10 Ways to Beat the January Doldrums

1. Remember Spring is coming. It always does. God keeps His promises. Believe Him and think springful thoughts.

2. God is patient. He does things slowly. Winter (usually) comes on slowly and it (usually) leaves slowly. Be patient like He is.

3. Be busy! This is why so many magazines feature cleaning, organizing, and purging tips. You can’t work in your garden, so clean out the linen closet or re-paint your laundry room. I’m painting mine blue.

4. Try some new recipes. Experiment with some new ingredients, and go for the colorful.

5. Put a bright spring runner (or tablecloth) on the table. Stick some tulips in a bright red pitcher. Don’t be afraid to use fake ones.

6. Have some friends over for lunch. Light a fire.

7. Pick up some daffodils at the grocery store. Get the ones with the tightest buds and you can watch them open. But don’t put them in the same vase as the tulips….it will kill the tulips. Unless they are fake tulips.

8. Take a nice hot soak and throw in some lavender epsom salts. Or just soak your feet. That works too. And while they are soaking, read through that stack of Christmas newsletters.

9. Find a new ironing board cover at one of the January white sales.Then you can iron those shirts or toss them in the Goodwill pile. You choose.

10. Bundle up and go for a walk with a friend. On icy walks. Wear boots. And scarves. And mittens. Stay warm.

Now I want to hear your ideas!

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39 thoughts on “10 Ways to Beat the January Doldrums

  1. 1. Make yourself and someone else some Cuban coffee. Drink it slowly while playing Chinese Patience, Don’t You Forget It, Phase 10, or some other delightful game.

    2. Write letters to lonely old people. This is a hard one, especially if you’re not much of an epistolary person, but they love it.

    3. Have a tea party! A big bash, with lots of goodies, or just a couple of friends, and you can still have lots of goodies!

    4. Start exercising regularly. It may sound daunting, but I find that I am more cheerful and have more energy after I’ve exercised, even if I have to get up early to do it.

    5. Learn a new craft – preferably with children involved. This one should end with a mess to clean up and a huge splash of color on your fridge or your desk.

    6. Write a book for a baby or little child. Illustrate it, too; even if you’re not talented at this, it’ll be something for them to treasure.

    7. Drag out your boxes of pictures from 13 years ago and put them in photo albums where they can be enjoyed.

    8. Browse Etsy and buy something awesome like this: http://www.etsy.com/listing/64511585/keep-calm-and-carry-yarn-project-bag?ref=v1_other_1 Or be like me and just drool.

    9. Go to a store where they sell all sorts of calendars (different shapes, different styles) and get one to go with the decor of each room.

    10. Make all the Christmas goodies that you forgot to (or had no time to) make before.

    I should practice what I preach. πŸ™‚

  2. I went to Kauai for a week to celebrate our 20th. I highly recommend it…or any other warm location you might have the opportunity to visit. πŸ™‚

  3. Winter here in NZ is a perfect time to go skiing (team it up with a long soak in the hotpools ahhh bliss!)

  4. I recommend throwing an open house party. Being busy making finger foods for many friends will keep you happy and your house warm from all that kitchen work. It will liven your friends’ lives and yours in a time that not many people think to throw a party!

  5. You know, Nancy? We live in Mexico City where we use the same clothes year ’round; in winter we just add some heavy sweaters to our outfit but other than that, we can wear sandals some other days… But I wish we could live the seasons like those up north or down south do; why? because I think seasons are great reminders on how our lives have cycles, and we need to learn to see God’s hand in each season,in each cycle of our life.

    So, I guess I ‘ll say, enjoy your winter!

    Blessings from 19Β°25′ Latitude and N 99Β°08’ W Longitude πŸ™‚

  6. What a great post – Thanks Nancy!

    On the docket for today…

    -Make Cupcakes with sprinkles just because. My family always asks for sprinkles when given the choice – adding sprinkles is just a good life philosophy.

    -Pick up some old wooden pieces, stands, Trays, or small bookshelves and give hand painting them a whirl. (I found out by accident, that if you spray paint in almost freezing, moist weather you’ll end up with an antique’d look to your paint- the paint will film white – just rub with a rough cloth and wha La! – and I am not, not artistic – easy peasy!!)

