The Dog Days of January.

How about those dog days of… January?

In the grand American game of baseball, August is the month known as the dog days of summer. It’s when writers and broadcasters wax philosophically about needing to stay focused, stay the course, and stay on a winning trajectory. The season is long, say the pundits. In August, you’re already five months into the regular season, with still another month of the season to play in September. You can’t let down now. Bear down. This is when champions are made.

In real life, we often concentrate on May, as Mental Health Awareness Month, or on December, because we know that a lot of people feel left out or are feeling troubled during the holidays. But what about January?

In North America and Europe, January is the first full month of winter. The sun is low in the sky, and there aren’t many hours of sunlight each day. We’re going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. The temperature dips. Even when we’re off of work, we tend to stay home, where at least it’s warm.

Where we can easily be forgotten. It’s where we can easily fall prey to inaction and eating poorly and every other factor that makes us care less for our diabetes and our overall well-being. And before we know it, we feel like crap.

It even happens to people like me, who generally have an upbeat outlook on things. I generally don’t let things get me down. I mean, what do I have to feel down about anyway?

Yet, I have to admit, when I looked in the mirror last week, my look reminded me of the dog days, winter edition.

Unlike baseball, when this happens to us the fix is more than just staying the course, bearing down, playing like a champion. It involves a number of things. If you’re not exactly feeling spectacular right now, I hope you might find a few of these helpful:
Find time for sunshine. Weatherwise, it’s been nothing but gray in my city lately. I’ve been working a lot. When I’m off, I have things to do, appointments to keep. What I needed was a chance to stop and breathe, and feel the sunshine. Change my viewpoint.

So over the weekend, I went to the local conservatory. Not exactly out in the sun, but it’s warm, and every room is a greenhouse. It is not over exaggeration to say that sometimes, just fifteen minutes in a quiet corner there can change my whole outlook on life. It’s just what I needed.

Activity activates. This is where that endorphin thing comes in. Even if you’re only taking a walk, being active can give you a sense of purpose, a sense that you’re fighting back. I don’t know if it helps cure more serious illnesses, but in my case, being more active this time of year really perks me up.

Writing and Reading. If you think of writing as self-expression, you begin to understand why the term “Get something off my chest” carries so much sway. Writing helps me do that, whether it’s here or in a forum that no one else can see.

And we’re not the only ones writing great things. If we can’t find the motivation to inspire ourselves, there’s nothing that says we can’t find inspiration elsewhere. Sometimes, it’s where we least expect to find it. But we won’t find it if we don’t look.

Help someone else. We’re likely not the only ones we know feeling a little down this time of year. Even if you don’t know someone who needs a pick me up, there are plenty of others who need mentoring… need a meal… need something warm to wear out in the cold. Often, doing something for others results in something that helps us too.
One additional thing I should mention is that it’s important to give yourself the time for all these things. Often, just the act of granting yourself time to think or explore again is just what we need.

I don’t want anyone to think that these are cure-alls for more serious forms of depression or anxiety. There are many cases where care from a professional, or even a prescription might help your day have a little more sunshine too. Like time, granting yourself permission to seek help may be the greatest gift you can give yourself.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, and however your life unfolds, I hope that you can find the happiness and peace you deserve. No matter what happens, I support you… no conditions.
We’ll be discussing the January Blues and what each of us does and can do about them on Twitter Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. ET(US). Follow @DiabetesSocMed, @StephenSType1, and the #DSMA hashtag and join the conversation!

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • Rick Phillips  On January 23, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Hey if you want to drive over to Indiana and pick me up we can just go to FL and take a small boat to Nassau. I am up for a trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  • n1iwr  On January 30, 2018 at 12:25 am

    It’s so true, Steve!!! I’ve been thinking about getting back to my love of dance but I’ve been thinking who wants an arthritic middle-aged woman to struggle to keep up in her class.

    Well, I found a studio that takes middle-aged adults like me into their classes. I was soooo excited when I found it!! I’m excited to say I’m taking ballet & tap and I’m having an AWEOND time!!! It puts a smile on my face in the days leading up to class night and then I’m like the little kid I was taking dance oh those many years ago!! I’m having a blast & it’s getting me thru this particular New England weather!! So it’s never to late to revisit an old passion!!

    Btw, it was 5:10 pm here yesterday when it got dark out!!! Woo hoo!! Before u know it it will be spring!! HUGS to all!!!


  • Sandy Brooks  On January 30, 2018 at 12:30 am

    Hey, Steve!! I’d like to inquire about one of ur medals for an athletic accomplishment!! I just finished 3 months of PT after septic arthritis and surgery to correct it & im four months into a new dance hobby which for myself w a new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is a mile stone. How do I go about applying for one!!

    Thanks, Sandy

    On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:14 AM Diabetes Blog – wrote:

    > StephenS posted: “How about those dog days of… January? In the grand > American game of baseball, August is the month known as the dog days of > summer. It’s when writers and broadcasters wax philosophically about > needing to stay focused, stay the course, and stay on a win” >


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: