It was only a month ago that we had our ugly Christmas sweaters on, drinking eggnog, and feeling very merry!
Then came January.
I’ve always felt bad for January having to follow in the footsteps of Merry December. The month starts with a cheerful, festive bang and then peters out like a squealing balloon quickly deflating as it makes a mad rush around the room. By the middle of the month one can expect to start experiencing what is known as the January Blues.
The bills arrive from all the gifts, holiday dinners, and other extra things we spent money on around the holidays. For most of us, the weather predictably follows its wintery tradition mixing dreary skies, cold days and colder nights.
I reluctantly reach past my stylish Stuart Weitzman knee high boots to grab my reliably warm and sensible Uggs instead. My face is paler, my skin is drier, and my mood is gloomier than the weather.
I need something to make this all bearable. I need something to lift my spirits and bring me to a happier place. I immediately start to feel the urge to shop. Despite all the post holiday, Martin Luther King and upcoming President’s day sales, I know that I do not need to shop. The urge I am feeling is just the desire to rid myself of the yucky, blecky, January gloom.
Instead of shopping, I decided to create (and follow) my list of 5 strategies to deal with these winter doldrums without shopping!
1. Watch a funny movie or TV show that makes you feel good.
When I was young (long before I became a shopaholic), whenever I felt “down in the dumps” I would watch reruns of The Odd Couple and The Honeymooners. I couldn’t help but chuckle, and laughter is a simple remedy for the blues. Find a show that gives you hope, a smile, a giggle…a simple reminder that better days will come.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Hallmark channel movies. They may be a bit corny at times, but there is always kindness, love and a happy ending. It’s even more fun if you sip a mug of hot chocolate while you’re watching!
2. Go Outside.
My acupuncturist is adamant about reminding me that I should spend time outdoors even in the winter. Unless it is raining or the temperatures are dangerously low, bundle up and take a short walk. Your body will warm as you move and you will soak up the sun (yes there is still sun even if its hiding behind grey clouds). Also, breathing in the fresh air will make you feel more alive. Take deep breaths and let them fill your whole body.
As you are walking you can listen to music or simply look around and fully absorb the winter life surrounding you. I search to see which birds have decided to hang around for the winter and wonder how feathers can be so warm.
Time spent outside will connect you with the world and also give you a much needed healthy dose of Vitamin D which can not compare to any supplement you may be taking. It’s been shown that low levels of vitamin D can cause depression, so get outside and grab your free and easy mood booster!
3. Interact with Others.
People need people. Barbara Streisand sang an entire song about this. Make plans to have lunch, dinner or simply coffee with a friend. Host a game night or even a potluck dinner.
We are not meant to hibernate in the winter. There are several benefits to upping your winter social game. First, being around others, sharing stories and a meal helps lift the mood. Also, planning for a dinner party will keep you busy, and having social plans provides something to look forward to!
You don’t have to go out and join a gym, but try to incorporate at least some type of exercise into your day. Do what you can. Even adding a few minutes of stretching in the morning will improve the way you feel. The key here is to start simply…don’t overdo it.
I like to watch mindless tv shows while I am on my treadmill. I will only watch these shows while exercising so it’s motivation to get me moving!
You certainly don’t need any equipment to exercise. There are many online videos you can find to instruct you on short exercise segments. Try this website as a place to start your search for an in-home workout routine:
5. Acknowledge and Accept your Feelings.
Sometimes you just need to remember that “this too shall pass”. It’s normal to feel a bit down this time of year and you will get through it. Remind yourself that you are not alone and that the January Blues is a very real and common emotion. Just acknowledging and accepting these facts can help us to persevere.
There are 53 more days until Spring starts! Countdown here: https://countdown.onlineclock.net/countdowns/spring/)
Be aware that any urge you currently have to shop could very well be your desire to find some happiness in an otherwise dull and dreary January.
Once you recognize this you can fill the “winter blues” void with other activities that will bring longer lasting joy and contentment. Any happiness that shopping provides is short-lived and will undoubtably deliver further negative feelings of guilt, money woes, and even clutter….all stresses that will only elevate any blues you are already experiencing.
There are plenty alternative, resourceful, productive ideas to occupy our time rather than shopping away the blues….we got this!
Do you have any other ideas to manage the blues? Please share them in the comments here or on my Facebook page!