New Year’s Over

Success! A New Year’s Eve with a minimum of Fear of Missing Out or Cosmic Party Syndrome…I actually had fun! NYE is usually the worst for these afflictions, whose symptoms include wondering where all the really cool people are, why you weren’t invited and promising yourself that next year you WILL BE. Or else trying to go to everything, only to end up at The Lord Napier in Hackney Wick (or ‘Secret East London Location’ as it was called on somewhat hopeful flyers) after traipsing the rain-swept streets at 4am and generally having a shit time all round.

ImageBut there is a (good) reason why so many of us get into a flap over NYE plans; it’s the one night of the year when everyone you know will be doing something- even if that something is having a quiet one at home with their boyfs. Its still a choice, an option, a potential…hmm should I be doing that? Would that be more fun? Well, probably not (for me that is- for them, quite possibly, since ‘quiet one’ is probably couple code for ‘noisy sex’).
And if you choose one gang of friends to spend the night with, you automatically miss out on seeing the other ones. Or else, you could go to three different parties, which worked for me this year and I was still in bed by 8- pretty respectable.

ImageHowever, my reasonable bedtime has not helped the hangover jitters- which I was rather prematurely bigging myself up for having conquered in the last post. Having mulled over the potential reasons for this plunge back into half-drowsy, half-neurotic jitters and anxiety (the worst of both worlds), I established that there was no real reason to worry; I did absolutely nothing inappropriate, hence nothing to ruminate, cringe or feel bad over.

Except, perhaps my liver – or is it the kidneys?- which hate all forms of bubbly, and white, wine; normally I avoid the stuff like the plague as it makes me ill (the sulphites! yes, definitely). But hey, it’s New Year’s Eve, right? Bring on the endless top-ups! Fortunately my hosts had much more of the nice stuff than the cheap ‘n’ nasty stuff, so it could have been (a lot) worse.
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So I wondered if I should blame my jitters on the difficulty I have in doing downtime and properly chilling out. This difficulty is greatly exacerbated by two things- no TV, and living in my studio/ office. No TV means no crap to zone out to; it also means feeling hopelessly out of touch when completing stupid personality tests (for research, ok?) which require ‘identification’ with one of three characters, none of whom I’ve ever heard of. Actually I should probably be thankful for that.

ImageAs for the live/work situation, it means that even when I’m at home and hung-over, or feeling anxious, or feeling anything in fact, I am always also at my place of work. There’s no escaping it.

Sitting at my desk in my PJs, with a headache, trying to focus on Frozen Planet (especially hard as I’m currently running the internet off my iPhone, which means continuous cutting out – bloody nightmare) while being visually and mentally assaulted by my wall of neon post-it notes saying cheerful stuff like ‘resist psychic death’, its no surprise chillaxing is a challenge. So, I give in and do some work instead- at least it keeps me busy.

Anyway for what it’s worth, and knowing that they usually fail by mid-January- this is my Near Year’s resolution: try to actually relax and stop turning everything into some form of ‘work’.

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Bust head blues

Well, I spoke way too soon about avoiding the scoff your face/ develop instant pot belly! Hey its CHRISTMAS, right?! And I had to self-medicate with extra helpings of well, everything, after being stung by a mysterious- and quite large- insect in my bed, yes, in my bed, at 6 am. Cue half-asleep hysterics, almost throwing up from the adrenalin rush (or maybe that was the beer…) and having to get into mum’s bed as I was too scared to get back in mine. Joy the world, and all that!

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Greek bakery temptations all round

Speaking of self-medicating, I have given myself the gift of sitting on my arse all day and moaning, due to not just massive period pains but also a slight hangover, or ‘bust head’ in old(ish) English parlance. It is after all, Frazzled Friday, according to that bastion of truth and accuracy, the Daily Mail; apparently this means we’ve spent too long with family, compromising what to watch on TV (the study was commissioned by some company trying to plug personalized movie downloads into our bloodstreams or something) and having hernias over not being able to fit into our clothes. I’m with them on that last one. Oh and the ‘no money in the bank for January, FAAAAAK’ bit. Maybe they really are a bastion of truth after all. Though signing up for that film service isn’t exactly going to help the bank balance.
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Anyway the PMS suffering means I have something ‘real’ to moan and feel sorry for myself about, because if its self-inflicted, there goes your sympathy vote. I spent a few hours in A&E once with a raging hangover trying to muscle my way in on some treatment, only to be shunted to the back of the queue while people with football/ DIY injuries (i.e. men) got seen first. Which is pretty unfair since they are also technically self-inflicted, due to stupidity or clumsiness. But, the logic goes, you had fun, you deserve to suffer; now get back to self-flagellating about your unproductive day, the inappropriate behavior you can just about remember and your general, all-round Badness. Or I don’t know, do something worthy like alphabetically organising your bookcase to make up for your transgressions.

Coffee on a hangover

Coffee on a hangover

Or don’t actually; research has shown that hangovers are much worse if you jump on the guilt and anxiety band wagon. Being hungover without feeling bad about it is a great skill and one I try to practice these days; I think of it as an extension of my meditation routine. Every time my mind clings to re-running a cringe-worthy conversation, unhelpful overshare or shouty rant, I try to label it as ‘wanting to feel bad about something’ even though whatever it is usually Not That Big a Deal. (There are exceptions to this of course, where, no matter how you angle the mirror you still end up looking like an idiot, in which case, well, commiserations.)

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Drink now, suffer later

 So why do we find ourselves ruminating and stressing over these minor faux pas, when it clearly doesn’t help? It might be that endlessly worrying about things gives a false, but comforting, sense of control over the situation, like you’re ‘taking action’ in some way. Like, maybe if I worry about it enough, the issue/ hangover will go away! Yeah- worry your problems away! Hmm, doesn’t sound too convincing. In my experience, when I was anxious about everything I had truly horrendous, epic hangovers. Nowadays, apart from the anxiety bit, they hardly register; with the aid of a rehydration sachet (my secret weapon for pretty much any ailment) I even go for jogs. Of course the down side is that I no longer have a good reason to not go out three nights in a row or to rein in the boozing; after all, if there’s no stinking hangover to contend with, what’s the problem?