It got to Wednesday last week and I was feeling a bit down. I couldn’t work out why at first, I told myself I shouldn’t be feeling the January blues: the weather isn’t cold; I’m not back at work; and nothing has changed since last year. The feeling persisted however, and then I realised I hadn’t left the house in nearly a week apart from to take my son to the hospital for his immunisations or go to the supermarket – not exactly thrilling outings! It’s not that I hadn’t done anything at all, I had a few people round one day and had been quite busy around the house. But what with feeling tired after getting back from Hong Kong and then my son feeling out of sorts after his jabs, I hadn’t made the effort to go anywhere. On Thursday I went out for the morning and felt so much better.
It made me think back to when we first moved to Brunei. Part of my husband’s contract when we moved abroad stipulated that he had to start work the day after we arrived. So following a seventeen hour flight, we arrived mid-afternoon at our temporary apartment and the next day he was picked up and taken to the office. I was hugely jet-lagged (there’s an eight hour time difference between the UK and Brunei and travelling East is always harder), alone in a strange flat and had no transport or any clue where I was or where I could go. There was a cafe across the road from the apartment block where I ate breakfast, but it was pretty much deserted every time I ate there. I spent most of the first day sleeping and reading a book, until my husband came home with a hire car and took me for dinner. Not so bad for one day, but this was pretty much the same pattern for the first couple of weeks, and by the end of it I was starting to feel a little crazy!
It was at this point that I decided enough was enough, and I forced myself to go out every day from that point onwards. I joined the gym, drove myself into the local town, went for a coffee…. anything to get myself out of the flat. And at first it was hard; I did most of those things by myself, and it was a little daunting in a strange country. But little by little things changed. I went to events, signed up for activities, and once I had made a few friends I found that I was introduced to more and more people.
Since then I have always kept myself busy and, although things changed a lot when I had a baby, if I made myself go out I would always feel better for it – whether it was to a baby group or for coffee (decaf now!) I don’t always feel like it after a bad night’s sleep, or when one, or both, of us is having a grouchy day. But no matter how hard it is, it’s always worth it for the feeling that I have done something with my day and, even if it’s just a wander around town, it usually cheers me up. Sometimes you have to throw yourself into life rather than just drift along, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing.
After a busy weekend I’m ready to resume all of my activities this week and maybe look around for something new – just the thought of a new challenge makes me eager to begin the week ahead. So hopefully the January blues have been banished for another year, or at least until I forget all of my resolutions.
I would love to hear your tips for getting over the January blues, feel free to share them in the comments section.
(Image from http://renaissancelifetherapies.com/)