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List: 13 Ways to Combat the January Slumps

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The struggle is real, you guys.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you heard about the “snow event” that pounded the East Coast this week.  Luckily we didn’t get hit as hard as was forecasted (a mere 8 inches versus the 18 minimum that they were predicting), but that’s 8 inches of snow that will continue to accumulate on the ground, untouched and intact, until Spring.

I call this time of year “the January Slumps.”  The warmth of the holidays is over and the newness, excitement, and motivation that accompanies the beginning of the year has started to wane.  And then the biggest bummer: Winter is really just getting started.  You’re staring February in the face–gray, cold, wet February.  It’s rough.

This year I’m prepared.  I planned something to look forward to in February (so crucial) and I’ve given myself little goals and tips to get my you-know-what off the couch.  That’s usually step one to combat the January slumps.  Get off the couch!

Here are 13 ways to help combat the January Slumps, should you start feeling a little…slump-ier.  Let’s try some out and report back.  Leave no man behind–March will be here soon and with it, flowers, and sun, and chirping birds.  The snow will melt.  It will!

  1. Exercise.  Like I said, step one is getting off the couch.  Even if you just do lunges in your living room while watching Friends on Netflix or some light stretching, the movement will help.  It’s science.
  2. Read a new book.  Pick something inspiring.  (I’ve got three for you right here if you need some direction!)
  3. Create something.  Get in the kitchen and make dinner.  Grab a pencil and doodle.  Write.  Build.  Practice calligraphy.  Whatever it looks like for you, do that. Expressing some creative energy is always the best way for me to change my mindset and is the first thing my mom asks me if I call her in a funk.
  4. Write a letter.  Sitting down to write a friend or family member is a nice, simple, and relatively free (what is it, 49 cents?) way to brighten someone else’s day and make you feel good.  It doesn’t have to be long, elaborate, or even serious.  It’s the act of thinking about someone else that we’re focusing on here.  It works!
  5. Call a friend.  I feel immediately refreshed after a good long talk with a friend.  They’re the ones that know you best, and if you’re like me, they live in a different part of the country and so you can live in their warm world by proxy.
  6. Clean out your closet.  This is a simple way to feel accomplished.  De-clutter your space, de-clutter your head!
  7. Listen to music (and dance a little).  Music can immediately change my mood, and I dare you to be testy while dancing.
  8. Meditate and Stretch.  I tried out this app and really liked it.  It made meditation simple and approachable, and reminded me how important it is to take deep breaths.  Pausing to breathe, or stretch, or otherwise stop, acts sort of like a road block in my road towards a full blown Bad Mood.
  9. Take a bath.  It’s cold out, so there’s that, but also there’s nothing more luxurious feeling than carving out some time for yourself.  Read that book that we talked about.
  10. Smile for 20 seconds.  There’s something that happens to the chemistry in your brain when you smile.  Just the act of smiling sort of kicks your happy center into high gear.  (I think I have a serious future in neuroscience).  I can’t exactly back this up with research because I’m too lazy to look it up, but it actually works.
  11. Clean your bathroom/kitchen/living room.  This touches on so much: you get off the couch, you make a real improvement to your surroundings, and you accomplish a task.  Listen to music while you’re doing it, and you’ve got Number 7 too!
  12. Keep fresh-cut flowers.  Bringing some color, freshness, and beauty into my home is a sure-fire way to bring a smile to my face.  Something about having fresh flowers around really makes me feel like I’ve got this whole life thing down.  
  13. Watch an inspiring movie.  This does involve you, on the couch.  But!  I get so fired up when I watch a really great movie.  Midnight in Paris is sometimes a problem; I watch that and want to plan all the trips and write all the books and paint all the paintings.  It’s powerful stuff.

I trust you guys, and hope that I’m not just talking to what is the internet equivalent of a brick wall.  I’m all about living in the moment, and I don’t mean to wish the season away, because it’s just that: a season, and thus it’s very nature is to pass.  However, let’s be real.  It’s pitch black outside and there’s snow up to my knees.  I will live in the moment, but I’ll dance and watch a movie and buy some tulips while I’m at it.  Cool?  Cool.

What are your tips?  My mom always said a change of scenery was key, and she’s not wrong.  What did your mom tell you?

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