Coping With Winter Doldrums
by Robert H. Phillips, Ph.D.

Are you in the middle of what seems to be a cold, endless winter? For the many people who are “blessed” with frigid winters, feelings of being trapped, confined, and otherwise restricted from freedom to get around, are common. Living through the pandemic can make this even more difficult.

The winter doldrums are often synonymous with boredom. If you focus more on the many things you have to (or want to) do, you’ll be less likely to experience these unpleasant feelings.

So what can you do to get through the winter with more excitement and stimulation? Commit yourself to a plan of action using any of the following suggestions that you choose. (By the way, these suggestions are good for anyone, not just those who may be having a hard time with winter doldrums.)

  1. Complete an indoor project. This can either be a fixer-upper project or a new one that will make life simpler or more organized around your home. The project can either be a do-it-yourself activity, or one that includes other members of your family or even friends. Plan it out in a structured way (what you need to buy, what you need to do, when you’re going to do it), and don’t feel that you have to complete it all at once.
  2. Learn a new hobby. This may be a great time to explore new activities that you can do at home. Explore any of the countless hobby shops that are out there, or do some online research to see what may interest you.
  3. Take a class. Many people overlook the rich opportunities of adult education– there are so many new things that you can learn. Sometimes it’s just fun to browse adult education catalogs or search online and see the offerings that exist. And if something entices you to register, well, go for it!
  4. Organize your pictures. If you’re like most people, you’ve got envelopes of pictures just waiting to be “albumed” (or scanned into your computer). This is a great time to make some headway in organizing your memories. Not only will you be better able to find those priceless shots that you’ve been looking for, but the whole activity can be fun as you remember things that you’ve enjoyed in the past. (Don’t feel like you have to do this alone… family members may enjoy working on this with you.)
  5. Plan get-togethers with others who may be feeling the same winter doldrums that you are. And you may find that they have different ideas that you can try that can help you to deal better with these feelings as well as boredom. Make sure any get-togethers follow good health protocols.
  6. Look for new activities. There are plenty of options to check out online or in the calendar of events in your local newspaper. You can find a variety of options that might stimulate your interest. Check them out regularly. Remember, if on one day there is nothing of interest, who is to say that the next day won’t contain a winner?
  7. Make plans for the spring and summer. Start thinking about what you want to do when the weather gets better. This will help you to spring out of your winter doldrums. Start organizing your ideas for what you’re going to do as you emerge from winter. Putting together the initial framework of plans will not only help you to more efficiently aim to achieve your goals, it will remind you that the sun will truly come out tomorrow!

As you can see, there really are so many things you can do to make your days interesting. In fact, you are probably only limited by your imagination and willingness to put some effort into this. (If you have additional ideas, let us know. Maybe we can even add them to this article!) Start thinking about this now… your days will be enriched, and winter doldrums will no longer have that oppressive impact on you.

How Can We Help?

Many people from all over the world have benefited from the successful, strategy-packed mental health services offered by The Coping Counselors at the Center for Coping. You can, too!

  • If you have questions about any of the issues you are dealing with, why not set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Coping Counselors?
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