Here's the deal you guys. Despite all the 'brand newness' and celebration that comes with a new year, and despite the fact that it's my birthday month, and despite the residual bliss of having family here for the holidays and lots of fun vacations each December, I don't like January. January and February (but especially January) are always my least favorite months. And sometimes, to get through them without a series of minor breakdowns, I have to work to create my own positivity.
5 Ways to Melt the Winter Blues' post last year), but it's still a struggle. I feel very alive and motivated in the spring and summer months when the sun is shining and trees are green. In the winter, I feel tired and uninspired.
Second, January is the time when my husband hits the road for the band's very long winter tours. This is a great time of year for them to travel - people have cabin fever and love getting out to see live music. And I am very supportive of him for this reason. But no matter how much I prepare myself, it's still a huge adjustment. He is home much more than usual in November and December, and going from a period of feeling like we have a 'normal' life where we see each other everyday to not seeing each other for several weeks at a time during the first three months of each year is a major transition. I consider myself to be a very independent person, and I think it's important for partners to spend time apart. But there is something huge to be said for the comfort and stability that accompanies saying 'goodnight' and 'good morning' in person. Only getting to see the love of your life for a day or two every few weeks - nonstop for months - isn't easy.
Finally, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to feel especially motivated this time of year, and sometimes it just doesn't work. Taking time off to be unplugged and invest in real life relationships during the holidays can be incredibly inspiring. Or it can create challenges. Sometimes it's easy for me to jump right back into normal life after the holidays, because I feel well rested from a nice, comforting break. But this year, I am struggling with this. Although I got lots of time away from work, I don't feel like I had much time to relax. We left for Mexico for the festival Robbie works there mid-December, and came back a few days before Christmas to crazy rushing around to do holiday shopping and prepare to host family. Then I came down with the most horrendous case of the stomach flu I'd had in many years on Christmas day, which left me completely bed-ridden for several days. Toward the end of this illness I hopped a plane to Atlanta for four days for the band's New Year's run. We flew back to Chicago on my birthday, and then Robbie got very sick for several days. Between taking care of him, getting our holiday decor put away and house back to normal, and working double time to catch up with work from the last month and get 2012 tax stuff together (boooo), there hasn't been any down time. And as much fun as I had over the last month's go-go-go, I feel mentally drained. I bought a pretty new blog planner to try to inspire myself to come up with all sorts of awesome posts for this month, but there isn't much coming to me. I've sat down to try to (finally) finish the redesign on my clothing line's website, but I end up just staring at the screen. For the most part, I feel uninterested and just plain blah.
In reality, the best thing I could do for myself would be to take some time off, give my brain and body a rest, and try again. But this is life, and as we all know, we can't always just hit the pause button. After so much time away in December, I'm especially behind, and because there are real life things like bills that need to be paid, this isn't a time where I have the luxury of taking more time off. Conversely, I'm realistic about the fact that I can only force myself to trudge through the yuck for so long before I hit a serious wall. The truth is that I'm feeling a little negative right now you guys. We all go through it, and this time of year is usually the time it hits me the hardest.
In 2010, I lost my best friend/'brother'/ex long-time partner to suicide. It was the worst time in my entire life. I went to therapy to try to wade through all of the emotions, and my therapist suggested I start a positivity journal. Everyday before I went to bed, I wrote down one positive thing that happened that day. Sometimes it was something big, like an especially successful day for one of my businesses or a feature in a magazine or a new partnership or a vacation. Sometimes it was small, like nice weather that day or a yummy meal or a healing yoga session or even a full day without a crying spell. It forced me to look past the dark clouds that covered my days during that time, and when I read back through the entries every few weeks, it allowed me to remember how lucky I was to still have so many good things in my life. I started a new positivity journal last night.
Another idea is something I saw on my pal Kate's blog for a good things jar. You write down good things that happen on little pieces of paper, place them in a jar, and then sit down on New Year's eve and read through all of the wonderful things that happened to you that year. Although this is a more long-term project, it's still a really great way to pay closer attention to the positive things that happen in your life.
One final thing I'm going to do to is to make fun plans for the next few months and write them down. I tend to feel very stuck in January and February, and often just try to 'get through' this time with my eye on the prize (spring!). It's harder for me to visit Robbie on the road in the winter because they don't usually stay in a location for more than one night, so I rarely travel to see him this time of year. But we're going to sit down together in the next few days before he leaves and figure out how to create a quick trip or two for me to visit. I'm also going to plan some girls nights with my friends, and a weekend for my sister to come visit.
Oh - and as much as reality prevents me from taking a major break, I'm going to try not to put massive expectations on myself and give myself a little more time for me. For the first time in the twelve years since I became a business owner, I gave myself weekends off work in 2012. It was one of the smartest personal (and business!) decisions I ever made. This year, at least for now, I'm going to stop working earlier in the evenings too. And instead of trying to fill that 'free' time with projects around the house or errands, I'm going to try to be a little bit lazy and see what happens. I think that a huge part of being positive in life is focusing on simple pleasures, and as a 'Type A,' doing nothing is a challenge for me. But I'm going to make it happen.
If you made it this far, those were today's deep thoughts, my friends. Thanks for reading. And what about you? Do you feel blah this time of year too? What do you do to create your own positivity?
FILED UNDER: random thoughts/life