It is January. For the past month, many of us have been dealing with a blur of holiday events and occasions. Now that the New Year has begun, many of us are able to slow down finally. But with the slowing of religious, family, and friend occasions, there is a certain emptiness. I know for me; this time is when I realize that I did not actually get much of a ‘break’ during my break. And still I feel like I accomplished nothing because I wasn’t working during this period. I also find myself with a tighter budget following holiday spending, and the lack of something concrete to look forward to in the bleak grayness of January. Plus, the daunting questions of what I accomplished during the previous year and what will I accomplish in the New Year?
All these issues tend to swirl around and create a rather ‘blah’ feeling during the beginning of the New Year. This has particularly been the case for me going into 2023, as I am still in graduate school. I am in year six of my PhD. Six years ago,when I started this project, I had no idea that I would still be in school now. This adds to the ‘blah’ feeling.
So, as I write this, I am trying to reframe my thinking. Reminding myself of how I would talk to a friend with similar negative thoughts about myself:1. Everyone is on their own journey. Sometimes your path is a longer one, but that doesn’t mean you are unworthy.
This is something I have been working on accepting. Some days are easier than others. It can be hard not to compare myself to others. But other peoples’ successes are not my own failures. And at the end of the year, we tend to see a happy highlight reel of others’ best moments, rather than the struggles they face along the way. I can’t let these celebrations bring me down! 2. If you feel like you have nothing to look forward to – make your own fun!
Not having something special to anticipate, such as the winter break, can be a real bummer. But you can take control of your own special occasions. Plan a spontaneous dinner party with friends. Catch up with someone you have not seen in forever over drinks. Devote an afternoon to reading for fun or self-pampering with a mud mask and a bubble bath. Check out the local event listings on Facebook and see what catches your eye. It can be intimidating to join events when you do not know anyone there, and sometimes it doesn’t work out, but other times it can be very fun, and you meet some great people! I joined a book club not knowing anyone, and now I have a monthly meeting that I look forward to and I have gotten back into reading for pleasure rather than research. Often people are too shy to initiate events, but they really want to do something, so taking the initiative can really boost your social calendar and make your friends feel wanted.
You can celebrate a Tuesday evening, a cat’s birthday, or getting through the latest season of ‘the Circle’. You do not have to earn your fun or wait until reading week for your next break!
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