Monday, January 24, 2011

Strategies to rise above the bleak and dreary..

January feels like a long month to me...

It is dreary and damp 

I think it has a lot to do with our weather here in the Pacific Northwest...
I am passionate about the contrast of black and white,
whilst the muddy grey of the skies borders on tedious.

We get a huge amount of precipitation and when it's not raining, the clouds and fog hang around.
It feels cold because of all the moisture...makes one feel like cocooning in a shell...or given the opportunity Hibernating!

There are many people who go south to warmer climates.

This is not an option for me at this time so I have developed some strategies for coping.

I like to see the light when dark is all around..
I seek out bright with every facet of my being...
I turn on lights,
I light a fire to create a spark within to chase away the dim.

I yearn for and seek out colour
in my wardrobe
and more.

I dress in layers and wear cozy cashmere to keep the chill at bay.
Cashmere feels like a soft caress, a wooly hug that snuggles and blankets the skin.

A long scarf works well here as I like to wrap it twice to keep my neck warm...
my neck and feet are the most vulnerable to the damp and feel chilled if they are exposed.

Cashmere socks are wonderful
and I wear them all winter
and often on a very cold night I'll keep them on when I go to bed!

I indulge in baths filled with scented salts and warm water
I close my eyes and breath deeply.

I exfoliate my skin
I love the fresh feeling of softness
and then slather on a rich moisturizer
or I dab on an oil or serum for a "spa effect"

I leisurely peruse magazines while sipping a blended tea...
loose tea leaves add that little extra punch of flavour...
and a little goes a long way.

I like to window shop the sales
and look at new stock for spring and summer.

Taking in an art exhibit or a gallery showing.

Listening to music while actioning domestics 
dressed in my Yoga gear 
for ease of movement and comfort.

Sadly the Bungalow garden is rather dormant at this time of year
so the roses are asleep...their bushes bear rose hips.

I purchase flowers and bring some sunny cheer indoors...

Primulas are plentiful and very inexpensive
and can be planted outside in the garden after they have finished blooming.

I dig deep in the recipe box for comfort food recipes
 a delicious way of nourishing ones self and ones soul.

The joy of preparing a simple meal and the anticipation of the taste
sustain and nurture my core.

Dinner of roasted veggies and a free range organic chicken with gravy
smells good while cooking and tastes even better from the plate!

Trying new recipes from cookbooks borrowed from friends or the library...
online sources are plentiful too.

I like to start the day with a warm breakfast 
something with "staying power"
I top mine with a small amount of Canadian maple syrup.

Pay attention and add some colour to the everyday routines
a pretty cup and saucer for taking tea
makes it taste better 
eye candy
goes a long long way.

I like to reread this book as I garner strength and wisdom through another woman's journey
her desperation and the solace she seeks
eloquently described using simple props from nature.

Anne Morrow Lindberg's A Gift From the Sea 

if you haven't read it 
please do...

Maintain and engage in friendships
a telephone call, 
a walk 
 sharing a coffee
going to the cinema
connecting with others is paramount for ones health
 friends enrich and elevate my days
and I am grateful for them.

Plan to bring some joy into your day
and get to know what makes you happy

Embrace, radiate and shine 
spread light
so others can see.

If you are feeling blue, get outdoors for a walk
or volunteer your services at a local agency in your community
there are so many people in need.

What strategies do you employ to brighten and illuminate your days?


  1. You have listed many ways how to survive through the long month of January ( I too hate the month ). Using even some of your tricks, would help.
    I only follow one, not listed. I turn to bed real early, and turn off the lights. Oh, there is another one too. I do the work at the stable during the light hours ( taking my D-vitamin in a natural way ).

  2. Dear Hostess of the Humble Bungalow,
    it is so beautiful what you write! And spoken out of my heart: I try to bring colour into the dim light (outside, inside I illuminate) - and a lot of young women comment on my soft pink Cashmere coat from Laurel. "Glorious! Brightens the day" etc - I am really happy about that!
    Your piczutes are so lovely! Britta

  3. "Pictures" of course - some of the letters on my Mac are "away" - I write too much (but cannot type without looking at them :-)

  4. "Pictures" of course - some letters on my Mac are "away" - write too much (but can't do that without looking at them while writing :-)

  5. What a delightfully practical post! If I don't take deliberate steps to cope, I sink pretty fast.

    I especially think people contact is important. I never am enthusiastic about "getting out", but once I do I AM refreshed.

