You know that feeling when you wake up after a long night of drinking hard alcohol? Your head is pounding, you feel sick to your stomach, and your body feels like you were literally hit by a truck. Once you manage to peel yourself up from whatever surface you passed out on you grab the nearest pair of dark sunglasses and a gallon of water and head for your quiet bedroom to sleep that bad boy off. Only you can’t! As your head hits that pillow you are suddenly greeted with the awful feeling of anxiety. The one that will jolt you awake every time you doze off and leave you lying in a state of purgatory for the remainder of the day. Your body desperately wants to sleep but your mind is playing a championship game of ping pong with your thoughts.
Well 2020 has left me with the hangover of all hangovers. No, I didn't spend my NYE binge drinking. In fact I didn’t even make it to midnight. But this past year has been a doozy.
Like most of the world, I have been looking forward to starting a new year. Normally I don't love January because the gyms are crowded, every other commercial is for Jenny Craig, and the amount of bullshit new years resolution posts kind of makes me want to vomit. But this year felt different. I was ready to usher in a new year along with the rest of the world.
2021 has been the light at the end of the tunnel for months now. If only we could make it through the end of the year we would be home free, right?
Naively, some part of me bought into the narrative that come 2021, everything would be better. We just had to make it through the holiday season, then we could have a fresh start. But I didn't really think beyond that. I made a couple of lists of things I wanted to accomplish in the next year but I didn't really think about what actually happens once we got to the new year.
So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up January 1st expecting everything to magically feel different, yet nothing did. My motivation has been at an all time low and I feel nothing close to refreshed. Quite frankly, I'm exhausted. I worked my butt off at the beginning of December so that I could take the last 2 weeks off and enjoy the holidays, but I'm still so damn exhausted!
It’s a mental and emotional exhaustion that I know I am not alone in. Commercials are still pushing their upbeat messaging, trying to sell the new year, new you concept. But I think many of us are coming to the realization that we still have a long way to go, and that is exhausting to rationalize.
As we realize nearly all of the same problems that plagued us in 2020 are still here kicking it, we can't help but feel a little cheated. Realistic or not we have been hyping ourselves up for a fresh new start.
Much like a night out with your girlfriends that you have been looking forward to for months, you spend hours doing your makeup and enter the hottest club ready to rage. Not giving a single thought to how you are going to feel come sunrise. In the moment, shots seem like an excellent idea. And how could you not order a bottle of champagne! Duh!
Then the morning comes and inevitably the hangover sets in. If you're lucky you wake up a little early and think, wait, this isn't that bad! But just give it a couple of hours, I promise it will eventually settle in.
So where am I going with all of this?
As I spent the last few days feeling like I was in a state of purgatory, restless, anxious, and emotionally drained, unsure of what to do exactly, I had to remind myself that a date changes nothing. This isn't Cinderella. Nothing magical happens at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve and we can't expect our lives to change with a snap of the fingers. Just because we want to leave 2020 in the past doesn't mean 2021 won’t have its own set of challenges.
Know that 2021 will come with its own set of baggage and be realistic with your expectations. We are all just doing the best we can and that's all we can ask for. Life is still just as tough as it was in 2020 and simply making it through the day right now counts as a win!
I hope everyone had a safe and healthy holiday season. Until next week, show yourself some compassion.
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Disclaimer: Please note, all information on The Cheeky Life is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. The intention of this blog is to connect with the community and share my personal experiences with mental health, eating disorders, and life in general. All opinions are my own.