To begin with, I may have struck gold. A hairdressers that I actually like! i.e. I didn’t cry afterwards and I felt relaxed enough to breath properly during the experience – usually I hold my breath in between snips, (don’t ask.) Taylor Taylor in Shoreditch. For months I thought it was a furniture shop, because of the cool décor. Turns out I was wrong. It’s a revolution in hairdressing.. the place felt more like a home than a salon – actual carpeted floors, two dogs roaming around the place and a freaking cocktail bar! Plus, for the first time in a decade I loved the end result. (Normally I fake happiness and spend the rest of the journey trying to work out how I can fix it.)
Any who, just thought I’d share the experience. If you get anxious about having your hair cut then I’d really recommend it. The atmosphere is chilled and friendly.
Catch – £60.00 for a cut & blow is quite steep, but I only get my hair cut twice a year, so I can rationalise the splurge!
Day twelve of the most depressing month of the year. How are we all holding up? Do please comment or send me a message. I’d really like to know.
Why is it so miserable? Allow me to summarise:
- It’s too long. 31 Days is clearly someone’s idea of a joke.
- Everybody is skint. That early Crimbo pay day isn’t looking so good now huh? (After my haircut I now have £100 to last me two weeks – although I plan to stay in denial about this.)
- There technically isn’t anything to look forward to until April.
- It’s dark at 4:15pm
- Everybody on public transport is irrationally angry.
Ok, so now that I’ve sufficiently depressed you all, let me bring words of hope; YOU’LL GET THROUGH IT, I promise.
January signifies misery to a lot of people because it’s a month without distractions. Suddenly there’s nothing to divert attention from our own lives, thereby prompting the most dangerous of all activities…. thinking about ourselves, (at least I do.) What am I doing? What do I want from life? Why can’t I be happy? Can I really cope with this? These are niggling thoughts which have popped into my head throughout the Januarys of years gone by. The thoughts then trigger unpleasant emotions such as; sadness, anxiety and fear, which in turn makes me look for solutions, which then conquers up more thoughts. Do you spot the negative cycle there? You cannot win. Remember that, you can never win a battle against your own brain. It only results in feeling hopeless.
So what is the solution? My advice is to not engage in the battle at all. This is not to suggest that you should try and fight your negative thoughts – because we all know this is both impossible and counter-productive. Instead, just don’t act on them. Why? Well if you’re anything like me then you won’t be in the right state of mind to be looking for solutions when your head isn’t straight.
When I was having a hard time last January I spent hours on the internet desperately searching for new therapies or medication that I could try. I nearly spent £220 on a course of acupuncture! The truth is, the mind cannot heal during periods of distress, because the Amygdala will view everything as a threat. The neurotransmitters are depleted due to prolonged stress and negative emotions, so the ‘happy/calm’ signals don’t have a enough of an impact on the brain.
This is not to say that you can’t make yourself more comfortable during this period, just don’t try and ‘fix’ anything.. if that makes sense? It sounds defeatist I know, but I promise you it’s the complete opposite. Instead of falling for the anxiety trick you’re taking control of the situation and refusing to play ball.
Another piece of advice (from experience) is to avoid making any big decisions in January – unless you feel 100% stable. When humans feel unhappy we start to look for the cause of said unhappiness; Is it my job? My relationship? My house?
It’s an instinctive reaction, we want to resolve issues with the hope of feeling better ASAP. However, as I touched on earlier, during periods of extreme emotion the mind cannot process things rationally. Therefore, it cannot be trusted to make rational decisions. A good example of this was when I decided to make a career change. I spent an entire afternoon researching Psychology degrees (can you imagine?) Fortunately, my thinking brain recovered enough the following day to release this impending mistake! It’s now buried in my list of weird experiences.
If you’re really unhappy and want to make a change in your life that’s fine, it’s your life after all. All I’m suggesting is that you wait until February before you make any big decisions. Is 19 days really so long?
In the meantime we need things to help ride out the rest of the month. I find that planning and organisation helps. Here are a few suggestions:
- Invest in some really cosy nightwear. It sounds daft I know, but never underestimate the comfort a snuggly pair of pyjamas and slipper socks can bring.
- Make sure that you eat tasty and nutritious food. Yes I realise that the effort to cook can seem like a marathon, but try it. Ideally fish is best as it contains Omega three oils (which help the brain.) However, anything will do so long as it has some nutritional value. Don’t worry I’m not going to turn into Gwyneth Paltrow, but keeping the body healthy helps to take pressure of the mind. Cooking is also a great distraction from those long dark evenings. Plan at least three nice meals a week and research good recipes. Tonight I’m making sea bass with rosemary potatoes and greens.
To clarify, a takeaway is obviously fine at the weekends!
- Buy a selection of films, preferably ones that don’t have complex plots. I watched The Expendables last night and it was perfect! I’m also really into horror films that are so shit they’re good. I highly recommend Sharknado.
- Games and puzzles are handy for distraction. Have a look for free apps on your phone.
- Light – I bring out my SAD lamp ever year to help with moods and energy levels. Nobody wants to come home to a dark and gloomy flat. Candles are good too (even for men dammit!) Candle light is soothing – unless you have a fear of fire.
- Exercise – yes I know I bang on about this one all the time, but it helps! It’s an effective way to reduce adrenalin in the body and improve moods. Just 10 minutes a day will suffice. (Unless your doctor has advised against this.)
If all else fails remember one thing: It will end, because… well everything does! That’s a certainty you can use to find comfort. January will end.
During the darker moments try not to think about the future or the past. Don’t actively block these thoughts, but don’t curl up with them either. Focus on the present and what you can do to help you get through each minute. One step at a time.
We’ll do it troops and I’m right here with you!!