Beating the January Blues

You’ve got ‘em. I’ve got ‘em. We’ve all got ‘em.

It’s like the flu. Spreading. Overcoming. Pummeling us into some sloth-like state where we slump around, dragging ourselves out of bed each morning and answering every question with a mopey, “I don’t care!”

“Here’s that $1 million you won in the lottery.”

“Nope! I don’t care!”

It’s the January blues.

Got ‘em? Feel em? Hard not to when the holidays are over, the weather’s turned cold, gray and gloomy, and your credit card melted from overuse.

There are a lot of tips from so-called experts on how to beat January blues, but they’re all balderdash. Here are my tried-and-true Blues Busters:

? Launch a massive yard project — Nothing eliminates January blues quicker than undertaking some overwhelming, and equally depressing, yard project. We’re thinking about one right now that has me dreading spring so much I would much rather stay right here in crummy January.

? Plan a trip — We always do this coming back from vacation — right when the realization sets in that the good times are almost gone. Perfect time to plan the next trip — something to look forward to. You don’t even have to go on it; just plan it! Cruise to the Mediterranean. Bungee jumping with penguins. A trip to the International Space Station. Feeling good already, huh?

? Take up exercise — That’s what I see a lot of experts recommend in advice columns and website posts. But no one ever specifies which exercise is best. So make up your own. Thumb wrestling would be good. Competitive origami could be fun. And then there’s holiday bill opening. I ran 9 miles the other day, and it was less strenuous than this body-taxing workout.

? Think like a dog … and don’t think. I envy my critter. She has the greatest outlook on life. There are only two things going on in her head: 1) What time is dinner? 2) What time is next dinner? No worries about bills or the cold dreariness. No thoughts about weight gain or where her life is going. She lives life completely in the moment, seizing it with a resolve to undertake exciting new adventures … LIKE SLEEPING ON THE SOFA WHILE I’M AT WORK!!! (Does she think I’m not going to notice the dog hair?)

? Stare at a tree — Wonderful thing about a Florida tree in January? It’s green! Not so in many parts of the country. Want proof? Google “winter trees north.” They look like upside down lightning bolts. Poor, gray twigs in a colorless landscape. I’ll never forget the first time I went to Long Island with my wife. I had never seen the Northeast in the dead of winter. I wondered why the news hadn’t reported a nuclear bomb going off in such a densely populated area. Just gray desolation. But not so here. Not with our trees. Relish them.

? Read “Harry Potter” — That’s how I’m getting through January — reading the whole seven-book series! Figure by the time I get through, it’ll be spring. The sun will start shining. My dog will want dinner, and I’ll have forgotten all about that major yard project I planned.

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