Today is January 24th, 2022 and according to the internet (or just this source), it is also the most depressing day of the year. I Googled this further and discovered that the third Monday in January is known as “Blue Monday” and it is the most depressing day of the year. Last Monday I was on a roll, I worked out twice, got a run in and felt ready for the week. By Thursday I had pink eye, a fever of 102 and I couldn’t stay awake for more than a few hours. I took a few days of rest, but then felt like I had been completely derailed by this momentum that had just picked up. “A body in motion stays in motion,” until life sneaks up on you. I knew a hike would be a good thing, so I planned to get out to Harpers Ferry yesterday. I miss backpacking. I actually miss being a little dirty. I miss being submersed in nature. And again, my plans got derailed and I ended up taking my kids to Tuckahoe Park on the Eastern Shore instead. It was a short nature walk. I was exhausted and disappointed in myself. We didn’t even see a spirit animal. Today I woke up feeling like I was doing everything covered in heavy syrup. January and February are tough months – less daylight, colder weather, stuck inside, etc. It’s more important now to be working out, eating healthy and keeping your spirits high, but also harder than ever. Today I have had to focus on picking myself up, and “getting back on the wagon” after being derailed.
In order to try to shake off this apathy, a change of expectations is needed. I got sick, it happens. All or nothing is totally unrealistic. Last week I missed a few runs for my half marathon training and I found myself thinking about completely bailing on the training. I haven’t run more than 4 miles in a very long time, and getting back into longer runs has been slow (literally) and more mentally difficult than physically. “‘Stress and anxiety often come from too much expectation and too much ambition … Often we are not being realistic about our own ability or about objective reality. When we have a clear picture about our own capacity, we can be realistic about our effort. Then there is a much greater chance of achieving our goals.’” – Dalai Lama. Looking at my reality, I have to adjust my expectations of how often I can train based on the time I have available. Sick days need to be factored in, as do snow days, it’s freezing fucking cold out days, etc. I need to be ok with the fact that I run a lot slower than I used to, and I will improve with consistency. I will get my training runs in this week.
Next step I took was to try to fall in love with life again. I miss nature, and yet I am typing this in front of a window. I have a yard, with this beautiful Crepe Myrtle that I love. If I look out another window I can see the Chesapeake Bay. I got to go to Tuckahoe yesterday. The boys loved the sound the partially frozen pond made when they threw sticks on it. We would not have experienced that if I had made it to Harpers Ferry. By focusing on what I have rather than what I want, that shift to gratitude instantly lifts my spirits. And as soon as I am done writing this, I will focus on actively trying to avoid screen time for the rest of the week. The more time I spend on social media, the worse I feel. I think a large part of missing being out on the AT was the fact that I was on Airplane Mode. Enabling “focus” mode and setting timers on social media helps keep me more in the present.
Lastly, there’s just a good amount of just sucking it up and putting on my big girl panties and getting shit done because it has to get done. “If we can have compassion for ourselves, and acknowledge how we feel afraid, hurt or threatened, we can have compassion for others – possibly even for those who have evoked our anger.” (Douglas Abrams). So, fuck you Blue Monday, you’re almost over and I’m feeling way better than I was this morning.