Navigating the January Darkness

While there is great debate about when you take down the Christmas decorations, lights, and tree, there is almost universal agreement that once the decorations are put away, the once brightly decorated home takes on the appearance of a barren moonscape.

It’s actually rather depressing.

The post-holiday home seems empty, dark, and sterile. Christmas and New Year’s Day are behind us, and all we have to look forward to are cold temperatures, flu season, weight-loss commercials, and credit card statements. No wonder the third Monday of January is called Blue Monday.

Throw in lingering COVID concerns and never-ending heated political rants, and, suddenly, hibernation with the bears becomes an intriguing option.

So how does one survive the most depressing day (if not month) of the year?

A quick Google search offers plenty of remedies — exercise, wear bright clothes, listen to upbeat music, and eat chocolate.  Lots of chocolate. Those are all good ideas, but TheBuddyBlog.com would like to offer a few more suggestions, though eating chocolate is certainly a good place to start.

  1. Pray.  Isn’t there a verse in the Book of Acedia that says, “It’s January so let’s mope around with a cloud over our heads.”  On the contrary gloomy guys and gals, Psalms 118:24 says just the opposite. “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” This admonition from Psalms reminds us that EVERY day is a day to rejoice. No exceptions, not even the third Monday of January.
  2. Purpose to reach out to others over hot tea, hot chocolate, or a FaceTime connection.  Avoid isolation!
  3. Keep to routines. Don’t fall asleep watching Downton Abbey reruns. Keep focused on your daily routines, except when positive life-enriching opportunities arise, like wrestling with your grandchildren on the living room floor.
  4. Take a break from your iPhone and social media. There are those among us who suffer from FOMO — the Fear Of Missing Out. Step away from technology, if only briefly. It’s January; you are not missing anything.
  5. Pull up your chair in front of a roaring fire and read a good book. Go for a long walk in the crisp winter air and enjoy your favorite soup or chili, savoring the memories that these provide. 
  6. New Year, new goals, new plans. January is planning month for my wife and I as we look forward to a new year.  We discuss everything from vacations, landscaping ideas, and our donation strategy. Take some time to decide who you want to bless this year.  We list what ministries or individuals God has placed on our hearts and purpose to support them through prayer, donations, and encouraging words. Blessing others is a cure for the blues. This is worth repeating — generosity is one of the best medication-free ways to decrease depression.

Blue Monday may be a downer for some folks, but you do not have to be one of them.

Rejoice and Be Glad…

  1. Photo by Thanos Pal on unsplash.com

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