Happy new year! Here comes the new page of January, unwritten as freah-fallen snow. It's a chance to begin again—out with the old, in with the new!
And yet, in our routine of days, how quickly the page is covered with appointments and errands, assignments, projects, things to do. New things and old occupy our attention. Along with the first days of the new year come the first bills due in January.
Reality sets in. It's cold. It's dark. It's a long way till spring, and you're not going to Florida or Aruba anytime soon.
There are studies that say January is the most depressing time of the year, and January 19 is the most depressing day of the year. They call it Blue Monday, whether it falls on Monday or not. This year, Blue Monday will be on a Tuesday, but that's not the point. January doesn't have to be a month of Blue Mondays. It doesn't have to be bleak and depressing.
For people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter sadness is a real condition. If you feel depressed at this time of year, doctors can help. Light therapy, Vitamin D and exercise are some things they would recommend.
But there are things you can do to beat the basic winter blues and find the joys in January. They are simple things, really. They are an appreciation of contrasts, the old and the new, cold and warm, light and dark. Maybe this is why the god of January is depicted with two faces.
Embrace the cold. Go out and look at the stars. Go shovel the snow. There is a feeling of accomplishment in a clear pathway. You are also helping everyone else who passes your way.
Look at your breath in the cold air. What a joy it is to be alive and breathe in the new day.
How warm it is when you come inside! How wonderful to drink hot coffee.
Now is the time for colorful spices—red peppers and green curries, garlic and onions. Cutting up potatoes can be an act of grace. Appreciate the simmering of soup on the stove.
The long nights offer time for dreaming. Read a favorite book and discover it again. Read a new book, and discover a new favorite, too.
Wear a new sweater in a new color. Or, put on an old sweater, familiar as a friend. It has kept you warm for many winters.
Ordinary things seem like miracles. The car starts. The train arrives. The city is crowded with people. You share the camaraderie of winter. You share the company of co-workers. You laugh at the weather.
And every day brings a little more light.
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