Putting the Wind in Your January Sails

Doesn’t life seem a wee bit dreary in January?  Christmas is over, the festive decorations have all been packed away.  The days are short and grey, the nights long and cold.  The landscape seems…indifferent, whether it be covered in a blanket of white or displaying the muted browns we associate with this time of year.  And January will soon give way to February, which is almost a repeat performance of the preceding days.  It’s what I call the January Doldrums — that period when the invigorating winds of gardening season are deadly calm and our sails are empty.

There are a few things I’ve done in the past — some planned, and some completely spontaneous — that have helped me through these somewhat lifeless days.

(1)  You can certainly brighten the day by bringing the garden indoors.  Even supermarkets carry inexpensive plants such as these lovely pink hyacinths Charlie brought home last winter.  There were four bulbs in this one pot and these fragrant flowers, in various stages, added a little splash of spring to the apartment for a good two weeks.  And I believe this was a $5.99 purchase.  If you remember, he recently brought home a single, white hyacinth which he found on display for a mere $2.00.  I’ve also purchased tulips and daffodils in the same way with great results.  Cyclamen and Amaryllis are two more favourites that seem to be abundant right now.

(2)  Be good to yourself. Take advantage of these long nights and squeeze in an extra hour of sleep.  Eat well — Charlie and I have been eating more hearty soups and salads and trying to snack on nuts and fruit, as the budget allows.  It’s made a huge difference in the way I feel, along with those few extra zzzzz’s.  Position a comfy chair in a bright, sunny window on nicer days and bask in the warmth, if only for a few moments.  It can really lift your spirit.

(3)  Stay in touch with friends. Chances are that your friends are feeling blah if you are — write someone a long letter…by hand!  Or pick up a ‘thinking-of-you’ card and put it in the mail.  Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.  It’ll brighten both your days.

These are a few of the things I’ve tried to do to make January seem just a little bit shorter.  How about you?  I’d love to hear any tips you have for chasing away those mid-winter blahs!

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Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

13 thoughts on “Putting the Wind in Your January Sails”

  1. Words of wisdom, Nancy. I can smell that hyacinth from here. Sobeys has had tulips on sale for a week or so but they brought them in too late, so they’re all in bloom in the store. Smell divine, but I didn’t want to bring any home.

  2. Hi Nancy, you are so right about those bulb pots for sale at the grocers. We try to find ones that are barely peeping out the soil less mix, pretending we grew them ourselves. We have been planting them outside when the blooms fade, when the ground is thawed, that is. If they don’t come back, it doesn’t really matter. They feed our soul. I love your healthy eating mantra too, a good idea. There is nothing that can beat a sunny window in winter. :-)
    Frances

  3. I did buy an Amaryllis, something I haven’t done in years but it hasn’t bloomed yet. Maybe that’s a happy accident and it will be blooming when I need it most now that the holidays are over. I signed up for a card class – maybe that will help too.

  4. Great post(-:
    Yup the dull drums of winter!(-:
    I am going to get some fresh flowers at the supermarket and brighten up my livingroom!
    It is true with the Holidays over most people are not doing a lot! But it is a good time to catch up on chores inside!
    Also looking forward to Valentines Day!!!! Time to sew up some hearts for my Valentine Tree(-:

  5. Perfect advice for grey and gloomy days. I love any of the bulbs, they are fragrant, wonderful, and it is a joy to watch something growing this time of year.

    I always plant a Amaryllis to bloom in January, and Feb. This seems to be the time when we need to see something gorgeous and colorful. At Christmas there is so much sparkle, but in Feb. there is nothing so that Amaryllis is a show stopper then.

    Great post, wishing you sunny days, and a early spring.

    Jen

  6. Hello Nancy,

    To be honest, I cannot completely relate to being tired of the cold, short days. But, I do have to say that I will be spending a lot of time indoors during the summer in the comfort of my AC. I absolutely love your photo of the wintery sky. It captures the beauty and cold of winter so well.

  7. Great ideas, Nancy. I especially appreciate the hand-written correspondence… which I used to love to do and somehow have sadly neglected over the past few years. I look forward to quilting, knitting, etc., and then garden planning during the Winter. (I also agree with the delicious soups, crusty breads and warm drinks!)
    Happy day!

  8. I have hyacinth bulbs in various stages of growth. They’re perhaps the most satisfying of all. I plant out forced bulbs, careful of the roots. Most need a year to recover, but they’ll be lovely the second year. My Christmas Amaryllis is still blooming. I gave away one so my friend could have the same pleasure.

    When I’m finished here, I’m off to try a recipe for fig and walnut bread that I found on Vegetable Matter’s site.

    Today I happily played in the dirt, despite the chilly weather. I can work better bundled up than in the summer when it’s as Noelle described.

  9. Goodness, I have nothing to complain about in terms of cold wintry days (in spite of the remarkably cold weather in the past weeks).

    But I find that sitting in winter sunshine coming through the windows in late afternoon, and enjoying early morning light is quite uplifting in the short, dark days of winter.

    And bread baking, soups, and extra nap time are all wonderful winter treats.

  10. YOu’ve hit the nail on the head! You know exactly how I deal with the winter blues, I buy flowering plants from the grocery stores and big box stores. Right now I have cyclamen and mini-roses in bloom. Soon there will be orchids and amaryllis. And I’ve got my eyes on kalanchoes next!

  11. All good things to remember to keep cabin fever at bay. Having three dogs who need walked daily, I am outside quite a bit which helps.
    Those hyacinths are wonderful and I love the fragrance.

  12. Excellent advice, Nancy! It’s easy to get a case of the blahs this time of year. I’m usually too cheap to buy myself flowers, but I do make an exception this time of year. And I’ve been watching the indoor bulbs for any sign of growth. Baking is one of my favorite activities this time of year, and of course, reading lots of my favorite mysteries.

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