Thursday, January 20, 2011

Beating the January Doldrums

(We found this gem of a scene at Southern Maine Community College. It made my day! :) )

As I said before in another post, I do appreciate the beauty of winter as well as the rest of activities being cancelled due to inclement weather. I love having my whole family home. But I am not totally immune to the doldrums! In fact, yesterday I felt fully lethargic and had a hard time getting through the things that needed to get done (like schooling, just as an example). I am determined not to let the doldrums take control though, so I decided to come up with a list of possibilities to help not only survive but thrive. I offer them here in hopes that my friendly readers will add to my list!! :)

~Learn a New Skill.~ Winter is a great time to learn a new skill because you've got plenty of time to work on it. Some I thought of are: knitting, crocheting, quilting, gourmet cooking, sketching, painting, stenciling, furniture refinishing, rug braiding, jewelry making, cross stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, basket weaving. There are classes given at craft stores and high schools (adult ed). Or, you could learn from library books or online. A surprising amount of instruction can be found right on YouTube. Or even, better, you could ask around at church and find someone who would love to pass on their skills. You might even find people itching to get rid of supplies.

~Host a Winter Tea~ Start with someone friends and then expand your horizon by asking neighbors or church members you have yet to get to know. Get together for tea and a nice "get to know you" time or focus it. You could get together to sew or knit or work on those other new skills.

~Host a Bible Study or Book Club~ There's nothing like studying the Bible together. You don't have to know everything there is to know about the Bible either. Just let everyone know that you are the facilitator and that everyone is to come ready to learn together. Ask your pastor or head of women's ministries for some good book titles to get you started. Or pick some quality Christian book or literature and invite others to join you, reading through the books and meeting regularly to discuss them.

~Serve Others~ I don't there is a more effective way to pull out of the blues than to serve others. Make a meal for someone who is struggling with sickness or trials or who is just plain lonely (i.e. the single mom, the widow, the elderly). Write cheery encouragements and cards and send them through the mail. Get involved with the ministries at your church, help at a soup kitchen or food pantry. Your pastor or church leaders can be a great resource here. He might be able to plug you in or know of those in your church who need a visit.

~Have a Party~ Whether you invite others or stick to your family, a party is a great way to shake things up. Pick a theme, get the kids involved in making decorations, plan some fun games or crafts, turn up the music and have some fun. :)

~Plan Romantic Dates with Your Husband~ You don't have to have a lot of money to plan special times with your husband. Sometimes it just takes pushing yourself out of a lazy rut (speaking to myself here). Make him a special late supper, pick up a special movie, plan a game night, take a nice walk, go to a coffee shop and just chat, do some window shopping. Just take time to purposely reconnect and spend one on one time. If your kids are young, one early-ish bedtime per week is all you need. Or if they are older, you can sneak off and just hang out together! When Robin and I were first married and living in an apartment we used to have fun playing Scrabble at the laundramat!

~Plan Some Fun for the Whole Family~ Go out sledding or ice skating or if you can, skiing. If you don't like to do those things, bundle up and be the photographer! Perhaps go as a family to the library, check out what is free for concerts and such in your area. Really it's more about intentional planning and spending time together than it is really about *what* you do.

~Plan Your Garden~ Get some books out of the library, do some internet research and find out what can be grown in your area. Peruse seed catalogs, make drawings, put together a plan. Whether your landscaping your yard, planning an herb or veggie garden or adding flowers, make all your plans now and spend some snowing days dreaming of what you can do when warm weather hits. By spring you'll be ready to go!

Winter can be a tough time for everyone. I always tell my kids that "boredom is the mother of creativity." With a little creativity and a lot of determination this can be the best winter yet! :)


  1. I appreciate what you said so very much. I like winter but in this new season of my life I needed to be reminded there are things I can do to make life more fulfilling. Thanks so much!

  2. Donna, I am so glad I was able to encourage you! :) Thanks so much for letting me know! :) Blessings, Karen :)

  3. I love the idea of hosting friends for tea : ) Maybe I'll plan a good ole fashioned sewing circle and tea for Feb . . .



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