Winter Blues

January is not my month.

January is a bad hangover that I wake up to after three weeks of blissful lack-of-responsibility.

I lose my body in the winter. My energy suddenly slips and the only exercise I get is a fast and direct walk from residence to class as I dodge between buildings to avoid icy, snowy sidewalks. And, with shorter days and constant overcast skies I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun! I feel like at least a small glimmer of sunshine would warm me up and improve my mood. At night, the only way I can get my body to rest is to stay up as late as I can, surrendering to bedtime once I’m past the point of function.

I lose my mind in the winter. My hopes that this year will be better than the last disappear into the depths of my tired brain. My plans for waking up early and spending less time on Instagram gradually slip away since it’s simply too cold to do anything else, and remind me that I am falling into the same old patterns.

Scattered through my tired brain are thoughts like “WHAT NOW?” and beneath them echoes: “What are you going to do next?” “How did you get so in debt?” “Where are you going to work this summer?” “When are you going to get a job?” “What do you even want to do?”— Big questions, and it’s only the first week back to class.

It’s 2:45am and I am Googling the symptoms of a nervous breakdown. How am I supposed to cope with these feelings? There has got to be a light at the end of this tunnel. I lie dreaming of summer holidays and moments when I feel happiest.

I turn on some music that is guarenteed to put me in a good mood. Music that gets me up and dancing to cheer me up. Two album’s I’m digging right now are Melodrama by Lorde and Stoney by Post Malone. I sing along to my favourite song, the louder the better. Nothing cheers me up like belting out “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn at the top of my lungs. Singing not only gets my mind off of what is upsetting me, but it’s also super fun!

Once I’ve drained some energy, I pick up a book. Sometimes when I am feeling lonely or overwhelmed, a book can transport to another world with new characters. Tonight, I’ll battle dementors with Harry and Ron.

While it’s late, I pick up the phone and call my mom. Thankfully, she’s always there to listen and give great advice. Being able to talk to friends and family when I feel like the world is caving in reminds me that I am never alone. There are always people who care for me, even if they’re far away. My good friends and family have a way of making me feel special even when I don’t feel it myself.

When I am feeling overwhelmed, I’ll journal my thoughts. I find that there is a catharsis element to writing my emotions down on paper, and that journaling helps alleviate some of my worries. Somehow, whatever I am worried about never seems as bad as it does when the thoughts are swirling around in my head. I remind myself that I am enough. That I have made it this far and that I am so close to finishing. Tomorrow, I’ll go to Career Services to talk about summer job options. I’ll make a schedule for the term, and settle into a routine that will help me get all my school work done, plan for the summer, commit to my extracurriculars and still make time for friends on the weekend. I’ll start writing that in my calendar now so that I don’t forget!

All I can do right now is focus on the present. There is no sense worrying about the future. My fears of the future are nothing more than thoughts. I try to centre my thoughts and relax my mind.

Once I settle into bed, I start scrolling through cute animal accounts on Instagram: @cuter is guarenteed to put a grin on my face!

…And just as quickly as these thoughts lift my spirits, I fall asleep.