The 5 Things I Learned About My Mid-Winter Slump

1.Acknowledge and Accept It

It’s official. I have fallen into my annual mid-winter slump. I don’t think in the past I named it as such or even realized it was a slump but I know it is and it happens like clockwork. 

The definition of a slump in this case is more about mood, lack of energy and motivation.


 My husband says I have Seasonal Affective Disorder and I should get a lamp. 

Admittedly the light does affect my mood. I am always hungry around 5:00 pm. “Why isn’t my husband home yet for dinner?!!!” I look at the clock. Only another 2 hours to go.


Hmmm. It’s dark. It’s cold. I could easily eat and slip in bed before 8 (though I don’t).




2. Talking about it helps. Knowing others feel the same way, helps.

I find myself unmotivated. It’s cold out, or it’s snowing or worse it’s rain and ice. Easier to just stay inside.


I surf the web. On and off throughout the day. “It’s research,” I tell myself and research sounds important, right? Right.

I have notes all over the place with ideas for the future, ideas for blogs and other projects I might do. I am generating the ideas but lacking in execution.

I overwhelm myself to the point I don’t do anything on my list.

The brainless stuff that needs to be done around the house gets done, because it doesn’t take a lot of thought or real effort and I am just going through the motions.

Maybe it is a little bit like a crash and burn scenario.


The Fall is so busy after the kids go back to school and I go into overdrive. There are social engagements, activities and just a lot of catching up to do. Before I know it, Thanksgiving is around the corner. There is the planning for the boys to come back home and cooking for the big meal. Christmas and New Years are next and there is this flurry of activity that lasts for quite a while. January comes, the boys go back to school and all of a sudden it is quieter, darker, colder. The slump slowly sets in.

3. Learn something from it.

People talk about setting New Years Resolutions and I think maybe February is a good time to really think about what to do next. Why set lofty goals in the frenzy of all the activity only to fall off the wagon when the slump hits?

Last year, I had an especially brutal slump. I was executing part of my new plan for the year, which resulted in being alone often. It wasn’t that the plan wasn’t good but it was the unplanned “side effects” of the plan that caused me distress.


What I came to realize is that I need activity; the more activity, the better. I also need to be around people. My slight emotional breakdown led me to making a new and better plan.  I thought long and hard about what type of change would make me happier. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a list (yes, another list) of pros and cons of my current situation. This was my first step to making a big, big change.

4. Change it Up

If you embrace your slump, it might help you think about why you feel the way you do. What works for you and what doesn’t? How might you change your situation.? As I started to evaluate my life (in last year’s slump), I realized that unless I made some adjustments, my situation would not change. I decided to work through all my fear and make a life change that was emotional and scary but would lead to a happier existence. This change would involve packing up my life (and my house) and moving from the suburbs where I had lived half of my adult life to the big city. A city would provide me with a new energy, a shot of excitement and a new outlook. My change has given me what I hoped for. But it is still a work in progress, as I have found myself again in a mid-winter slump so will need to continue to make adjustments.

alex-iby-213440 (1)

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

5. Be Grateful

Slumps are tough. We get stuck and often in our own way. It is easy to feel sorry for ourselves or just be plain cranky. We are human and those feelings are normal. I try to  acknowledge my feelings and then remind myself of all the good in my life.

Many people I have loved are no longer here to ponder a mid-winter “slump”.

I think back to my tough times and it helps me put things in perspective. There is always much to be grateful for. I let my thoughts help guide me into a better state of mind.


Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

It might be nice to be in a warmer climate during the dark, cold days of a northeast winter and maybe some day that will be part of the plan, or maybe it won’t. If not, I will make some adjustments to lessen the effects of the inevitable slump.  

I haven’t been able to write for weeks. Actually, I have written but it has all ended up as many crumpled pieces of paper in the trash. Today maybe this is step one of helping me out of the slump. This article made it to the publish pile.

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About Shari

I am a two-time cancer survivor and patient advocate. Diagnosed as a young adult, at age 25 with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, I had to quickly face the reality of life’s curveballs. My treatment offered a potential cure while at the same time, underestimated the long term side effects including a secondary cancer (breast cancer) nine years later. Shortly after my breast cancer treatment ended, my youthful, seemingly healthy mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and passed a year later. I have lived the cancer experience as a patient and a family member/ caregiver and understand both sides. Life after treatment is often challenging emotionally and physically and there is a gap in providing needed support. I don’t consider cancer a gift as it is not something I would ever want to give to someone. Rather, I view cancer as an opportunity; one I received at an early point in my life to live intentionally, understanding how things can change at any moment. I live without regrets, fully understanding the gift and fragility of life.
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7 Responses to The 5 Things I Learned About My Mid-Winter Slump

  1. Colleen Bertolino says:

    Hi Shari,
    Great blog. I really identified. January was always a tough month for me. After Holidays came crash time. Feeling low, unmotivated, dark and dingy. I too believe I suffered from Seasonal Affective Disorder. My doctor recommended instead of a light to sit in front of for 3o minutes, to try a ‘dawn’ simulator. I have had one for the past few years and I love it. It has made a tremendous difference in my January state of mind, and I use it all year not just in January. It is a Panasonic Dawn simulator alarm clock. It has 12 or so choices in music (includes meditative music) to wake to and time settings for the Dawn to arrive and how bright/low you would like this dawn to be. i recommend this to anyone who even slightly feels as though they may be affected by lack of light.
    Hope this helps!
    Have a wonderful peaceful rest of the day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shari says:

    Colleen, thanks for reading and for your comments. Josh has a similar light I think-thanks for the advice. I think a lot of it is the post holiday crash- as you say too. So much excitement and activity and then crash… Lets try to get together soon….


  3. Ronny Allan says:

    You are not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janet says:

    Hi Shari
    I also identify with the slump you are experiencing. Can’t wait until the spring when the daffodils make their appearance and the mornings become lighter. In the meantime I have bought some paint and hope to give our kitchen a facelift (if I can motivate myself!).


  5. Susan says:

    Great blog Shari! Can’t wait to talk with you more tomorrow.


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