The January Blues – (Almost) Over For Another Year

January’s got a lot to answer for, hasn’t it? Christmas is over, it’s cold and dark outside (at least in the UK) and we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic.

With New Year resolutions already foundering, we’re then hit by Blue Monday, reckoned to be the most depressing day of the year, and it’s a long time till spring!

To this list, add self-help books. I gave up on these years ago when I found they all said the same thing. A waste of money. Most people can work it all out for themselves.

One fact that can’t be ignored, though, is that levels of stress, depression and anxiety among parents, carers and many others have increased with the pressures of the lockdowns.

Issues like difficulty relaxing, feeling hopeless and angry. Many parents, especially those of secondary-age students, say they’re worried about their children’s future, blaming contributory factors like prolonged screen time, disruption to daily routine, lack of exercise, stress of exams and frequent arguments.

A few tips? If you find yourself in an argument, the chances are your opponent isn’t actually angry with you personally. You are just collateral damage. And in that moment you are the embodiment of their elderly parent’s missing second Covid jab or another three months of home-schooling.

You are their outstanding rent, their disappearing career, their dwindling savings, while in America a person formerly in charge of nuclear codes is no longer deemed stable enough to have social media. (”Putin just outplayed” him, admitted a high-level administration official recently– comparing the Russian leader to a chess grandmaster and Trump to an occasional player of draughts. Which basically says it all, doesn’t it?)

Readers regularly write to my website saying how much they’ve enjoyed following my column over the past 11 years – and how its regular appearance every single week provides, especially now, a kind of “normality” in these uncertain times. They like the sly humour as well as the occasional digs at slebs and politicians.

To all those readers, thank you – much appreciated.

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘No Safe Place’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ ( available online as eBook (€0.99;£0.99), Apple Books, paperback & audiobook. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity  

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Nora Johnson

Novelist Nora Johnson offers insights on everything from current affairs to life in Spain, with humour and a keen eye for detail.