  7. – Freshen up your favorite room with paint, rearranging, or a some swapped out pillows

    – Master one new cooking technique (i.e, emulsified sauces, croissants, knife wielding…)

    – Make a reading schedule (That’s dumb. I know. But I do it every January and I love.)

  8. Learn a new winter sport. Ski, cross-country or downhill, skate, snowshoe.
    Having mastered a new way to enjoy the snow will almost make you sad to see winter go.

    I am, by the way, a Georgia girl who has moved to Canada by way of Southern California. Learning to love winter did not come easily for me.

  9. I just wrote about this earlier this week and posted my thoughts here: http://barbarah.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/help-for-the-winter-blues/

    You had many of the same ideas I did: here are a few more: remember the benefits of winter: relief from heat, humidity, bugs, the ability to have fire in a fireplace and cook oven meals (I rarely turn my oven on in summer so winter provides a whole host of menu options.)

    Other ideas: set up a birdfeeder outside, start on a project you’ve been meaning to get to, volunteer at a library, school, nursing home, hospital, crisis pregnancy center.

  10. Along with Hannah, my suggestion is to learn a new handicraft. In the past couple of years I’ve taken up embroidery, knitting, and crocheting. I’m not particularly good at any of them (and had some particularly laughable knitting attempts), but it’s still fun.

    If you like to crochet (or would like to learn), I recommend adding Attic24 to your blog-reading line-up, if nothing else, for the sheer joy with which Lucy (the blogger) approaches crocheting. And everything else, for that matter. Here’s the link:

  11. My mil says I can kill even fake tulips! (she’s very sweet and is just teasing me, but I’m afraid it’s true!) lol

  12. Map out your garden. Put some new pictures in the pictures frames. Hang a picture on the wall. Buy a pack of new, fun socks. Or just new socks. I just love new socks. Sew some curtains. Enjoy staying in and playing games, my hubby and I are getting into Cribbage, bananagrams, Dutch Blitz. I love the oppurtunity in the winter months to just snuggle and feel warm and talk, summer is super busy for him. Take soup and share it with a friend. Babysit a friends kids and let her get out for the day/morning/afternoon/evening and have fun giggling with them. Biuld towers out of wooden blocks and play hide and seek.

  13. I’ve repainted 2 rooms so far, decluttered all of the closets again, and I’ve left up some twinkle lights for sparkle in our dining room. The boys also have their own paperwhite plants that they are enjoying watching grow, and the amarylis that were too slow for Christmas are cheering up my January just fine.

  14. Reorganize your pantry – I found forgotten homemade huckleberry jam in mine! Not only do I love how easily I can find my items, but I also feel peaceful instead of harried when I open the door.

  15. My family has 5 birthdays in January, so we have almost no chance to sag into the blues and stop celebrating. Cake and presents and balloons keep things cheery.

    But even without a birthday, you can have a winter party, especially if you live in a snowy climate. Invite everyone you know and have them bring warm clothes, sleds and games; you just make the chili and hot chocolate.

    Starting a project is a great idea. Picking out colors and fabrics and making a baby blanket for a summer due-date is so happy in the middle of winter!

  16. Put on Celtic music and dance. Preferably with a stuffed animal.

    Does anyone have any more suggestions for those of us who live in dorm rooms and have very little spare time and money?

  17. Enjoy hot chocolate weather – hot chocolate with black rum, with kalua, with Bailey’s, with peppermint schnapps… You get the idea.

  18. Here is what I’m doing to keep the January doldrums at bay:
    1.) painting my bedroom a lovely shade of blue and replacing our 15 year old linens with the ones I’ve always dreamed off.
    2.) Washing, folding, and finding a place for baby boy and girl clothes (due March 1!).
    3.) Baking with my big girl during the toddler’s morning nap and then delivering the goodies to unsuspecting friends.
    4.)Stocking up our freezer with yummy, creamy, comfort food for the weeks after baby comes.

  19. #2 and #8 completely cracked me up.

    #2 because, well, God made the entire UNIVERSE in six days!

    and #8 because, well, only YOU would have a STACK of Christmas newsletters!


    Since I am a photographer wannabe, what I usually do about this time is start challenging myself to expand my photograph horizons. I give myself challenges and see what I can do with them. It is really fun. Every Friday I share my favorite on my blog.

    And now is about the time I do my sewing and crocheting-because once warm weather comes it is hard to find a moment to SHOWER, let alone craft.

