The end of the year is magical. As soon mid-October hits, it’s basically a non-stop holiday bonanza. We have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Years, and good old-fashioned vacation. Everyone is cheerful, work slows, and the positive vibes are flowing.
It’s great, but it’s also the cause of one of the worst times of the year; the first few weeks of January. As soon as the holiday season ends and we put our menorahs away and curb our Christmas trees, we’re faced with the brutal reality of vicious cold and the start of a prolonged, intense work period.
Once the new year starts, all the good feelings and positivity of the previous two-ish months evaporate into thin air and we find ourselves back on the grind. I’m not a fan. I get stressed, anxious, a little irritable, and generally bummed that all the fun and games of the holidays are over, but I’ve come to realize that it’s not a bad thing.
Let me explain:
THINGS AREN’T GOING TO BE GOOD ALL THE TIME
Part of what makes good things so good, is that there are “bad” things: bad moods, bad days, bad breaks. Without the bad, there is no good.
Coming back to work after a prolonged break doesn’t feel great. We would all probably prefer to not have to work in order to make a living, but the fact that we do, and that our extended breaks eventually come to an end, is what makes the breaks so good in the first place.
It’s a classic lesson in balance: if everything is good, nothing is good. We need to have the lows in order to have the highs and this time of year is just one of those low-tide periods. But the tide will shift back. It always does.
HARD TIMES LEAD US TO THE GOOD TIMES
I don’t mean that the hard times will eventually subside and give way to the better times (they will), but that when we return from our stress-free time away, our less-than-stellar feelings can be incredibly enlightening.
When we’re on vacation, the chances are we’re going to be living large and stress-free. The things that normally eat away at us will fade to the background and we can enjoy our days on our terms. The moment of truth happens when we return. Are we going to immediately fall back into stress and anxiety? Or are we going to feel recharged and ready to tackle what’s in front of us?
If we immediately fall back into stress and anxiety, the chances are our brain is trying to tell us something -- maybe that it might be time to try something new. It’s obviously more complicated than that, but the negative emotions and feelings we experience in that situation are what will propel us onto bigger and better things.
DON’T FEAR THESE FEELINGS
We’re told that feeling anything but amazing all the time is a bad thing, but I’m telling you that’s wrong. It might not be enjoyable, but it’s necessary, and not just for the reasons laid out above. It’s necessary because addressing these feelings is what helps us discover the cause of them, and ultimately, the remedy for them. Don’t ignore them and bury them deep inside. Sit with them and try to understand them so you can coexist with them and not be overcome by them.
The holidays are over and it’s unbearably cold basically everywhere. It only makes sense that things aren’t going to at their best right now. Don’t run from that, embrace it. It’s the only way you’re going to be able to get beyond it.
Until next time – Stay warm out there.