Science Says There’s a Reason Why January Felt Like It Lasted a Year
With February finally here, you may have noticed your social media feed filled with memes about the infinite feeling of January. Although six other months also have 31 days, the first month of the year feels as if it lasts forever (and then some).
It turns out, there is truth in those hilariously accurate memes. Psychologists have actually identified a number of reasons for why January feels like "the Monday of Months."
We all know December is a busy month. From gift shopping to holiday parties, to all of those family get-togethers, the holiday season can feel overwhelmingly chaotic. Then, as if a switch is flipped, the holiday craziness comes to an abrupt end.
Clinical psychologist, Chloe Carmichael, found that the end of the holiday hustle and bustle can cause a drop in the chemicals that triggers our brains happy cues.
She told Yahoo Life, “We're getting gifts, or we're giving gifts and watching other people experiencing the magic of the holiday that we're creating for people, and that just floods us with dopamine, and it feels really good,” she explained. “So [after the holidays], there can be a sense of depletion of those chemicals. … It can almost feel like someone pulled the emotional rug out from underneath us, [and it's] a contrast coming off the high of the holidays.”
Not only do festivities come to an end, but December also leaves us with tighter wallets in January after overspending on gifts. Many people find themselves buckling down on their finances to make up for going over the Christmas budget or the effects of inflation. With this lull in spending, people stay home more.
Daylight Savings Strikes Again
Not only does the magic of the holidays end, but we are also confronted with the full effects of daylight savings. The weather is colder, and the days feel shorter with the sun setting earlier. It's awful, am I right?
The shorter days leave less daylight to be active and deplete our bodies of Vitamin D allowing seasonal depression to sink in.
The Same Old, Same Old
January also signifies the return of our daily routines and life centering on the mundane of work schedules, school, and deciding what's for dinner.
According to the New York Post, psychologist Pauline Wallin said this return to normalcy can depress people and contribute to our perception of time as moving slower.
Being Too Aware
With January comes New Year's Resolutions which typically beg for more time. When we set goals to read more or go to the gym, we try to make time for these activities in our regular schedules making us more aware of how limited time can feel. Also, there are no big holidays to count down to an extra day or two off of work, leaving little to look forward to.
According to The New Statesmen, it is our awareness of time or lack thereof that actually makes it feel longer. So, although that Titanic meme about January feeling like it has lasted 84 years deserves a giggle, it is that collective awareness adding to how slow time seems to pass.
All in all, we can officially celebrate that we have survived the longest 31 days of 2024. It's the little things, right?
25 Personalized License Plates Rejected by the Indiana BMV
Gallery Credit: Kat Mykals
15 Best Places for Fried Chicken in Southern Indiana and Western Kentucky
Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan