How to Beat the January Blues

Down & out?  Feeling tired & fat?  Frumpy & dumpy?  What is it about January?  When the snow piles up, the temperature plunges and the sun goes into hibernation, the mood starts to plummet.

The holiday hype has died down, Bowl games  are over, the Packers stunk up the play offs, we ate one too many cookies or tipped back one too many hot toddies and now it is back to reality with nothing to look forward to.

Above the clouds in the Alps

Above the clouds in the Alps

To brighten my spirits in the spring, all I need to do is fling open windows to feel inspired by the Swiss Alps and French Jura, but in winter those same mountain tops lock in fine particles and pollutants in a fog so thick I can’t see my hand if front of my face. The locals recommend heading to the peaks to beat the blues…rise above the smog where the air is clean and clear, but not everybody lives near a mountain, nor has agility to ski or the money to afford the sport.

Check out my inexpensive quick pick-me-ups to brighten your bleak winter days especially if you live Up North on an empty pocketbook with a bad case of lumbago!


1. Read a good book.

2. Watch an old sit-com, back in the day when the special effects were so poor, the lines had to be great

3. Surprise a friend you haven’t talked to for years with a phone call

4. Write an old fashioned letter, you know, by hand with pen and paper.

5. Take a bubble bath by candle light

6. Listen to smooth jazz

7. Teach a child to do something new and watch their eyes light up

8. Lie on a yoga mat with your legs at a right angle against the wall and arms reaching overhead, then breath deeply in a full body stretch

9. Open a good bottle of wine and savor one glass

10. Turn off the computer, TV, iPhone, iPod, iPad.  Stop text messaging, facebooking, linking –in, emailing and Tweeting on line and connect in person (ie. hug someone you love, speak face to face!)

How do you kick back the January blues ?

Posted in inspiration, travel.


  1. Great ideas, Pat, but you missed my favorite. I head South for a few days in either January or February. 🙂

    • Oh yes, how could I forget Northerns sure cure…head south. Europeans do the same thing. In winter my Norwegian relatives, just a stone’s throw from the North Pole (kidding) fly to the Canary Islands just to see the sun!

  2. I’m still trying to accept the idea that the Swiss Alps could be hidden in a blanket of smoggy ice crystals. As a gal who’s never lived anywhere but Southern California, I guess I always pictured you living up around Heidi and her grandfather. But here’s another idea: go back to the computer and organize your photos! Esp. the ones of sunny vacations.

    • Great idea except as you remember from a precious post I inherited a defective tidy up gene, and I have yet to finish organizing the kitchen drawer! ha ha

  3. I disagree with #9 and #10. I would recommend opening a bottle of wine but however not stick to the one glass. Secondly, banning all online means of communication plunges your online contacts in a winter depression too!
    Generally I just ignore the weather from November to March.

    • Point well taken Laurent. I never thought of how online communication fends off depression for so many people, especially those limited in ability to get out in the winter. I would never last 24hrs without internet connections anyway.

  4. Somewhere I have a quote I like “It takes a great deal of effort to keep January from the soul.” Your January is so beautiful! Ours is usually gray, with snow that quickly be comes dirty and icy or slushy or both at once. I have tried most of those remedies you suggest. But when can I find time for that good book when all the 2011 income tax forms are coming in, bills are demanding checks and envelopes, a crochety husband needs feeding to soothe him, (when do I get to retire from the kitchen?)I need to do my therapy exercises? eetc. etc. Wine sounds great, but no alcohol any more. January gets stronger as one ages.
    My advice: stay young.

    • Yes, how true! It takes greater effort to keep January from the soul, especially the older we grow. Isn’t it interesting how women never truly retire because as caretakers even when the day job is done, we continue to give even when “off duty.”

  5. I agree to head south – Caribbean cruises provide a wonderful opportunity for beating those winter blahs. Also…get outside anyway! Just bundle up and prepare for what’s going to face you when you open that front door.

    • Yes head South appears to be the best solution…I’ll start saving my frequent flyer miles. You sound just like the rest of the Carlsons, bundle up, open the door and head out into the adventure!

  6. All of these January mood busters sound great-done a few of them as well. It’s the week after my birthday that I try to remain cheery & upbeat and WARM. Can’t help being a January miracle!:)

    Peace & blessings,

  7. I go to my exercise class, it’s so hot I wear shorts and sweat like crazy. And I take a lot of Vitamin D!! Plus I really like to knit and I have a lot of yarn!

  8. Pat, These are all great reminders. I especially like #10~ unplug!Having grown up in the snowbelt Northeast,I’ve grown accustomed to the winters as a “nesting time”,sitting in front of the woodstove,wrapped in an afghan and reading while sipping hot herbal tea. But I agree a good whiff of some cold,crisp air and a walk in the snow can be invigorating. And being a writer,I find I have to force myself to exercise daily. Too much sitting is not healthy!

    • Yup Kath, nothing like a juicy piece of gum to get the creative juices flowing. Ideas spring up everywhere; the problem is pinning them down before they get away from me!

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