How are you feeling today? A bit fluey perhaps? A bit down? Or perhaps just totally out of sorts?
If the answer to any (or all) of those questions is “yes” then fear not.
For welcome to the life of the average January-hating Briton who has returned to work, school or college this week after what seemed like a gloriously long break.
Before “back-to-work-Tuesday” many people had probably spent the best part of two weeks waking up (probably later than normal) and immediately asking themselves two key questions: “what day is it?” and “am I at work today?”
For many in the caring professions or in retail the answer to the latter is just as likely to be “yes” as “no” but for millions of other people, the reality that holidays don’t go on forever hit really hard on Tuesday morning when their vile alarm clock sprung back into life. And even those of us who love our job or have, indeed, been in at times over the holidays, will have looked at that alarm with contempt.
So I’m delighted to say that I now have a scientific term to deal with the fact that dragging myself out of bed on Tuesday was as difficult as looking enthusiastic about four-day-old turkey. Apparently those of us who had to go back to work this week and have found it harder than normal are suffering from something called “social jet lag”. This term has been coined to describe the impact on our bodies of having to readjust after spending a couple of weeks going to bed later, getting up later, drinking more, eating more and often wallowing in the pleasure of doing very little.
Social jet lag, which would have hit most people by about 3pm on day one of the big return, apparently can have the effect of leaving people with indigestion, headache, clumsiness, fatigue and irritability. If that sounds like you then rejoice: you’re not a miserable old goat, you’ve just got jet lag. Hoorah!
Of course, not everyone was able to enjoy the “back-to-work-Tuesday- social-jet-lag-phenomenon”. For it seems that nearly two million people on the day never got out of bed at all due to the cold/flu/man flu (see previous blog!!!!!) which has struck so many people this year. For all of them, the social jet lag joy is still to come and just to make them feel even better there is a rumour of more snow. Yes, back-to-work-next-week-types, even if you can finally get out the bed, you might not be able to get out of the drive.
So, in the interests of trying to cheer people up as they face this short but still rather tricky week, I found by literally minutes of research that among the cures for the January blues, back-to-work- Tuesday feelings and social jet lag are to remember that most people feel the same, many have spent too much in the sales, plenty have hidden the scales and nearly all are already wistfully counting the days until their next holiday.
The only thing that did depress me a little from my extensive research into cheering everyone up was a quote from someone who said “the reality is, come February, most people are back in the swing of things”.
February? That seems an awful long way away. It kind of makes you want to go right back to bed.