I have a case of the Januaries

I have a case of the Januaries. It’s true. I was hopeful this year I would not get it, but I did.

Those of you who live in the north know what I’m talking about, it comes from a  lack of sunlight, gray overcast days, cold, windy, icy conditions.
So, I have come down with a case of the Januaries. I can tell you my symptoms, they are easy to spot. My mood is low, my patience is short, I feel tired all the time and my creativity is zapped! I’m short with my loved ones, I lack motivation and I long for summer! Yep, it’s the Januaries alright…

The other frustrating thing about having the Januaries is that the only person that can solve them for myself, is ME. Each year heading into winter and the post-holiday season I know that January in Minnesota, and many other places, can be mentally difficult. Many of the things that naturally lift my mood are harder to engage in during winter months. So, I have to find another prescription, One that works with the season I am in.

When my go to mood lifters are not available how do I dig a little deeper  to cure myself? What other resources do I have that might possibly help me through the Januaries?

It is this situation that causes me to do things such as exercise, take Vitamin D, and sit under a light box. These are great ways to help lessen the effect the Januaries can have on me. But as I push myself even further, I am struck by the thought that the Januaries are really just a feeling of being stuck. Stuck indoors, stuck in traffic, stuck in short days and long nights, just plain stuck. The next break seems too far away.

So today, in an effort to be cured, I am going to pick one area where I am able to make movement. I cannot make the sun come out or the snow go away, but I can make movements in my own self. I can push myself to create something new like a friendship, a goal, a hobby. I can push myself to invest in someone else rather than get lost in my own stuff. I can push myself to not let the Januaries grow. Movement is an energy that grows. Movement, even small, creates momentum. Momentum creates more movement. This will eventually lead to hope, which is really what the Januaries are all about – losing sight of hope. Once I find a glimmer of hope, even if that hope is that soon it will be February, the Januaries begin to fade away…

Do you have a case of the Januaries? What symptoms are you experiencing? Do you feel stuck? Where is one area of your life you could create movement, which leads to hope?

Other do-able suggestions for coping with the Januaries:

  1. Exercise. You’ll be amazed how how good even a simple walk around a mall can make you feel. Even better if you do it with a friend. 
  2. Take Vitamin D which can help regulate your mood. 
  3. Invest in a light box or “happy lamp”.

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