After I finish a big project, especially a first draft of a novel, I tend to suffer a few days of the blues. It is something akin to post-partum depression. Early December has been that kind of time for me. I finished my NaNo novel in a blaze of glory, and then fell into a kind of emotional coma.
Holiday Hysteria always bothers me: the shopping, baking, entertaining are exhausting. I no longer DO any of those things, but it tires me out listening to other people talk about doing them. It depresses me, too, that Americans can't seem to have fun without spending what seems to me extravagant amounts of money trying to impress (or, perhaps, more accurately: "outdo") one another. Holiday parties and gift-giving (looked at from the outside by someone who does not participate in either) appears to be almost a competitive sport in America these days. Sigh.
If all that weren't enough to cause me to hide under the covers, this past week Florida experienced the first cold snap of the winter, when temperatures have fallen into the thirties and highs have barely risen into the sixties. I realize that people who live in places where it's been below freezing for months will read that and scoff, but thirty-two degrees at the beach is cold.
All I want to do when I'm cold and depressed is wrap up in a blanket and sleep or watch inane TV. I never watch TV unless I'm sick or depressed, and I've turned the damned thing on every night this week. I have also skipped my pre-breakfast writing hour every morning because it's just been too hard to crawl out of the sack at 4:30... especially after staying up too late watching the Discovery Channel or PBS. To make matters worse, I when I'm depressed, I do not exercise, which is stupid because exercise would warm me up and help me shake off the blues.
In my continuing efforts to not be too hard on myself, and in the knowledge that the best way to combat depression is to experience it rather than try to fight it, I am allowing myself to experience the December Doldrums without guilt or shame. I am allowing myself to watch the Food Channel until I can't take it any more or go to bed at seven and read until I fall asleep (I need to quit writing in my books because the other night I fell asleep with my pen in my hand – to quote Ralphie's mother: "You'll put your eye out."). I will eat crap (I seem to be on an all-fudge diet this week thanks to the ladies at work who actually make holiday treats). I will allow myself a couple of weeks of behaving like the worst kind of mindless, TV-watching, junk-eating sloth.
By the time the holidays are over, I'll be ready to get back to my writing routine. I'll be ready to tackle the job of editing Marathon Nightmare as well as getting back to work on a couple of other projects in development. I'll be used to the cold by then, and tired of lying around like a couch potato. In January, I'll get back with my regular writing and exercise routine.
In the meantime, I'm bundling up and hunkering down to weather the holidays by letting my mind and my body rest. Hopefully my emotions will decide to simmer down and rest as well.