Thursday, January 28, 2010

When Life Doesn't Work: Find a Friend

I just learned that January 25th is the day of the year we are most likely to be depressed. The holidays have been over for a month, and we can't ride that wave of excitement and goodwill anymore. Credit card bills are rolling in. Winter heating bills are rolling in. Storms and the cold are keeping us inside, uncomfortable, harassed. Less sunlight means fewer "feel good" chemicals in our bodies. Many of us aren't getting enough exercise, so we feel sluggish. Quite a few of us have already abandoned our New Year's resolutions, or we are about to. As we throw in the towel and cry, "Uncle," we are sure our life isn't working -- but not sure why.

This is the season of the dumps.

If a mother is ever going to struggle with her decision to raise a family or stay at home or teach her children, now is the time. I've been telling women about this phenomenon for twenty years as I watched almost every friend I have slam into the winter wall of wallops. Finally, I have the scientific research to back it up!

For homeschooling moms, this is compounded by the fact that we do all our work with people. And all the people in our house are feeling the same way we are. It's expressed through each personality differently. Some people grow more irritable, some get antsy, some slouch towards depression. I usually just felt like doing something wild. Throwing furniture out the window. Running away. Living at a hotel for two weeks without my children.

If I was ever going to wonder if I was losing my mind, this was the time.

So when LIFE ISN'T WORKING, check the season you're in. New baby? Then it'll take you four times longer to do everything. Toddler demanding his place in the world? You'll feel like tearing out your hair by noon. Teenagers in the house? Watch those hormonal moods and be prepared for irrational behavior. Menopause on your horizon? You'll wonder where your brain went.

Pause and take a deep breath.

Which of the issues you're facing are just part of the season you are in?

If they are seasonal, then they don't mean you are in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing with your life. This will pass. Go out for coffee. Have a tall cup of frothy dreams with foam piled on top. Chat with a friend who understands or with your husband. Get it all off your chest. Start by saying, "I just need to vent." Then, afterwards, you can laugh and know that better days are ahead.

Even if you can't solve any of it, just talking to a friend will help you more than you think it can.

Trust me on this one. You need to feel that you aren't alone and the stress is temporary. And who knows? Maybe your friend or your husband will have an idea that will make passing through this time easier.


  1. Yesterday I really, really wanted to run away to the beach. I needed this to start today. Thank you!

  2. I love reading your posts! You have been where I am, and it so encouraging to see you have lived to tell about it. :)

  3. Ahhh - just what I needed today. Thank you!

  4. Seems like you really posted something people needed to hear today. me, too! I had one of those days, one of the ones you wish you had put your kids in school (well, not really, but you get the idea.) Just reading this helped me today. Each day gets better, and with friends all over the net as well as all over town, it makes it that much easier. Thanks again!

  5. Friends are hard to find these days. But a good friend is better than family, esp if you need someone to listen to all your problems, and all your blues. Thanks for the scientific proof about January and the blues. (Its true!)

  6. I had just heard about that on the news as well. I suspect that's why I recently started thinking about where our vacation will be this year! Fortunately, we have a tummy virus slowly going through the family right now, so I'm too tired and I'm too much desiring to nurture my sick children - and there's no room for the blues right now.


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