Surviving Winter: January Blues

It’s January and February that are the longest, darkest, and coldest here in Canada. Whereas the cold doesn’t seem to matter very much in November, because you’re rushing towards December and the holidays, January and February aren’t like that. What’s there to rush towards? The whole enormity of a new year? So much to do, so many plans, and so much time to do it in?

Survival in our modern, luxurious times isn’t really a challenge … except if you count the surviving the dark-days of winter with your sanity intact. So, here my ten fairly facetious tips to survive the dark days of January.

  1. Get outside. Yes, I know it’s cold out there. I know there’s snow. But staying trapped in the house will drive you nuts. Seriously. You don’t have the “proper” boots, sweater, [fill in blank]? So what. Start layering with the clothes you have. And no, I’m not suggesting you run outside in the midst of a blizzard, but get some fresh air, let the chill and frost give your mind clarity, and remind you to live in the present, where your nose is cold and your fingertips chilly.
  2. Discover a new hobby and learn something. Keep your brain active, and keep learning. Pick up a new hobby. Take out books from the library, or look it up online. You can do it, and besides, what else do you have to do?
  3. Spend time with your loved ones not watching TV. Play a game, have a discussion or debate, just spend time making sure you still know them.
  4. Curl up with a book or two. I suggest one or more since who knows if the first one will grab you – so get a few. Get caught up in another place, another life for a little while, and put some distance between you and the snow.
  5. Plan for Spring. Look online, order seed catalogs, try to imagine what your garden will look like without a foot of snow burying it. What you’re really doing is giving yourself something to look forward to. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel it, but spring really isn’t THAT far away.
  6. Connect with others. Don’t be alone. Go out for dinner with friends. Curl up with loved ones. Or even call someone on the phone. We’re all in this together.
  7. Turn on the lights and the music, and dance. Get moving. Feel happy. Escape the cold and the darkness and remind yourself that the sun will return.
  8. Go on vacation somewhere sunny. (Yeah, I can only wish for this one too …)
  9. Color. Or participate in some other child-like activity. It will seem strange. You’ll think of 100 other things you should / want / could be doing, and yet the simplicity of it is oddly relaxing.
  10. Smile every so often while you count your blessings. So frequently we’re too busy, too wrapped up with other things to remember to slow down and be grateful for what we have. Well, it’s quiet, it’s still … so be the same for a moment, and let gratitude wash over you.

Have a good one. And don’t worry, January’s almost over, and April isn’t that far off. 🙂



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