January blues, stress, depression? All of the above? 

What if the New Year, New You posts are freaking you out? My social media feeds are full of inspirational quotes to be healthier, happier, skinner, richer, to live a calmer, less stressful life. Laugh more, love more, just be more….

Well, what if you just find it all a bit difficult as it is, and the thought of trying to fit more in and be more at the start of each year is so daunting you’d rather curl up into a ball and hide?

I started my January blues in December this year so I’m in full swing already. The worst thing is I have no reason to have the blues. I have a lovely family, brilliant friends, a job that I love, a roof over my head, I’m not well off by any stretch but I’m not destitute either, so why do I feel so down?

Work? Could be. I was lucky enough to quit my job and turn my hobby into a business. Running two businesses from home is a dream for some and I do genuinely love my job, but it is in equal measure really, really stressful. No steady household income, having to be a business partner, account handler, networker, accountant, cleaner, receptionist and everything else aswell as doing the job that I’m actually good at and enjoy. I never switch off and relax. 

Family? I love my little family but it’s not always easy, never believe all the posts on Facebook of the perfect life, the most wonderful families… no ones life is perfect, it’s not healthy. So for all the things I love about my family, we argue, we disagree, but we are always there and we have each other. I’d always wanted a bigger family but as it’s turned out there’s just the 3 of us and as perfect as that is for us, I can’t help the envy those with more. The grass is always greener. 

I don’t spend enough time with my parents and sister either, everyone seems to be so busy that we can’t seem to fit in time for each other and that freaks me out. Time isn’t slowing down and I worry that one day we’ll regret it, but how do I change that? 

Friends? I have different pockets of friends for different things in life. I have old friends, old work friends, new work friends and friends who I met through my son. They all seem to be holding it together so well, how do they have a clean house as well as work and social life, how do they fit it all in? All help me out, all make me laugh, but I don’t really know how to share my feelings, I do like to bottle things up, and let my problems fester, that’s ok right? I’m pretty sure it’s not right but not sure how I change that either. 

Health? I’m in my forties and I know I need to be healthier and fitter and look after myself more. I currently have a bad back and thought it was just my body starting to fail me, I thought aches and pains were part of getting older. Thankfully a physio told me I have a problem in my back and it can be fixed. If only I could get round to doing to the exercises…

I’ve heard myself telling others they need to make time to exercise, make time for themselves, make time for others… but seriously, how do you do that?? Running two businesses, running a family, running a house, looking after me, maintaining friendships. All need working at and  I’ve no idea how to make them all work at the same time. 

Everything about my life needs decluttering, I know what I need to do, I need to exercise, get some fresh air, go for more walks, read a book, laugh with friends, go to the beach, but what if I find it hard to find time for any of those things? It’s a vicious circle that I’m stuck in. 

December should have been brilliant, the excitement of Christmas through my son’s eyes, the lovely festive events my friends organised, spending time with family, but honestly I just found it all really hard. The pressure of spending money, having fun and keeping smiling was for me just really difficult. I didn’t feel up to socialising, smiling or celebrating, so instead of sharing my worries, I probably came across as just plain miserable. 

Is it stress? Probably. Is it depression? I’ve never suffered but maybe this is what it feels like. 

Do I just need to man up and sort myself out? More than likely. 

This isn’t a cry for help, I never ask for help. It’s my kryptonite. Asking for help is admitting defeat and no matter what anyone tells me I’ll never ask for help. Yes I know this is wrong but I doubt it will ever change. 

There’s nothing worse for me than getting advice from those who seem to have all the things I don’t. When I was on maternity leave I found comfort in others going through the same thing at the same time. That helped. Maybe everyone else is going through the same now but maybe we’re all the same and bottle it all up, believing everyone else has the perfect life, the perfect family, the perfect job…

So I have a choice, I can pull myself together and sort myself out in a truly British fashion, or I can curl up and hide. Writing this has felt like therapy, so I think I know how it’s going to go, but first I’m going to have a cuppa and hide on the sofa for a little while.  

A big virtual hug for everyone else struggling with their perfectly normal life right now. 

22 thoughts on “January blues, stress, depression? All of the above? 

  1. I really enjoy these honest posts. I feel social media only shows a glimpse of people’s rather than realising people have problems or turmoil. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Hi Cheryl
    I’m pragmatic in the face of my winter lows and fight it with science -SAD light and vitamin D but also a little bit of hybernation. My nearest and dearest have come to expect it. It’s winter and we’re in the northern hemisphere. It’s ancestral. Also, we’re of that age where the menopause is on the horizon. I think back to my teenage years and shudder at my emotional struggles with oestrogen and progesterone levels. I’m about to go through that in reverse. The end point I’m hoping will be balanced bliss but my luck dictates the journey will be hellish.
    I know there is nothing I can do but please know that you are not alone in your lows.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I’m dreading the hormone reversal that’s in my not too distant future. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone though. Thanks again for reading. X

  3. Northerner! Just out of the bed, wrecked! I shall breakfast & give you a buzz whilst I’m walking the dog. Actually, I don’t walk the dog, I take her off the lead & let her run. I lead her directions!!!!

    1. Thanks Lynn. It really doesn’t feel brave. It felt like the easier option to write it down rather than talk to people in real life. On reflection though I hope it helps others to know they’re not alone either. Wishing you a good 2018 too. Xx

  4. I can totally relate to this Cheryl and I think it is so important to share these feelings. Life does seem to become totally overwhelming at times. And we all have different ways of coping. Whether it be meditation, creating a routine that you can stick to that includes time off, or making sure that you meet up with people who are good at helping you switch off. I am learning too and this year is all about having a better balance in my life and that if I am doing my best then that is good enough. And that being good enough is really ok. I think we are all so result driven when we are self employed but it is really counter productive to work until you are burnt out, so it makes great business sense to give ourselves a break in more ways than one. I wish you all the very best in 2018 and if you ever want to moan about being successful I am happy to listen and contribute. We all aim for success but many of us aren’t prepared for how tough it can be, would you agree?? Corinne x

    1. Thanks Corinne, I may well take you up on the offer for a good moan. I’m definitely going to have to give myself a break this year and learn good ways to deal with it all. I’m overwhelmed with all the words of support about this post. It really has struck a X chord with so many people. X

  5. Thank God I’m not alone! I really struggle with Christmas it’s just so forced upon me & so hard but as always I’ve hidden behind my fake smile & celebratory cheers of a Happy New Year too afraid of telling anybody that I’d much rather have taken the two weeks holiday in a quiet cottage far away from all the tinsel, with not a roll of wrapping paper to be seen & as for Christmas dinner & all the trimmings I’d happily of settled for a jacket spud. Thank you so much for writing your post, you have no idea what a weight reading it has lifted from my shoulders & that it’s ok just to be me.

  6. Seriously, a wonderful post. The transparency will allow others to be honest. There is no perfect life, but there are perfect moments. Congrats on your accomplishment of running two businesses and still being a creative humble woman. As well thoughts in our mind can travel at a speed where they need to be arrested…you arrested them and put them on paper to get a better of understanding. that’s my take. In your moment of sanity go insane and laugh at perfection for a moment and then be capture in the moment of your own perfection. Thanks for sharing and may peace and joy abound in your journey.

  7. I could have written this so you’re right. Most of us are going through and thinking the same things. I don’t have the answers. We all know what we should do. Your other post about taking a day off, cleaning and decluttering is def a step in the right direction!

    1. thanks Nat. I’m not sure anyone has the answers as everyone is different with how they deal with things. As Im incapable of asking for help – my biggest downfall – I’m making little steps to make me feel better. It’s starting to work so thats good. x

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