Blue Monday: How are you spending the saddest day of the year?

Because I’ve been dreading January since mid-August (when my buddy Nikki moved back to the east coast and inadvertently gave me the reality check that the days of summer are numbered), it came as absolutely no surprise to me to learn that today is considered the most depressing day of the year. I’ve been bummed about winter for a long time, but the wave of sadness hit me most the day after Christmas, and I wound up publishing this piece as a result.

Research finds that January is hard on a lot of people. Christmas bills continue to stream into our mailboxes, leaving the house requires immense bundling up, you can’t help but look frumpy, and work expectations are intense again. Worst of all, vacations are out of the question.

Blue Monday doesn’t have to be sad, though. I was actually pretty content today, as my office was closed and I didn’t have to work. For the first time in three weeks, I had a valuable gym visit. I went into Forever 21 without purchasing anything, and considering my newfound love for shopping, my willpower surprised me. I have a full week of social and work activities ahead, so I’m staying busy regardless of the 16 degree weather, which is less noticeable here than in D.C. because New York gets a lot of sunlight. Though I rarely feel the warmth of the sun here, the light does the trick.

Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist in New York, told the Daily News that only 6 percent of New Yorkers suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, of which I was definitely a victim last winter, so I think I’m fine here. The key to dealing with chilly weather is piling on the layers and remembering to wear a hat, pair of gloves, and scarf for most outings.

So all was well today, in part because I came home to these:

As I’ve admitted before, holiday movies push me through winter because I can pretend all the biting cold weather will be leading up to Christmas Day, yummy food, adventures with friends, and visits with family members. Other than Valentine’s Day, there aren’t any fun celebrations in the near future to plan for, so coasting off Christmas is my best option here.

I’ve done a decent job going out on the weekends, but it would be so much easier if I were closer in location to my friends or had really strong friendships here. My network may be growing, but as I told Nikki in October, I’m without a Nikki in New York. As my dad would say, I’m without a wingman. It took me nearly a year of living in D.C. to acquire one there, so I more than anyone else recognize that it takes time to finds friends whom you can call at any moment and hang out with on a whim. There’s a reason why Rachel Bertsche’s book, “MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend” has garnered nationwide attention: Picking up female friends ain’t easy.

Women don’t live in Jason Segel and Paul Rudd’s “I Love You Man” world. There’s a lot more honesty and security and less competition going on between these characters than you’ll often find among females.

When push comes to shove, it’s just best that I recognize quality relationships do not blossom overnight, and because every social gathering or bar reunion turns into a bitchfest, there’s little to connect over besides shared complaints and concerns. Hopefully when summer approaches, this won’t be the case.


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