    Lately, I'm trying not to fight winter so much and embrace it instead--treating it as a time to relax, go to bed early, eat soup, read books, etc.

  6. hi leslie,

    what a great list of strategies. i esp like to get out and go for walks. the natural endorphins save me from myself.

    we have been experiencing beautiful spring-like weather here so i have not had to chase the winter blues away just yet, but i have a feeling this won't last so i'll remember some of your hints. take care.


  7. I am so glad I have found your blog. This is just what I needed to read today. January is my least favorite month. I have read A gift From the Sea. It is a wonderful book. I am making your stew tonight :-)

  8. Dear Hostess, What a marvellous catalogue of coping strategies for, what I agree with you, can be a long and dreary month. Perhaps you should collate the ideas together and have them published I am certain that your advice would be appreciated by readers worldwide.

    I can identify with most of the things you list here but I always feel that the saving grace of January is that the days grow perceptibly longer and that in the garden there are already the small signs of life stirring beneath the soil!

  9. Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk:). And I need to do it even more.

  10. Beautiful post and perfect timing as we are having a gray, dreary day where I live. I try to walk daily even if it rains and that always helps! (but have to be careful and make sure no lightning is about!)

  11. reading your blog is the best strategy to illuminate my day! the blue/purple onion looks perfect!

  12. That's an impressive arsenal for blasting the winter blues! I think color and flowers work wonders for the spirit in the dreary months.

  13. Dear Hostess only you could put socks and pearls together in a photo and make it look fabulous.
    My situation is the reverse down here as it's summer so my coping mechanism is to find ways to tolerate dreadful humidity and burning sun. A selection of pretty cotton frocks and the hope of a cooling evening breeze is how I get through January.

  14. metscan- I do not go to bed early because I do not sleep well if I do...getting vitamin D at this time of year is very difficult so I supplement with tablets.

    Britta- Your pink coat seems to bring joy to must feel lighter and brighter wearing it...I seem to make typos brain is faster than my fingers!

    Rebecca- Your strategies sound very like mine...good to hear that you are out and about.

    the gardener's cottage- Ah Spring what a cheery thought...and I agree that we need those all important endorphins...
    (BTW, that's a tricky word to spell)

    Julianne- I am happy that you are have a lovely smile and I think you must be very pretty...your photo looks great.

    Edith Hope- If there is a book in my future I'll let you all know!
    The snowdrops are starting to pop up here...and signs of encouragement with bulbs appearing and the great influx of weeds...which I will wage war upon on the next sunny warm day.

    LPC- I need to walk more too...I think Janet has the right idea, she walks every morning before her healthy breakfast. It would be fun to have a walking group!

    jenndon- Lightning would keep me inside for sure! I'd need to get a are one brave gal!

    Paula- what a sweet thing to say, now you've made my

    Deja Pseu- I imagine you are wearing your colourful scarves...tied in a very clever knot no doubt!

    Anne- Marie- I'll think about your hot weather and it should warm me up....I say there's an idea..I could put my pearls in every photo!!

  15. all great suggestions -- the snowdrops and the crocuses (croci just doesn't sound right!) are erupting, but even better right now is the fabulous scent of my neighbour's hamamelis wafting down the road and the cheery green of the catkins --- I know the exact sequence of the late winter/early spring erupting vegetation and am beginning to anticipate my way right into March. . .

  16. materfamilias- Sweet scents poetic mater
    and catkins...
    I would love to see them!
    I myself am yearning for a posy of snowdrops.

  17. Dear Hostess I found my snowdrops had all sprung up overnight....I have so many would love to gather you a bunch & watch you pop them in one of your small vases,I have mine in a small cup.
    Also my Tulips are just showing in my outdoor tubs,my Violias have bloomed all Winter,also my Yellow pansies just outside the kitchen door these flowers put a smile on my face.
    I try to hill walk each day though today is cold and damp,so stayed by the fire!!
    Your photos are so beautiful,and your thoughts so helpful. Ida