Oh, January. The month of resolutions, fresh starts, and… endless, dragging days. It has 31 days like other months, but it often feels like it stretches on forever. Have you ever wondered why?
The answer, it turns out, lies in a complex interplay of psychology, neuroscience, and even a bit of social conditioning. Here are some reasons why this month may feel like 62 days instead of 31:
The Dopamine Dip: Remember the festive cheer and excitement of December? Those were fueled by dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. But come January, the holidays are over, and with them goes the dopamine rush. This sudden drop can leave us feeling flat and unmotivated, making time feel like it’s crawling.
The Post-Holiday Letdown: The holidays are packed with events, gatherings, and delicious treats. January, in contrast, can feel empty and routine. This lack of stimulation can trick our brains into thinking even more time has passed.
The Weather Blues: Shorter days, gray skies, and bone-chilling temperatures don’t exactly scream excitement. We tend to be less active and more introverted in winter, further contributing to the feeling of stagnation and a seemingly endless month.
So, what can we do to combat the January blues and make the month feel a little less interminable? Here are a few tips:
Plan fun activities: Who said the fun gatherings have to end on New Year’s Eve? Plan a “We made it through the first week or month of the year” party for family and friends. The fun doesn’t have to stop because the holiday season ended.
Set small, achievable goals: Don’t go overboard on your “new year, new me” resolutions. Instead, focus on smaller resolutions each day or week that bring you a sense of accomplishment and keep you motivated.
Embrace the winter weather: Get outside for some fresh air and exercise — even if it’s just a brisk walk. This can boost your mood instantly.
Start a new hobby: Maybe it’s reading up on gardening for spring, learning how to knit a blanket, or mastering yoga moves. A hobby will keep you busy, and you’ll not think about how long the month will take to get through.
Reframe your perspective: Maybe January isn’t as long as it feels. Change your mindset to having a fresh start to an entire year and all the fun to come!
January is almost over. Hang in there, spring is coming!