At Christmas time the world is lit up with a multitude of lights. Beauty is everywhere and the festive mood is contagious. Then comes New Year’s. The lights and decorations are tucked away and darkness descends. The nights are long and cold without the cheery twinkling lights illuminating our paths. The blues set in after the New Year’s Celebrations have ended. How to avoid this melancholia?
1. Our Nordic cousins embrace this period as down time to do quiet activities. Many catch up on sleep or sip hot chocolate while getting through their stack of reading material. They recharge their batteries during the winter and party the long nights away during the summer solstice period. We can take a cue from them and honor our body rhythms. Use this slower interval to rest and enjoy cuddling with a pet. Even animals hibernate and rejuvenate themselves for another year.
2. Take a vacation to a hot climate, especially when experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Book early to get fantastic savings. Maybe some friends would like to join you on an adventure. My sons and I enjoyed walking around sunny Sydney and going to Bondi Beach one early January. It was uplifting to be experiencing summer when it was frigid back home. When my sons and I were in Alaska, we met many folks who said they escape part of the long winter there with an annual trip to Hawaii. They save up all year for this pilgrimage to sandy beaches and sun.
3. Pamper yourself to get out of the doldrums. Heavenly smelling lotions or getting a pedicure is relaxing. I go to our local beauty school for lovely treatments at greatly reduced prices. A few friends have an occasional pyjama day with a special treat during these shorter days. Others have had a movie marathon, catching up with the ones that they missed in the theater. I pamper myself with diving into Scandinavian mysteries and enlist my son to bake some goodies.
4. Distraction helps with reducing stress or gloomy feelings. Several women saved a big house renovation project until after the holidays. Picking out paint, windows and tile keeps the mind busy and off depressing thoughts. Tackle big tasks such as cleaning out your garage or basement. This could be the time to edit your wardrobe and buy a few key pieces in the sales.
5. Start something new. Last year in January, I took some non-credit computer courses at our community college. Maybe take up a winter sport like snowshoeing or skating. Our recreation center has ice skating lessons for all age groups, including seniors.
6. If the dark winter seems oppressive and lonely, consider adopting a pet companion. Watch TV with an animal friend and enjoy the company. If you have a frenetic life that is unpredictable, consider fostering a cat or dog for short spells. They get a break from a cage and you have a temporary buddy between business trips.
7. Plan get-togethers with friends that may have been very busy in the lead up to the holidays. My pals and I seem to have busy Januaries since we have spent extra time with families and now want to meet for lattes. We plan a girls’ night out after New Year’s. Maybe catch up with old friends during this less busy period. Some blockbuster films come out on Christmas so wait until after New Year’s to avoid lines and crowds.
Remember the saying, “All things shall pass.” This was my motto during divorce and it can be used during a less favorite season. The cycle of seasons, like life, encompasses variety and keeps things interesting.
How do you spend your winter months?
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