The Joys of January

The Joys of January

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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  • Great advice, my dad has always hated January so for 30 years, he went to Florida. He hasn't been able to go for a few years and we all dread it.
    For me, all your ideas are wonderful plus it's the best month of the year for quilting!

  • In reply to Kathy Mathews:

    Thanks for reading, Kathy! I hope this January is not too bad for your Dad. Yes, this is the best time for creative things——
    writing, sewing, art projects of all kinds. I'm going to take some of those old sweaters and make hats this year!

  • Thank you for the perspective that keeps me smiling about all sorts of weather. Your observations are helpful in themselves.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading! In January, it helps to have balance...and a sense of humor!

  • S.A.D. came up in upstate NY, where the sun actually does not shine. Being crammed between Lakes Erie and Ontario made it perpetually cloudy, reportedly worse than Seattle.

    On the spices one, there was the Cheers, where Cliff explains why you drink beer on a cold day. Upstate N.Y. also had a penchant for what I guess was Carolina fried chicken (dipped into a honey/ hot pepper flake sauce), which cleared the sinuses, if nothing else. Buffalo wings, of course, came from there.

  • In reply to jack:

    Greetings, Jack! I do think the light makes a big difference. I have not tried the full-spectrum light therapy, but some find it very helpful.
    Hot and spicy is good for colds, too. Ginger is very warming, and wasabi clears the sinuses...

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I once had lunch in the Mitsuwa Market in Arlington Heights, and there was this green paste on the side of the plate that certainly cleared the sinuses, numbed any toothache, and you name it.

  • In reply to jack:

    Ah, wasabi!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    Ginger is warming
    Wasabi clears sinuses.
    Other than that
    They're both total minuses.

    Great piece, WG. You've made my January better already.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thanks AW--your rhymes are so cheering! Have you tried candied ginger?

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I'm allergic to anything faintly spicy. When it comes to ginger, it's Rogers for me.

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