sword.
The biggest problem with this tendency toward a downward spiral is that it creates a momentum of its own. I’ve learned that it takes a disproportionate amount of energy to haul oneself back into the land of the living after wallowing. Best never to go down that slope at all, if possible. If you start to slip, though, it’s really important to reverse the trend before you start to pick up speed.
I’ve found that the only cure for January is an opposite. In an ideal world, that would mean someplace warm, with lots of sunshine and no polar fleece. In Newfoundland, it simply means that I counter the impulse toward lethargy with action.
Not in the mood to go out in the cold, dark winter? Head to the gym, pool, or go out for a run, walk, ski or snowshoe. Don’t think about it. Just go.
Feeling like eating a tub of ice cream or a whole plate of hot wings? Get a bit of extra sleep and eat sensibly for an entire week before indulging.
Finding yourself sucked into the computer? Turn it off. Talk to real people. Do some work. Set a timer up so that you allow yourself “internet breaks” and then step away.
Tired of the work you were doing before Christmas? Plan and start a new project. Can’t get the creative juices flowing? Do some busy work. It’s amazing, but creative energy, the antidote to lethargy, can sometimes come, not just from starting something new and exciting, but from starting something period.
January and February are tough months, but they’re tougher if you give in to them.