Friday, 6 January 2017

Getting back to me...

The Christmas and New Year period is always one we look forward to. The countdown to Christmas. The countdown to a little break from work. And it's a truly happy time spent with your loved ones, all with the added excuse to consume a lot of calories in both food and alcohol. 

However, once this is all over, it's common to feel a bit down in the dumps and struggle to get back into your routine of getting up early, working, eating healthily and exercising (ugh). It's also known as.... the January Blues.  

I hate the January blues with a great passion. Every year without fail I get the blues. I experience a few weeks (sometimes longer) of just pure crappy feelings. My anxiety increases and I begin to feel a big black cloud creep in. I don't want to do anything but sit in my PJs, watching movies and eat. I struggle to get up for work (or school). And I really struggle to get back into a healthy eating/exercise routine. 

Now, there is some great advice out there for battling this: 

Instead of completely throwing your routine in the fire for that week or so you are off over Christmas, don't. Have a few days where you have a lay in and skip the exercise and eat what you like (i.e. Christmas Day!) But on other days, get up at a reasonable time, get your workout clothes on and head outside or to the gym. Eat some healthy meals in between the naughty ones. And that way, when the New Year hits, it won't seem so scary or dull.

Or, you can do what my dad does and go on holiday in January. (Probably not the best advice, as you'd come back to holiday and January blues.....)

But, I was tired. I wanted a rest. I wanted to make the most of these lay ins, as I probably won't see 10 am in bed for much longer (having a baby on the way and all). So, I decided to just enjoy my 11 days off, eat what I wanted, exercise little and really just enjoy time with my family, whether that be snuggled up in bed with Chris or out hitting the shops. 

Then New Year's day hit and the blues hit me out of no where - just like that. So, I got myself up and I took myself out of that frame of mind (obviously after a day of crying and staring at a white wall). I got back into my blogging (I've been absent for most of December as part of my little break), I put my trainers on and went for a walk, me and Chris cooked a lovely meal together, I got a few early nights and already I was starting to feel better. 

The next hurdle was: going back to work. 

I was so anxious and down the evening before work because I think it's just part of those "blues". I always remember getting the same feeling going back to school. But my god, was I so thankful to go back. I loved that my mind was busy for 9 hours, there were different people to talk to, things to catch up on and overall, it made me feel so much better to get back into my normal routine.  Instead of drastically cutting out all the chocolate I'd been consuming over Christmas, I took a few celebrations (which were left over at home) and the odd shortbread biscuit or mince pie to work with me, to slow myself into "healthy eating" again. And I was already feeling so much better for it. 

Another part of my "making my January happier" was about making changes. First and foremost, it was about making changes in my relationships - namely with Chris and my mental health. 

I'd got into a bit of a rut over the past few months of when feeling down, instead of communicating how I'm feeling, I'd just keep it bottled up. Eventually, this would usually come out in an mental explosion (usually directed at Chris, which really wasn't fair at all). So I decided to be more open and communicate (this is something I will talk about in more detail soon) everything with him. Instead of being scared of what he'd think or say or that he'd be sad that I'm feeling down, I decided to just communicate it all with him. "Chris, I feel like shit today and I don't know why" or "Chris, I'm feeling a bit left that out that you're spending so much time with your friends and not me". I don't hide my feelings being scared of creating an argument - which usually would erupt in an even bigger argument down the line anyway - and usually I'm just being silly and he simply reassures me. And let me tell you, it's amazing. Our relationship already feels stronger than ever. We're communicating more. We understand each other's feelings more. We love more. It's honestly the best thing we done. 

Another change I made may seem like such a tiny change and not at all a big deal, but for me it was. 

Everywhere I go often, I have a parking space (or little area) where I feel comfortable to park my car and park every time. Usually it's near an exit or at the end of a line (I'm not sure why). Whether it be at my local shopping centre, supermarket, my road or at work, I have my "area" or "space". So when I got to work on Tuesday morning (my first day back), I decided I'd park somewhere different. It was still at the end of a little section and it was still on the same "line" as my usual space, but it was further from the exit. I felt a little on edge as I turned off my engine and got out the car, but I just put it to the back of my mind and threw myself into my work.  

As I was walking out of work I remembered that I'd changed my parking space and instantly felt a wave of anxiety rush through me. As I started walking the different pathway to my car (which was an actual path instead of the usual trampling over the grass and dodging tree branches), I felt revitalised. That may sound like an odd word to use here, but I did. I felt awesome. A huge smile filled my face and I felt so ready for the rest of January. 

My January blues fix is all about getting back to me. 

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