By the title of this article, you are probably interested in what is actually going on in my head. You might say “Julie, do you know how many days are in the month of January?” My answer would be “why yes, there’s 70 days obviously.”
Don’t worry, I’m not crazy, I know there are really 31 days in January (at least I hope so.) I’m here to tell you that January is literally the longest month of the year. I know that I must not be the only one who feels like this and feels this odd sense of emptiness during this month.
It took me a long time to come to this conclusion. I heard this term recently at the start of the year from my sister-in-law. It took me personally awhile to process this crazy concept! After reading this you might need to take a few minutes to see if you feel the same, and I wouldn’t blame you for this. It was about a week of sleepless nights and staying awake in bed conjuring up this crazy thought and applying it to my own life.
So now that you know the details of what led me to agree to this crazy notion, let’s actually talk about what it means. January is a time for New Year’s resolutions, and our reflections from the previous year. For me personally, it consisted of a whole lot of nothing else. To me it was waiting around until classes were in session again and staying up way too late binge-watching Netflix. It seemed like each day was the equivalent of 5 days, at one point I swear I saw the clock stand still. I would think personally that I did something last week, when in reality it was less than 24 hours ago. I kept thinking to myself “when will this slow month be over?!” A wave of frustration comes over me at times. When will the next adventure start, and when will I look forward to something?
Digesting this further, I want to know why January always seems to feel this way. My thinking is that it is the holidays to blame. Now, I am a girl who loves the holidays, don’t get me wrong. I would wear a holiday sweater every day of the year if I could. I think my love for the holidays is why I have such a hard time snapping back into reality when it’s finally all over. The holidays really start around October. You always have something planned and look forward to the endless days of fun. From frolicking in corn mazes, to Halloween parties, to waiting for the first cold evening. Everything evolves and changes around this time of year. I always have an event planned every single weekend from Halloween until New Year’s Eve. This time of year always goes way too fast. There is never a moment to stop and smell the roses, or in this case the smell of freshly baked gingerbread cookies. I personally have so much joy when I am kept busy and love seeing my family and friends. This is the time of year I live for.
Maybe it’s the hype and excitement I feel waiting for the holidays that cause such a big crash once they have come and passed. I’m not sure if anyone else feels the overwhelming sense of sadness once the decorations must be put away. I have nothing else to decorate, nothing else to bake, nothing else to prepare. The bottom line is that I feel as though I have nothing left that needs to be done.
Relaxation is nice for a few days, but then I notice a stir craziness slowly creep up on me. I start rearranging the furniture and vigorously cleaning the house to fill my time. This can only keep me occupied for a short period of time. It’s almost like feeling a loss, when something leaves your life, even though the holidays are less than a year away once more. It really feels like a thrashing to my life just happened. Things start to drag on, and normalcy to our daily routines returns.
With this feeling I had to stop and ask myself, “how can I get out of this ongoing rut?” Well you can prepare yourself for part 2 of this blog. This is going to be the part as to how we fix or mend ourselves. How we can prepare to take over February and conquer our own thoughts.
There is a lot of psychology behind the way that we feel. The real kicker is trying to figure out just why we are feeling a particular way. This brings me back to the example of myself. I have an emptiness due to the lack of holidays and as the consequence it starts slowing down my lifestyle. This is why I feel that January is so slow. Now that I have taken a moment to think about and understand my bareness, I can work on moving past this dry and barren period to work towards creating an exciting and fulfilling month for myself.
I have to allow myself to have small “wins.” This may seem so juvenile or such a simple concept. You can trust me when I say it actually works. I have found that I keep mental lists and notes about upcoming events. I turned this into real life usable material, and by this, I mean getting out that outdated non-electronic agenda and putting pen to paper. So, let me tell you just exactly what we are doing by writing this for ourselves. We are really tricking our brains. We are using psychology in our favor. I am rewiring my brain to get excited about small everyday tasks to keep me going. So far using this method has made my week just fly by.
You can start out small, or even just jump right into the lists and make an entire week or month. When I started, right before bed I would put my to-do list for the next day together. I would write down even the smallest chore such as making my bed, going to the gym, eating breakfast, ect. When I would wake up I would have a full day worth of activities to do, and it was already planned. It can seem silly to write down tasks that we do every day such as doing a load of laundry or making the bed, but it works! I can’t be the only one who thinks taking a sharpie and crossing off an item on a list that completed as something that is extremely satisfying. This is me letting myself have a “win.” This also made my day go by so quickly that I almost complained of not having any downtime. That seems like an odd turn of events, now doesn’t it?
So, let’s keep going and looking at the bigger picture. Once you have started doing this for a few days, keep it going. In just 21 short days you will have formed a habit. You can then plan out your whole week, which then leads into planning out your month. This is how you create something to look forward to when there are not little activities to look forward to. We have to make ourselves look forward to our own creations of joy. Even if it’s finally getting the carpet cleaner out and cleaning all the carpets in the house, it’s something that is now planned on our schedule. This again will rewire your brain into thinking that the month will be busy.
Before you keep going and thinking maybe this is so minute or that you should not have small wins, I am here to tell you that yes you can! We all deserve to feel good, no matter what the task at hand is. It’s also important to remember to reward yourself. If you completed the list that day, or maybe got everything accomplished you wanted done, reward yourself! Maybe the reward is sitting down to watch your favorite new TV show or buying that cute new pair of earrings at the boutique you have been eyeing all month, it could even be having that delicious last scoop of ice cream. Just do it! Reward yourself, keep going, and turn this into a habit.
I want to challenge you to start doing this today! Right after you’re done reading this. Start your list, check off that you have read this blog, and start living your day with more fulfillment. I challenge you to start your February at a running pace towards your goals, make your own excitement. My plan is to make February the shortest month of the year (even though it already is.) I am going to choose to make it go by fast. Let us finally say WE ARE DONE WITH JANUARY! So, who’s with me??