The January Blahs

After the flurry of the holidays, which I always visualize as a great cloud of glitter and torn wrapping paper and blinking lights and that I ate too much feeling, I almost always hit a wall, an emotional slump that can linger for weeks.  This little slump seems to happen to a lot of us – the January Blahs, as it were. Mine came a little early this year, striking between Christmas and New Year’s, no doubt partially influenced by my kids going back to their dad on Christmas Day at 1 pm, and me being left to my own lonely devices.

As I sit in my office with a pile of things I should be doing behind me (the IKEA boxes filled with my new office furniture), I find myself wondering how many plans, resolutions and goals fall off in January just because January is what it is – a month that falls after we’ve been riding a sometimes emotional rollercoaster, surrounded by friends and family, shiny new things, and all the cookies you can eat, drama good and bad and less sleep than usual. It’s so easy to find yourself fighting the blahs, especially if you live in an area like I do, where the days are brief, and it’s dark by five pm.

Every year, this emotional nose dive hits and every year, it surprises me.  In the same way that the end of the year creeps up and suddenly it’s December 23rd, January strikes and takes hold of me. I have a trick for fighting it, though. This is the fourth year in a row that I have travel plans for January. Last year saw me in California (planned) and Georgia (spontaneously at Christine’s urging), and it made all the difference in feeling like the year would be a good one (and it was! Another amazing year of change and progress). This year, I’ll be enjoying a reprieve from Canadian winter in Texas – and enjoying some more bestie time with Christine!

This struggle with January is all that remains of the severe depression that kept me under its power for nearly 15 years of my life. And so with it, it also brings a certain amount of fear that I’m headed back down that slippery slope. Every day that I’d rather take a nap than go to coffee with friends, or start to consider the merits of eating everything in the fridge, I wonder if today is the day that depression comes back to live in my house.  Which  means I’m all the more determined to kick it out.

As the month goes on, if you find yourself getting tugged down, throw open the curtains. Go for a walk. Go out with a friend. Remember that those times when we most want to hide away and hole up are the times we need people around us the most. You can even fire me a message, and we can talk about silly irreverent things, like my favourite funny cat videos, or serious things. I’m pretty good at both. Just don’t let it take over, k? We can be in this together!

What are your tricks for fighting the January Blahs?

Stephanie Ostermann

I’m the sort of girl who you meet for coffee and end up pouring your entire heart out to. The friend you come to when you need someone to call it straight. No bullshit. No extras. Just truth.

I’m a communicator. That’s a PC way of saying I like to talk, but I also spend a lot of my time listening, and over the years, I’ve developed a sense for subtext – how one or two words can change your entire message, what people are really trying to say and how to weave the varied layers of your story into one cohesive brand message that your clients fall in love with.

When I'm not acting as editor in chief for Vivid & Brave, you can find me geeking out over words here.

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