Treading lightly into 2022
We don't have to be back at 100%
Like many of us, I’m back at the coalface after a couple of weeks off. I had a lovely relaxing Christmas and New Year both of which were mostly spent eating, reading and walking the dogs. But, I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t feel completely ready to return to work this week. And while I love my job, the pull of the sofa and Amazon Prime’s Wheel of Time was tough to resist on Tuesday morning.
I just scrolled back to see what I wrote about this time last year, as things all start to get a bit blurry when you pen a weekly newsletter for nearly two years. I’m pleased to see that in January 2021, Ellen didn’t fall down the hole of writing about New Year’s Resolutions or ranting about toxic diet culture. Instead, I wrote this piece entitled Just Keep Going inspired by my novice running journey. In a county where 1 in 25 people currently have COVID, the forecast says it “feels like -1°,” and the sun still sets before 4.30 pm, the premise of that Jan ‘21 piece still stands. Even I have found myself encouraged by reading my own words from the past, as sometimes it can seem very tempting to just… stop.
One of the most important messages I can convey during this weird time is that just because you took time off (be it a day, a week or fortnight), it doesn’t mean you are miraculously cured of the burnout that haunted you in December.
It’s all too easy to feel like you’re the only person not clambering to ‘catch up’ or ‘circle back’ on every correspondence. January is a weird time. If you’re employed, then you probably have to wait until the end of the month to get paid, while we self-employed folk are still chasing invoices from last year. The evenings are still dark far too early, and an added layer of guilt suggests we may have overindulged this festive period, and it might be time to cut back on alcohol/meat/fast food… whatever your vice.
The best advice I can give (and what I intend to follow myself) is to take it easy on yourself. Tread lightly into January. Take that extra biscuit with your cuppa or delete that toxic app (it’s Facebook for me). I am sick of the rhetoric that December is the time for enjoying yourself, and January is the one for misery. I experienced plenty of sad moments last month, and I intend to enjoy many a treat this January. Everything in moderation, as my mam used to say.
How do you feel about January and the forthcoming year? Let me know on Twitter @ContentByTheSea or reply to this email for a chinwag.
Obviously, the following list encompasses things I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, you’ll find something in there that hits the spot this gloomy January.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke - I haven’t read Clarke’s other famous work, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, but Piranesi caught my eye as it was <250 pages and marketed as a mythology-lovers fantasy. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I actually think it might have been my favourite of the year - it’s certainly in the top three. The less you know about it, the better. Go in blind and enjoy.
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson - YA crime isn’t my usual cup of tea, but I saw this was getting rave reviews and fancied a break from my usual material, so I gave it a go and it didn't disappoint. Jackson tells the story of a girl called Pip who is investigating a murder/suicide that happened in her town five years ago when she starts to discover that the case may not be all that it seems.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner - I didn’t realise going into this book that it’s a non-fiction memoir. Zauner tells the story of her mother’s passing, which was eerily similar to my own (making it difficult to read at times)—beautifully written and a really enjoyable piece despite the subject matter.
The Witcher S2 (Netflix) - Geralt is back and better than ever. Shifting away from the first season's complicated timeline and pacing issues, this instalment is arguably better than the first.
Cobra Kai S4 (Netflix) - As suspected, we watched this entire season within 48 hours. We just can’t get enough of the All-Valley Under 18 Karate Tournament and the drama that comes with it.
Ghosts S1-3 (BBC iPlayer) - This is a fun and light-hearted sitcom about a couple who inherit a haunted mansion.
Wheel of Time S1 (Prime) - They’ve finally made Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series into a show, and it’s getting mixed reviews, but we’re really enjoying it so far. After putting it off for years, I finally picked up the first book in the series, Eye of the World. If you’re stuck after The Witcher and need to scratch that fantasy itch, give this a go.
Encanto (Disney+) - I’m not a huge Disney fan, so I don’t always gravitate towards their latest releases, but Encanto was a fun post-Christmas lunch watch.
The Last Duel (Disney+) - In the complete opposite vein of Encanto, The Last Duel is a dark, historical tale told from three different points of view. (Note from Craig: what a film!)
That’s all from me! See you next week,
Enjoyed this? You might like these past issues:
15 December: How do you compare?
8 December: Lessons on mental health from Henry Cavill
1st December: Give the gift of rest this Christmas
24 November: Who are you?
17 November: Christmas comes early
10 November: Does size matter?
5 November: Consistency is overrated
27 October: Winter is coming whether you like it or not