It’s the Winter Blues…

Hello, all.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something rant-y on this blog. Not to say that I’ve felt an obligation to do so (really, should it be a set rule? It’s not as if you need to feel down on a scheduled basis for the sake of writing a rant. God, if that’s the case, that sounds damn depressing…pun intended), but having felt a bit “out of it” these past few weeks, I thought that I would take a step back and try to consolidate my thoughts in a post, to set things right for myself.

After having gone through the same thing the previous year, I already knew that January would be a hard time. Noticing patterns in the past such as cold weather, drab skies, a feeling of self-doubt and anxiety should’ve been evident this time around, and oh boy did they hit rather hard.

Funny enough, I knew that January was going to be a tough month, but at the same time I tried so hard not to let it get to me. In fact, I started off really well, returning to work and school in high spirits and great motivation, which carried on until the second week- after that, things started to turn for the not-so-great.

Not to say that things got awful, not at all. It was just that I slowly started to let little things get to me, from a sub-par lesson to anxiety kicking in and everything in between. In response to all of that, I tried to keep myself busy, working harder than ever at my freelance writing job and vegging out on Youtube and so forth.

True, I continued hanging out with my group of flatmates every weekend, but at the same time I felt myself becoming rather distant during these gatherings, as well as choosing not to attend some of the social functions, which aggravated my FOMO behavior (which sounds really hypocritical since I’d chosen not to go, but I’m weird like that). Talked less, and when I did talk, something always felt off- perhaps it was the tone of my voice, something that I said that rubbed the wrong way, and while those could all just be in my head, I was not feeling at ease socializing with people, even those whom I’ve gotten to be close with since the beginning of our job.

Hadn’t been running for almost two weeks, and in that span of time, I noticed my body going through changes…and not ideal ones. A bit of a stomach pooch here, a hint of love handles there, and I feel like a slobbery mess. Even core-strengthening exercises can’t save me from lack of cardio. Eating tons of pasta and going overboard with the alcohol once a week at our house parties certainly do not help. And the winter cold isn’t helping with going out since where I live, temperatures have gone down to freezing point on some days!

…and once again, the fact that I’m living in France gives me massive anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the experience, but at the same time, it really is terrifying some days to speak French with native speakers, because even if they are sympathetic to you making mistakes from time to time, there will always be that small part in the back of your brain that wonders if they are secretly judging you and your not-so-perfect French. In fact, a few weeks ago I was chatting with one of the French teachers in the staff room about what we did during winter break: I said that I’d gone to Germany and Spain. After I said that in French, she gave me a subtle, but evidently critical look and corrected my sentence, which was literally a missing preposition, but even that almost sent me to my grave. I know I’m being dramatic, but it’s disheartening that, even though I’ve been learning French for years now and would say that I have a high-intermediate level, that fear of messing up on pronunciation and grammar still remains, and it manifests itself whenever someone critically corrects me (I don’t mind being corrected, but just not with that hint of judgment) or someone laughs at my accent (not so much anymore, but it was evident with the kids that I’d taught last year. Screw them.).

On that related note, just being around a lot of students for work makes me anxious. Super illogical, but children, especially French teenagers, make me nervous. I don’t know why, but I guess it has to do with, again, the judging, the teenage gossip that may or may not be about me, and even though it’s all super petty and shallow, I take it to heart. That’s too bad, because the majority of them are good people, but I’m just too uncomfortable being around them for long periods of time. Ironically, I’m working towards becoming a teacher, so go figure…

Anyway, the winter blues hit me pretty badly at least in the mid to second half of January. Not to say that it has been completely terrible; it really helps that I live with people this year to hang out with and talk to about stuff, even if the FOMO still happens from time to time. I’m starting to recover, slowly but surely, as it’s finally February and the next vacation period is approaching. I just hope that the pattern will continue just like with last year’s, in which after the February holidays I’ll come back with a sunnier outlook…and hopefully sunnier weather. We’ll have to see!

Have you experienced the winter blues before? Let me know!

Let’s get through this together! Take care. 🙂

— The Finicky Cynic

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