Why are we so hard on ourselves during February? Stop writing to do lists and scrolling the internet and get among something cultural, says Noelle Faulkner
Do remember how you felt on January 1? How you woke up in the new year and breathed it in? Hungover or not, it was a nice feeling, no? There was something joyful in that collective sigh we all breathed out, knowing that the scar tissue of 2016 would heal swiftly, soon to be forgot. How we all went on with our merry lives, partied, luxuratied, sunbathed, indulged, relaxed, ruminated and laughed among ourselves how the "worst year ever was over"... but that's the beauty of January. That new year shininess, it's unspoiled perfection. We can toe-dip back into reality, ride that line of work-vs-play and still get away with being a little bit half-baked in our rose coloured glasses.
And then comes February. February is where the other shoe drops. It's catnip for change, or rather, change in action. The dreamers get overwhelmed by their to do lists, and the doers make serious plans. We try to keep that summer social life momentum going, but reprimand ourselves at the same time. It's the time where we have the energy and the foresight to think about transformations and the seriousness to lose ourselves in it. It's when people move house, change jobs, break up, settle down, plan a trip, start saving, or at least seriously plan to do all those things- it's the month where summer's hedonism-y hot air thins out into headstrength, and we all say to ourselves " I need to get my shit together", while manically scribbling lists, scrolling feeds and dropping cash on new stationary we never actually use.
Well, I guess I'm here to say - stop. Or at least, calm it down a peg. Consider compartmentalising, easing into it and not wasting the end of your summer forming new worry lines. There are plenty of ways to find balance and keep the new year spirits up, the brain ticking and the pupil dilating this month, so turn down the self-loathing, at least for another 28 days.
This month, the west coast welcomes Perth International Arts Festival, with hours and hours of entertainment to distract you; beer and yoga come together at last; the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras starts to gear up and, being awards season, there's going to be at least one thing worth watching at the cinema at all times.
And hey, if you do find yourself getting overwhelmed, know that February 22 is World Margarita Day, so feel free to use that as an excuse.