Fighting The January Blahs

December 28, 2016 Carol 2 comments

If you are anything like me, you are already facing the “January Blahs,” and it’s not even January yet! I’m a New Englander who should be a “snowbird,” but alas, that’s just not possible, at least not this year. I love being outdoors, but I hate the cold. The early darkness makes me want to end my day early. The bare trees and general lack of vegetation depress me. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

So I’m writing this post as much for myself as for you! Let’s see what I can come up with that might help ward off the January blahs.

Baker’s Dozen Strategies For Fighting The January Blahs

1. When you wake up in the morning, do not jump right out of bed. (You weren’t going to anyway, were you?) Relax; breathe deeply, then call to mind some of the people and things you are grateful for.

2. Grab all the sunshine you can. I am fortunate to have a sort of bump-out sunspace area in my living room. It’s on the southeast side of the house, so the morning sun is great. I often sit there for breakfast. Wherever you are throughout the day, seek out the sunny spots.

3. Have you tried full spectrum lighting? I’ve installed Verilux full spectrum lighting in several places throughout my home. They definitely make me feel better.  See this web page for an index of articles on the benefits of full spectrum lighting: Science of Light.

4. Try to do something special for someone else each and every day. See Mindfulness Plus Compassion Equals Happiness.

5. Stating the obvious, do things that you enjoy doing! This may mean that you need to force yourself a bit. A cold gray day is still a day, and every day is a gift. My favorite winter activities include blogging, playing the piano, cooking, and watching movies and British TV on Netflix.

6. Cabin fever can be devastating. Get out of the house! If you enjoy winter sports, then lucky you! As for me, I like to take day trips (must include a good lunch at a good restaurant). I love going to a tea room with a good friend; it’s warming and relaxing. I’m a movie fan and enjoy the movie theater experience.  Art museums, concerts, and theater are all good options for me; I need to make an effort to enjoy them more often. The photo below shows the courtyard at the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA.

7. Even on “stay at home” days, get outside for a breath of fresh air. Since I have two dogs, I’m forced to take them out several times a day. I often complain about this, but undoubtedly it’s good for me.

8. Take care of your health. Eat a good diet and exercise regularly. 

9. Experience plants and flowers as much as possible. Bring them into your home. (I love the bulb plants, such as paperwhites and hyacinths.) Visit greenhouses and indoor gardens.

10. Treat yourself to a scented bubble bath! Ease tired muscles, warm your bones, and feel yourself relax!

11. Read. Reading can transport you to worlds of your own choosing, far, far away from the snow and the cold.

12. Plan a Spring garden. This gives you hope that Spring will indeed come (as it does every year, thank goodness!). It’s also an opportunity to look at pictures of beautiful gardens.

13, Last but not least, it’s okay to sleep in once in a while. Hibernation works for other animals, so why not for us?

Your Turn

Are you prone to the January blahs? Now is the perfect time to make your own list of strategies to fight the winter doldrums. Please share your ideas with us.

A Note On Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter. It can be serious, so if you think you may be at risk, consult your doctor. For further information, see this page on the Mayo Clinic’s website for further information:  Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

2 Comments on “Fighting The January Blahs

  1. Hi Carol, I too should be a snowbird but life hasn’t cooperated. 🙂 These tips are exactly the types of things I try to avoid the winter blues hitting too hard. Today it’s in the 40s and even though it’s drab and raining I headed out and was energized by the fresh air. Not sure how the rest of winter will unfold but hoping I have enough to keep me busy till spring arrives.

    1. Dear Lois, So glad to have you visit and comment. If I know you at all (and I feel that I do from reading your wonderful blog posts), you will find lots of ways to fill your time. Wishing you well always, Carol

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