Beating the January Doldrums

It’s hard to stay upbeat during the dark cold days of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Up here in Canada, it can be especially harsh as the frigid winter days drag on and we know there will be no relief until the end of April. 

It’s difficult not to get a bit depressed and succumb to bad habits of being a couch potato watching lame chick flicks, drinking too much coffee, baking and eating too much comfort food. Not that I do that of course! *looks away and whistles*

This is a month we have to work extra hard to keep our mood positive and optimistic and not succumb to those dreaded January doldrums. The excitement, lights and colour of Christmas have passed and January seems very bland in comparison. 

Even the novelty of the new year starting with all its possibilities starts to wear a bit thin if you feel you’re not keeping up on all your goals and resolutions.

I imagine in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere it can be dull and grey with lots of rain which can be more depressing than the snow at times.

How can we make January a more fun and upbeat month when we’d just like to hibernate until spring?

A few of my strategies are:

Get outside for some exercise to appreciate winter's beauty and soak up some sunlight (when there is some that is). It could be something as simple as taking a walk or taking photos. Winter can be beautiful as you can see by this photo I took of my dog Loup yesterday. Winter is definitely his season and is when he looks his best. He loves winter and is such a snow dog!

Then there is this other photo I took yesterday of my favourite bird, the cardinal who visits the feeder occasionally. 

Whenever Mr. C appears, I’m convinced it’s a lucky sign. His beautiful red plumage brightens up the dullest winter day.

Winter can be funny, too, as this squirrel has figured out how to get on the wire that the hubs put up, thinking for sure he had solved the squirrel problem. Nothing defeats a squirrel. You have to admire their perseverance even if they are pesky creatures who like to empty the feeders and make a big mess.

If you’re more adventurous, how about skiing, skating or snowshoeing? I'm not that sporty but do enjoy skating on the Rideau Canal or cross country skiing in the woods.

Get out and interact with people. The computer is great but actual face-to-face interaction with people is also important to ensure you don’t get cabin fever and feel too isolated. I have signed up for some in-person courses to push me out of my computer chair and out of my comfort zone.

Having things to look forward to is important. Meet a friend for coffee. Plan a trip somewhere if you can afford it. Even a day trip somewhere new can be fun. Go to a movie or a live show. Go to an art gallery or museum. Sign up for a course and learn something new or try a new sport. 

Read a book. Lots of people are doing book challenges like my fellow bloggers, Shilpa Garg Shilpa's blog and Corinne Rodrigues Corinne's blog. I don’t know if I’m as ambitious as them to read all those books but I do like the idea of reading different kinds of books and broadening my interests. And with access to our wonderful online library where we can order whatever book we want, there is no excuse not to read more books.

Clear out some clutter and donate some of your unwanted stuff. You'll feel good for making more space and for donating. A win-win situation. Of course this is one I'm always working on as the clutter seems to grow and grow just like the dust bunnies. I just get rid of some of stuff, and a new load takes its place.

Go volunteer and help the community. You’ll both feel good about it. I play flute with my harpist friend and sing Alto 2 in a choir. My favourite part about doing my music is sharing it with others. I love it when we do concerts in the community, especially for the seniors who are always so appreciative.

Winter doesn’t have to be a prison sentence and should be embraced and celebrated. It’s here for a long time so we might as well just accept and try to enjoy it.

How do you fight the January doldrums or do you manage to stay upbeat, despite it all?


  1. I needed this post today, Cat - thank you. The January blues are definitely starting to sink in, and I need to find ways to combat them and make it through until Spring. But first, a nap. :)

  2. Cathy, I am ashamed of myself as I confess that I feel dull and lazy in winters here, in Mumbai, India! It is hardly 'cold', as compared to Canada, of course. But, even in this little bit of winter, all I feel like doing is, curl up in bed, under a thick blanket and read books all day long! :-)

  3. I made a vow to get out more with my camera this winter and so far so good. January is the longest month so always good to plan a little vacation during that time.

  4. I love winters...They make me happy and I always plan most of the things during this time...specially reading loads of books!

  5. Thanks for the much-needed lift, Cathy! ☺
    I'm one of those people who dreads winter, because of a circulatory disorder. Doesn't matter how much I bundle up, it's never enough to keep me warm. :P Sunlight is so important to one's well-being and every little scrap is doubly appreciated now.

  6. I don't generally feel blue in January, maybe because my birthday is in it! ;) However, I am too busy I think to feel blue and always have something on the go. And, if for some reason I am, I can go for a walk, even if it is in the rain! (More likely to rain where I live!) ;) By the way, such a beautiful dog, Loup is, though he looks more like a wolf than a husky or a mix to me! ;) And how wonderful to see cardinals with their bright red amongst the snow or dull winter. <3


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