A Dose of the Januarys

I’d be surprised if there is anyone out there who returns to work in the New Year with a bounce in their step, and beaming from ear to ear. If you do… take it elsewhere yer massive weirdo.

As I’ve got older I’ve noticed that the change in seasons affect me more. The darker evenings from late October and then the darker mornings. Up to the end of the year it isn’t so bad – various high days and holidays to look forward to that break things up a bit to or distract from winter grey. Unless socialising and Xmas isn’t your thing. January and February can be particularly tough, sometimes March too but then some colour does start to return to the landscape and the hushed whisperings of the oncoming spring can detected.

I presume that the Time to Talk day was set for the beginning of February very deliberately – this year it falls on Feb 1st. World Mental Health Day in October, Time to Talk Day in February, and Mental Health Awareness Week in May bridge what can be a challenging time for many. Having said that, they haven’t been events that I have engaged with much on a personal level as I’m usually involved on a professional level. When the relevance of these initiatives isn’t easily compartmentalised… therein lies a bit of an issue (but that is a blog post of its own!).

A cup of tea and a chat can get things started. Time to Talk has a simplicity to it, an accessibility. I like that. For the same reasons I think that Blackdog CC is a great idea. Those of you who attended the Look Mum No Hands evening or listened to the Wheelsuckers podcast will recall Roann Ghosh talking about the club. It starts with a sticker (and who doesn’t like stickers, right?!). A subtle yet clear signifier that it’s ok to talk to someone about depression. Also, as Roann mentioned, it can be easier to talk when side by side rather than face to face. You’re less exposed. I think many people can find talking about difficult subjects when you have another task to hand, be it riding or mechanic-ing.

Anxiety can get in the way of even these seemingly simple beginnings. Things is, about anxiety, the Fear of the What-If is almost always way worse than the action or activity itself. And then you realise how much cognitive wherewithal you’ve used up worrying about the possible outcomes of a decision. It can be exhausting. Being able to identify and catch yourself when you’re doing this is one thing, modifying your thinking is quite another.

It’s at this point I come to the conclusion that if I was talking to you I would have got stuck in a bit of a verbal cul-de-sac. I’m not sure I meant to write about this but here I am.

Anyway, as mentioned before, I use turbo sessions to keep my fitness and energy levels up during the cold, grey weeks. The last three years I’ve been on a club training camp at the beginning of February for a week. It’s really helped to break up the post-Xmas/Long Time ‘Til Easter period. This year, for a change, I’ve plumped for a camp a bit later on. I have been a bit concerned about whether I made the right decision though I am looking forward to the more settled weather in the Costa Blanca in April. There are some good climbs to be had inland from Calpe, orange groves a-plenty, and a promise of the spa in the basement of the hotel we’ll stay in. Women riders – if you fancy joining me 14-21 April then take a look at the details here: Elite Cycling Training Camps . I booked my flights today in a fit of commitment and it feels good to have the week to look forward to. Particularly given the talking to I had to give myself this morning to get out of bed and ride. There’ll be several group rides in Spain so whether you want hard miles for race prep, or just want to get a few miles in the legs in warm climes you will be catered for. I’m not planning to be chewing the bars all round south-east Spain – the group I usually ride in even has a coffee stop. That’s how I roll.


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