January is tough. I always tell myself that the start of the year will be good and it never quite happens.
I love Christmas. I love staying at home with my family and spending time off together. Turning the corner into January I can see the entire year stretching out in front, and that intimidates me. I plan some of the things I’m going to do, I get my work things organised, and brace myself for getting back to normal.
My migraines often become more frequent in the New Year – in the autumn I went for three months without having one, but I’ve had two in the past couple of weeks. I can’t work out is whether it’s anxiety that causes the migraines, or whether getting more migraines makes me anxious! Perhaps it’s a mixture of the two.
This isn’t even my busiest time of year. The summer term is full of assignments, concert organisation and pupils’ exams, and the run-up to Christmas is similarly hectic. Somehow when I’m in the middle of all that I can deal with it more easily. Yes, I might be tired and stressed, but not in a cripplingly anxious way.
January is hard because I’m not yet in a position to deal with what’s coming. It’s fear of the unknown. If I was busier then I wouldn’t have time to be anxious, but would that be a good thing? As I mentioned in my ‘Planning My Rest’ blog post, I struggle to feel ‘normal’ when I’m taking time off. I’m bad at resting. I think the answer is to become better at it, and not to ignore the problem.
I’m doing my best to be sensible, especially after a bad panic attack a few evenings ago. I’m taking unnecessary jobs off my list and just doing what I need to do, as well as trying to exist in the present rather than constantly looking backwards and forwards. I bought myself a colouring book, which gives me a gentle creative outlet and helps with the anxiety. Whether these measures have any effect on the migraines remains to be seen, but I feel a little more settled.
It’s nearly February now, so I expect things will start to improve, as they usually do. I’ve learnt some useful things through what has been a difficult few weeks. And on the positive side, I’ve managed to write the correct date in my journal every day this month, so perhaps it’ll end up being a good year!