.Why does it always seem as though the month of January is lasting forever! If you're like me, you dread the month of January before it begins, as it slowly goes by from one day to the next and how the last day of the month never seems to get any closer. For those of us who may feel the slow drag of the January days, we are not alone. By typing in "why does January feel so long" into my search engine, I found many articles from across the nation explaining the effects that the month of January has on individuals and why it may feel like such a long month.
There are a couple of reasons why I feel as though January is long to me, and by looking through some research, I found that these reasons are felt by many.
One of the main reasons I feel as though January may seem so long is because it follows the month of December. Looking back, I still cannot believe how fast the month of December went by. Why is this, considering that both months contain the same amount of days? It really comes down to how we mentally view the two months. December is full of many activities: celebrations with the different holidays, school terms ending, and many parties, shows, and events to attend. Researchers, who study time perception, believe that our internal clock judges time differently. When we are excited and motivated, we mentally view time as going faster than when we are scared, bored or unmotivated (NewStatesmen). Coming off of an exciting month, like December, we may see January as boring and our motivation levels may sink, making the month seem longer than it really is.
Another reason January may feel so long is due to the length of daylight we are receiving. Although our daylight hours are beginning to increase during January, we are still seeing shortened days and longer nights. Due to less sunlight, our bodies may be producing less serotonin (which helps regulate mood) or more melatonin (which may increase sleepiness). This may cause us to feel more down during the darker, winter months. It is not uncommon to feel these mood changes during this time of the year, especially living here in Cache Valley where the effects of winter are felt here more than in southern, warmer places. If, however, your mood changes are affecting your day to day activities, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter blues or seasonal depression.
SAD is a type of depression that shows up during seasonal changes. The symptoms for SAD may be the same as those for depression. Listed below are symptoms that show up frequently for those suffering from SAD.
I have also included a couple of helpful YouTube videos to help explain the causes, symptoms and treatments for SAD. If needed, please seek out your health care provided for more information and treatment options for SAD.
So, how do we survive this long, winter month? A couple of things I find that work for me each year are listed below.
Some of these suggestions may need to be tweaked a little, thanks to COVID-19, but, hopefully there are some suggestions that may work for you. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to make the winter months more fun and motivating, please feel free to share with us in the comment section.