>January 24 (just two days ago) has been called the most depressing day of the year by some experts. It’s a perfect storm of winter weather, post-holiday letdown, and the economic reality of credit card statements coming in the mail.
Whether that’s true or not, we could all agree (those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway) that the mid-winter blahs are fully upon us. Everyone has had enough of gray skies, cold weather, and early sunsets. We want something else.
There is a spiritual side to this phenomenon also. This is the time of year when we get irritable over small problems, question ourselves (and others), and feel tempted to give up on long-held commitments. the danger is that we may act on the negative feelings that seem to accompany this gray season.
Here are some ideas for breaking out of the winter blues, feeling better, and keeping your faith and relationships on track.
1. Exercise. Keep your body active and you will feel better. Get back on the treadmill, or, better yet, take a walk outside.
2. Phone a friend. Close your laptop and pick up the phone. Hearing the voice of someone you care about is always uplifting. It may also bring you some accountability.
3. Pray for others. Rather than praying, “Lord, help me not to feel miserable,” pray for someone who is ill, serving in the military, or struggling with their marriage. Focusing on others always makes you feel better about yourself.
4. Turn on more lights. Indoor light won’t replace sunlight, but a brightly lit environment will have a positive effect on your attitude.
5. Go to church. Don’t give up on the spiritual disciplines that you need, even on good days, to sustain you. Get to church. Keep reading your Bible. Don’t skip small group.
6. Banish negative talk. Make a deal with your family, friends, or coworkers that you’ll not talk each other down by saying things like, “We probably won’t make it,” “What’s the use?” or “We might as well quit.” When you find yourself voicing negative thoughts, name them and then quit. Replace that with positive thoughts like, “Just a little while longer!” “I think we can do this!” or “Spring is just around the corner!”
7. Clean the house. Any activity is better than sitting on the couch, and housecleaning has the added benefit of putting your environment in order. When the space around you is uncluttered and clean, you will feel more energized.
For over a month now, the days have been getting longer, and there are only 54 days until spring. Just a little while longer! I think we can do this!