Doldrums Busters

This has been an unusually tough winter for those of us who live in the mid-Atlantic region of the US.  While I have thoroughly enjoyed the beauty that a snow-covered landscape provides, enough is enough!  After a while the doldrums set in.  The once pristine beauty of new-fallen snow gives way to the ugly yuck and muck of grimy mountains of snow piled high in parking lots or along street curbs.  Walking becomes treacherous as one navigates the snow and ice-covered sidewalks.  Getting out of the house is more burdensome than liberating as layer upon layer of clothing is piled on before we even set foot out the door.  Cabin fever is epidemic.  The kids are home from school and we are all driving each other crazy!  Yikes!  I depress myself just thinking about it!  So, to banish the doldrums, I put on my thinking cap and came up with a list of things to do that might put us in better spirits. 


  1.  Take a walk.  Fresh air and sunshine does something physiological that lifts our  spirits.  By now most parks have shoveled walkways which makes walking possible and enjoyable.
  2.  Bake something.  Baking, besides being creative and aromatic, warms the  heart…and tastes good too!
  3.  Read.  Sometimes a good book helps us leave the doldrums behind as we get  caught up in a good story. 
  4.  Clean house.  Yes, clean house.  The energy it takes to clean is not only good for us, the end result will lift our spirits for sure.
  5.  Call or visit a friend.   Spending time with someone else helps us get our mind  off our problems, which is a sure-fire doldrums buster.
  6. Volunteer. Many people are worse off than we are and can always use our help.  Whether it be volunteering for an organization, or offering to help  a neighbor  shovel their sidewalk, or pick up something for a shut-in at the drug store, you will feel better.
  7. Sew, knit or crochet.   When the creative juices flow, the doldrums are out the  door!  Besides, it’s nice to have something to give to someone, even if it’s a  simple pot-holder, or short scarf.
  8. Write.  Another creative activity, this one keeps our brains active, and you might  discover that there is a latent author just waiting to be set free!
  9. Write an old-fashioned letter!  No email or texting or tweeting allowed.  No  facebook or myspace, just an old-fashioned letter. Fill it with the trivia of the day:  weather report, kids activities, what you are reading, newsy things that “Mom“ is  always interested in.  Then MAIL IT to someone you miss.  We all love to get  snail mail, but we’ve lost the art and connectedness that writing brings.  What a  pity.  You will feel GREAT if you do this one, so will the person who receives the  letter.
  10. Learn something new.  Learn another language, learn a new software  application, learn a new trade, take a class, learn to dance….just learn, learn, learn!
  11. Do it!  Make a list of things that must get done, but that you don’t like doing, then  do one or two things from the list. Just DO IT!
  12. Art.  Paint, draw, mold.  Color with crayons.  Cut out snowflakes.  Make a  collage or a mobile.  Then display your creation for your family to enjoy!
  13. Do something nice for someone, and KEEP IT A SECRET, even from the recipient of your good deed.  Hard to do, but incredibly uplifting when done.
  14. Call the kids.  Play with the grandkids.  Call Mom and Dad.
  15. Go out for ice cream with your spouse or best friend.  Even in cold weather, this  one is fun, and one of my husband’s and my favorite “dates.”
  16. Watch an uplifting movie.
  17. Take a luxurious bubble bath (guys, you can do this too!)
  18. Exercise.  Remember Jack Lallaine, the calisthenics guru?  He is in his 90’s now  and going strong!  Calisthenics are a real pepper upper.
  19. Drink lots of water.  Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue, drowsiness, lack of  energy, depression.  Drink. Drink. Drink. You’ll feel better.
  20. Photography.  Experiment with the camera.  Take pictures of everything.  Try creating a photo journal, a series of pictures of patterns in nature, or particular color  schemes, or landscape photos of your favorite park.  Make a photo album of your  kids, one for each child.  Be bold, different, silly.  You’ll surprise yourself at what  you create.
  21. If it is a rainy day, have a picnic on the living room floor!  Even if the kids are  grown and gone, this can be quite fun….and silly, which is important for chasing  the doldrums away.  And the nice thing about it is that there are no ants!
  22. On a sunny day, make a picnic at a nearby park.
  23. Meditate or pray.
  24. Dance.  Close all the curtains, lock all the doors, put on your favorite  music…loud….and dance to your heart’s content.  Wear something bright and  colorful, the more outrageous the better, and just go to town with the dancing!   Make up a new dance.  Make weird faces while you dance. Just dance!
  25. Offer to baby-sit for a young parent who may need an hour or two for her/himself.   Once you’re a grandparent, playing with kids can be more fun.  Don’t forget how tiring parenting young children can be.  So, have some fun and give a young  mother (or father, but  usually the mother) a break.
  26. Read children’s books.  Look at the pictures.  Imagine what kind of story you  would write for children, and what kind of pictures you would use to illustrate the book.  Then do it for your grandchildren (or children.) Doesn’t have to be great,  just heartfelt. 

This list could go on and on, but you get the picture.  With a little creativity, we can all come up with ideas to chase away the doldrums, ideas that not only enrich our lives, but energize our spirits, too.  So, the weather outside is frightful, but we can always choose the delightful, and these doldrums busters are just the beginning!


6 thoughts on “Doldrums Busters

  1. Cecelia,
    I love this list. I am thinking it is a great tool for many things other than the doldrums. People going through depression or tragedy or difficult times would certainly benefit from these ideas. I am thinking of printing them out and giving a copy to members of our Sunday School class who are facing difficult times. Thanks millions. I love you.


    1. Glad you like the list, Mom! I was fast descending into despair, which, given all the good in our lives at the moment, seemed rather fruitless. So, I brainstormed about what to do to get out of the doldrums. When I read the list (and there is more!) I thought it might make a good blog. I’m thinking about doing some of these things, then writing about it. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading and for commenting. I love you.

  2. The important issue you’re raising is that we don’t have to complain about the weather (which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, even down here in NC) and feel victim to its whims. We can change our attitude.

    I especially liked the idea of writing a snail-mail letter. I’ve held on to letters my mother wrote to me, even notes. Just seeing her handwriting, with its own unique loops and juts, reminds me of her. My children, who receive phone calls and emails from me, have nothing similar.


    1. Thanks for reading, and for your comments. The list came about while I was deep in the doldrums, experiencing writer’s block, and staring aimlessly out at the snow. Once I started brainstorming the ideas flowed. I’m thinking about doing each item listed and then writing about it. At any rate, I’m glad that you appreciated the list…especially the snail-mail….I’ve totally gotten out of the habit of writing, but a couple of letters from Mom recently reminded me how much I love receiving personal mail.

  3. Give the cat something to make her go nuts and you’ll laugh (Failing having a cat, go to I Can Has Cheezburger where cat pictures and crazy captions will make you laugh).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s