The mid-January droop…

Sad blue emojiI saw a post on Facebook over the weekend claiming that this week in mid-January is the worst week for depression out of the year – specifically, the third Monday of the month.

I don’t know how true this is – Wikipedia calls it “pseudoscience,” and it probably is.

But I understand why it might be true.

The holidays are over. New Year’s celebrations are behind us, and many who make resolutions have probably also slipped at least once or twice. Work has gotten serious again, with annual plans made and projects ramping up. There are no more celebratory holidays to look forward to in the U.S. until Memorial Day (not everyone has President’s Day off, and who actually “celebrates” it anyway?), and the end of May is a long, long way off. And for those of us in the northern hemisphere, it’s DARK and COLD.

Oy. I’m depressing myself just writing about it!

(Note: None of what I write here is intended to address true depression. Please get help (if you haven’t already) if that describes you!)

So what can you do?

Decide what you want

At this time of year especially, it’s easy to get sucked into the work vortex. New plans have been made, strategies set, tactics laid out, projects defined. And you probably only had minimal, if any, input into all that. Yikes.

What’s important to you?

What fits with your career goals – and your personal goals?

I’m not suggesting that you need a five-year plan; I’m not a fan of five-year plans. But having some sense of what your next step is, professionally and personally, helps keep you focused and helps you choose between options with a sense of actual direction instead of a coin-flip.

Schedule FUN

My coach is a vehement advocate of what she calls “hooky days” – days off Just Because.

Theoretically, at least, this is easier for those of us who are self-employed versus those who have to report to work every day. (Theory is a wonderful thing that doesn’t always play out in practice… someone remind me to take a day off, please?)

But even if you don’t have the flexibility to take random days off from work, you DO have weekends.

Schedule fun time. Whether it’s a movie outing, a museum trip, or a local Escape Room adventure, put it on the calendar. While spontaneous fun is great, having specific plans gives you something to look forward to, which makes any day a little brighter.

Track the sun!

Speaking of brighter days, and again here in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting longer. And there are some fun apps you can get on your phone that tell you all about it: when sunrise / sunset is, how long the day is, when the moonrise is and what phase it’s in, and so on, all based on your GPS location. According to Sundial, my current favorite, daylight today is 10 hours 5 minutes long … and tomorrow will be one minute longer. How can that fail to cheer anyone up?!

The point is …

Whatever you choose to do, the point is to create a sense of purpose and control in order to overcome the gloomies. Because work – and life – should, as I keep saying, be more fun!

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