A heartfelt Happy New Year to all my lovely Club Forty readers.
Whether you saw in the New Year amidst the sound of party poppers and ‘Auld Lang Syne’, or snuggled on the sofa with your nearest and dearest, or perhaps went to bed well before the stroke of midnight – I hope you had a good one.
Before I begin, a word of warning; this isn’t going to be a positive, New Year resolution filled, let’s-grab-2017-and-kick-some-ass-type post. So you might like to stop reading now.
Before I can embrace 2017 with any kind of aplomb, I need to shake off the dark cloud that seems to be following me right now. So I am selfishly going to write this post as a way to dissect and process the melancholic state I find myself in. I hope it may help those of you who are feeling as similarly low as we embark upon the New Year.
So the decs are packed away, the festive frivolities are firmly behind us and we are already at the second week of 2017. And yet I haven’t written a single resolution or goal, which is very unlike me as I am a big list writer and I usually love to look forward and make plans.
Plus I am exhausted. Proper tired and somewhat apathetic. My head feels like it’s in a quagmire and I cannot seem to focus on anything.
It could simply be the massive come-down after the whirlwind that was the festive season. Like most Mum’s, I hardly stopped; running from event to event; ticking off grocery and present lists on the way; hosting drinks, dinners and keeping everyone happy from extended family to kids bouncing off the walls with excitement and sugar highs.
But for me, it’s more than the usual January blues. The whole festive period is sandwiched on either side by sad anniversaries. The anniversary of my Mum’s death on 6 December and of my Dad’s death on 6 January. As most of you know, I recently lost them to horrific, debilitating diseases… they were both only in their 60s.
Whilst Christmas is a welcome distraction, I cannot deny the added effort it now takes me to get into the festive spirit. It is the time of year, aside from birthdays, when lost loved ones are most acutely remembered and missed, so I am sure many of you will relate to this. The second Christmas without my Mum (and Dad), was hard. Their absences fully hit home with a violent kick to my stomach and stab to my heart. I now realise that last year I was operating on auto-pilot.
My Mum and Dad loved any kind of occasion, but especially Christmas and New Year. They loved being with family and friends and fully revelled in the opportunity to eat, drink and be merry. I am determined to immerse myself in the merriment, to continue their traditions and create happy memories as they would have wanted… and I do, on the face of it, at least.
This is what causes the exhaustion. Putting on the brave face, the big smile… when really all I want to do it crawl into bed and shut everything and everyone out. It’s incredibly tiring. Mr Club Forty says I should just do that sometimes, leave the room and go hide under my duvet. But I can’t. I don’t want to give in to it. So I soldier on… just like my Mum did all the way through hers any my Dad’s illnesses.
We are lucky to have established a tradition where we go away with good friends for New Year. Being away from home, in great company certainly helps to sweep the sadness a bit further under the carpet. But it’s a short term fix. Now I’m back to reality and the harsh reminder that my parents are no longer around.
So now, here I am, at the start of 2017 feeling quite cheerless and generally… shit.
I am doing all the right things. I started back at yoga last week; went for a run at the weekend; I am cooking healthy dinners and embracing dry January. But my head is still in the doldrums and my heart is heavy. Perhaps I ought to book a holiday for January next year and jet off with my family somewhere hot? Would this help or would it just delay the blues?
Or do I simply need to connect to, and accept these sombre feelings and work through them? Open up, talk… and talk more. This may sound easy to do, but I am pretty rubbish at facing up to and dealing with my emotions. Sweeping stuff under the carpet is a legacy I have inherited from my parents.
If I set myself one goal for the New Year, it should be to be honest with myself and others about how I really feel.
Wow, so there you have it. I have at least concluded this post with my first resolution! Things are looking up. The next step should be to make some plans and set some goals. I just need to get my head straight and find some energy… Please send some my way!
If you relate to any of the content in this post, then I hope I have let you know that you are most certainly not alone. January blues, I am reliably informed, are quite normal and now a recognised health complaint. The degree in which they hit however, and the person’s ability to manage them, is the concern.
If you have any experience or advice to share, then I would love to hear from you.
Apologies for the dispirited tone of this post. I promise that the next one will be a lot lighter!
Lots of love X