Opinion | I hate January with a burning passion — here’s why you should too

By Rachel Soloff, Opinions Editor

Picture this — it’s Jan. 1, you roll over in your bed at 2:30 pm with your head pounding after a night of festivities. You reach for your phone and there is a sinking feeling in your stomach as you realize it’s a new year and you’re starting it with the urge to throw up. And it only goes down from there.

I have beef with January. But Rachel, you say, that’s a month! How could you have beef with a month? Let me tell you, dear reader. This January, I got COVID-19 and my grandmother died, truly a double whammy of the highest degree. Not only that, but the weather was horrible, the holiday season ended and Aquariuses celebrated their birthdays. There are truly no redeeming qualities to this trash month.

And I’m not the only one to think this — science agrees with me. Seasonal depression peaks on the third Monday of January, aptly named “Blue Monday,” as the holiday season dwindles and everyone realizes how much money they spent on holiday gifts. With December, we have the holiday season to look forward to as the weather begins to chill, and in February we can see the light at the end of the tunnel as spring begins to approach. But in January, we are trapped with cold weather.

January marks the end of the run of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah. The month begins by taking down all your decorations and having to go back to reality as people tend to go back to work after Jan. 1. While the end of December consists of lounging around and eating, January marks work and school starting back up again, and along with it comes a feeling of dread.

This January alone, it snowed 14 times in Pittsburgh. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I hate snow. Snow is cold, slushy and makes the whole sky look gray. Additionally, after it snows, the piles of dirty snow seem to sit in the street for weeks, making it even harder to walk around. January, on average, is the snowiest month of the year, adding to my deep hatred of the month. Temperatures on average in Pittsburgh tend to be around 37 degrees Fahrenheit in January, which makes it hard to want to leave your house and go see friends. These kinds of temperatures make you want to stay in and hibernate instead of bearing the biting winds and putting on 27 layers to leave the house.

While January may feel like a new beginning to some, this tends to only be for the first week or two. Studies show that most people quit their New Year’s resolutions by Jan. 19. This year, I didn’t even try to set resolutions because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make them last more than a few days. The lack of motivation seems to be from the dreary weather, maybe I wouldn’t hate New Year’s so much if it was in June instead of January — and maybe my resolutions would last longer too. The cold and dreary month is not a good backdrop for new beginnings and trying new things, it’s better to curl up and sleep the day away.

Speaking of New Year’s, it truly is the worst holiday. While only New Year’s Day takes place during January, its influence is so strong I had to add it. Every New Year’s, I scramble to make plans that always end up being lackluster. I’ve never had a “When Harry Met Sally…” level New Year’s celebration. Additionally, these past couple of years to stay safe, I’ve stayed home and watched the ball drop just to go to bed immediately after. That dissatisfied feeling that New Year’s brings is enough to carry over into January and fill it with bad vibes.

This January was even worse than normal — Mercury was in retrograde. Starting the 14th of the month until the 25th, the retrograde affected everything from communication to travel to technology. Not only were we in a typical, terrible January, but we were also in a cosmically bad one this year.

Although January is just as long as any other month, it feels the longest. It stretches on forever it seems and it feels like there is no end in sight — it truly feels like the Monday of the year. One reason for this is the monotony of the weather and having to stay inside so long. January feels like the movie “Groundhog Day,” you wake up, see that it’s gray outside, bundle up and trudge out into the world to go to school or work. At least Bill Murray isn’t trapped in a never-ending day in January in the movie!

January is also the month when you’re most likely to get sick as illnesses such as respiratory infections peak. Also, this year the omicron variant peaked in January meaning more people were getting sick or having to quarantine because of an exposure. This makes people have to stay inside more to prevent others from getting sick — adding to the seasonal blues that come from not seeing anyone. Also, being sick is the worst, if you are already in a terrible mood and then you catch a cold, it makes it feel much worse.

Now that it’s finally February and we have Valentine’s Day and the warmer months are fast approaching, it’s easy to see just how horrible January was. That cold, sad and long month is far behind us and we are finally safe from it — until next year.

Rachel Soloff writes primarily about the entertainment industry and how lame antisemites are. Write to her at [email protected].