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Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Blues

January means different things to different people.
For some it is a time of excitement with a blank calender of new opportunities and plans for a new year. For others it is a time of quiet reflection as life calms down after the holidays. It is easy to feel yourself sinking into a sense of aloneness and even depression as it seems everyone goes back into their own little world. It doesn't help that with winter comes cold, gray, dismal days and not near enough cheerful sunshine.

My mother is retired, lives alone, and refuses to drive if there is even a hint of ice or threat of snow on the roads. So her days are often isolated and lonely unless someone goes to her, and since she isn't a very socially active person she is alone most of the time. I tell her all the time she needs more company than the television.

We go through this every year once she puts her outside work to bed and the weather forces her inside. She needs to fill her life with the following to keep up her spirits.
Fill your world with music, color, something to take care of, books and/or puzzles, a craft, some form of people contact, and some form of exercise.

1. Music is a must to drift away into the past, reflect on life's loves, have a good cry, calm down anxieties, sing along and/or dance (you are never too old to sway, tap or dance as though no one is watching).

2. Color is a great stimulation and mood lifter.
If you love the outdoors, bring the outdoors inside to you. Bring life into your home.
Taking care of plants is beneficial in many ways. They are beautiful to look at, even bond with. They improve the quality of the air. By February or March you can bring twigs of dogwood, forsythia or cherry inside and the temperature change will fool them into going into bloom.

Get a pet, something to need you. Even a fish needs care. There are so many pets of all kinds who need homes. If you are older and are afraid a pet would outlive you opt for a senior pet. You're probably saving its life if from a shelter. An older pet is already housebroken, usually knows its manners and is out of the destructive stage.

Add new color to your decor. Paint a room, learn to stencil on either the walls or pillows, add a few pretty lap blankets or pillows to your couch, change the curtains, rearrange the pictures on the walls or even paint an original.

3. Read a book. It's a shame the people don't read like in the past. Television really does make the mind lazy. I think TV is great entertainment when you are too tired to think about anything but it tends to deaden the mind as well.
I've always been aware that as long as I read I can remember how to spell. I used to be able to just look at a word and recognize whether it was correct. I find lately I have to look it up more and more often. Maybe it goes with age, but reading definitely keeps the mind sharp.

4. Do a puzzle. Puzzles can pass the time like nothing else. Whether its word games, crossword puzzles, or an actual 1000 piece puzzle, they are good for your brain.

5. Always have some sort of project started. You probably learned to do crafts or sewing projects when young and then with a busy family and/or job they just got left in the dust. Sewing, be it hand sewing such as embroidery, or machine sewing, is so very therapeutic. Completed handcrafts offer so much satisfaction when completed and are wonderful, appreciated gifts to pass on to loved ones. I look at my wall hangings and am in awe of the time and patience it took to finally finish.

6. Volunteer or periodically get together with someone.
Humans just aren't meant to be alone. Even introverts need social contact now and then. We need to feel like we have accomplished something in a day and feel productive. Especially hard for parents of grown children or retirees is the lack of purpose in life. Once you have time you'll be amazed how good it feels to offer your talents without the need to be paid. Just knowing you made someone smile or life a little easier is enough to put a smile on your own face.
Having a sense of community is one good reason being a member of a church or local organization is so emotionally rewarding. You get out, you know what is going on in the neighborhood, and you have a social network should you need help.

7. Move your body, stretch out your back, something. You'll be amazed how good it feels to just release tension in the back and neck. Remember, if you don't use it you'll lose it. Jobs today require far too much time trapped at a desk, resulting in poor posture which often leads in the need for a periodic trip to a chiropractor to get things back in alignment.

It does a world of good to feel good about yourself. If you feel good it shows to those around you just by how you carry yourself.
Take care of yourself mentally and physically.
Meadow Muffin Gardens has many products to help you do that :)

Happy New Year, keep up your spirits, frowning adds more wrinkles than smiling :))

This Etsy Treasury listing definitely is a spirit booster!