  20. Thanks for this post! The moment I finished reading it, I went to my garage grabed a bunch of odds and ends in paint, mixed a very pretty blue and started painting my powder room. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but was saving for Spring…I must say it’s rather nice to get it done now! Cheers!

  21. How about starting on those Easter dresses for the girls and make matching ties for the boys? Throw the scraps to the kids for fabric collages. Then break out the chili peppers and cook something Mexican for dinner, while the children have a dance party to music that makes the walls pulse.

  22. I made a photo album on Snapfish.com (which just arrived about 20 minutes ago) I am making a cup of peppermint tea and going to reflect on what a wonderful 2010 our family had while flipping through my new album!

  23. Austin has been cold (hooray!), but no snow. Sooo, we made snow with a little science kit yesterday and this morning the kids had a mini-snowball fight. πŸ™‚

    January is more about fighting cedar allergies than fighting gray weather blues, so we’re all about hot tea and an easy going pace. BTW, I hadn’t seen Lavender Epsom Salt until about a week before this post. The grocery store just recently put them on display, so I bought a bag! πŸ™‚

  24. While you’re cleaning out and re-organizing, sell a few excess things on Craigslist to add some $ to your Starbucks fund!

  25. Big bouquet of orange tulips in my favorite red pitcher. Check check. Table runner that I had completely forgotten how much I love. Check. Thanks for the reminder to not get stuck in a rut at this time of year! πŸ™‚ Oh, and I didn’t know that little fact about the tulips and the daffodils! That would explain my Valentine’s bouquet from last year.

  26. In Tolkein’s The Smith of Wooton Major, the central event is a mid-winter party, The Feast of Good Children. My three are tiny, but I’m envisioning this party for our near future…I’m thinking some time early February, or late (Minnesota winters can last until May)…a bright, towering cake with trinkets baked in, fairytales, a sugar-party for fun friends for no good reason…it sounds like a tradition waiting to happen.

    For now, my tots love to dive into the mountain of blankets I leave in the corner of our living room, just for them. We have ships, we have tents, we have have turtle homes, we have bonfires…all I have to do to clear my head is dive in with them!

  27. One of my FAVORITE things about January is all the fabulous clearance sales!!! Finding Birthday and Christmas gifts for most of the nieces and nephews, the hubby, and a few other family members at 75% off or more – sooo fun! Nothing like filling up your shopping cart with bright, fun new gifts, envisioning their joyful faces when they open them…months from now. The only tough part is waiting to give them all their gifts! πŸ™‚ And watching my 1 year old try to play with all her cousins future gifts – also makes for a bright January. πŸ™‚

  28. I read Loving the Little Years in two evenings this January. I have never laughed so much while reading such convicting material. A wonderful blend of wisdom and gracious, humble humor! This was MEAT. Can’t wait to pass it on!

  29. Thanks you so much for these tips! It was just what I needed…

    My tip: tell a friend you’re suffering from the winter blues, she might send you a very nice card with lovely earrings that make you think of her every time you wear them. Or do something like that for someone you think suffers from the doldrums.

  30. Nancy, first a question, then a doldrums answer.
    I heard you on one of your tapes talking about the all-white dinnerware you own. I’m going white, as well, and wanting to get something nice but replaceable when dishes break, as they do with 5 boys and lots of guests. What are you favorite white dishes, if you don’t mind sharing? I’m guessing something like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn. Am I close?

    As far as the doldrums…I love to declutter. The tranquility I get from clear countertops, empty cabinets, orderly closets, clear floors, etc… is amazing. I’m striving to have in my home only what I use or cherish. The rest just takes up space and requires maintenance and cleaning. I want my home to be for living, not for a storage unit. I also find that the less I have, the cleaner the house stays, which makes me more likely to invite guests into our home.

  31. Lisa,
    You guessed it! I have ordered plates from Crate and Barrel over the years. They do hold up well, and if I have a large group, white is safe. I have some other fun patterned plates that I use to liven things up. But my china cabinet is nothing compared to my friends in the South. I can’t compete with their nine or a dozen (or more) sets of china. But they certainly are an inspiration!

  32. A southern friend of mine is collecting sets of dishes for each of her children when the time comes for them to leave and set up their own homes. In the meantime, she gets to use them all!

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