Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Playing Against the Doldrums

This time of year has the potential to swing me into a funk. How about you? Do you fight off the overeating, reflective to a ridiculous point, SADD moody blues? I’ve learned to fight and people, sometimes I don’t fight fair. I combat any sinking feelings with prowess and intentionality.

I’m going to share ten ways I play against the doldrums today:

  1. When it’s time to iron (which I loathe) I head to the basement, crank up music and dance as I’m scooting the iron across pants, creasing them flat as Ohio terrain.

  2. I make birthday plans (Now might be a good time to tell you all three of our girls have birthdays at the end of this month. No we did not plan that and no our anniversary isn’t in April…but spring is ;) Having something to look forward always helps.

  3. I dedicate time to a craft project other than writing. Quilting, refurbishing a furniture piece, learning how to mosaic…I’ll try anything. I didn’t say I’d be good at everything, but I’ll try it.

  4. I exercise. I walk (or run) on our treadmill (a note: I used to run outside in frigid weather. During a blizzard, while I was in college, I headed out for a run dressed in shorts. Several friends pulled up next to me, insulated in their car yelling, “Run Forrest. Run.” I got a reality check). Today I stack three or four books where I can reach them and dig in. I got this idea from Stephen King. In On Writing he wrote that he walks and reads at the same time and well, if he can certainly I can. :D

  5. I pray. Another thing I do while on the treadmill is go through the ACTS in my life. I share with God all the ways I Adore him. I Confess things I need to release. I Thank God for just about everything. Then I supplicate my requests to him, asking for help in specific areas and with specific people. I also make time to read the Bible throughout the day. My children sing Bible verses before dinner every night (okay, I know I pushed it. I’m kidding on that one).

  6. I think about a getaway. I’ve gotten away so few times. I can count on one hand the times I’ve left for more than a six hour stretch (excluding our Austria trip). Youch. I’m hopeful about attending writer’s conferences in April and September this year. I’m working for the funds, but I trust it will be worth it.

  7. Sundays and Wednesdays. Not sure I’ve told you about these two days before. My husband and I hold fast to them. They are the days we’ve marked off to connect if the rest of the week spins around us like a rabid Tasmanian devil. At least we have these nights to catch up, work through conflict and connect.

  8. I give myself a break. That’s right, without going overboard I give in to little innocent temptations. Yesterday I felt like baking chocolate chip cookies, so I did. It served as a good practice in discipline for me not to eat the entire bowl of cookie dough before I popped the tray into the oven.

  9. I read. I read. I read. When the earth is covered with that lovely brown snow and the wind is so intense it turns my nose and cheeks crimson after being outside less than two seconds I hibernate. I curl my hand around a mug of tea, toss a blanket on me and READ. Ah. Now entering imagination. Buckle your seatbelts and keep your hands inside the vehicle. Neh, stay unbuckled and lift your hands for a wild ride.

  10. I write. I write. I write. I’ve found that nothing keeps me percolated like writing. It lights a fire under me. Someone once told me the best way to know what your passion is in life is to pay attention to what you’re excited about when you wake up. For me it’s my kids and the words.

What do you do to beat away the doldrums?

*I’m excited to be posting interviews with two stellar authors in the coming weeks. They blow me away with their wit, grace and integrity with words. Can’t wait to share…stay tuned.
**photos by flickr


  1. Wendy, you are such a tease. Who are the authors?

    About your post, thanks for this, Wendy. I'm in a bit of a funk trying to figure out how to keep my writing at a simmer to be available as much as I need to be for my girls extra riding this year. I know that if I delve in too deep with the writing I'll get the cranky pants while watching them ride and I refuse to go there. Love your dancing while ironing. I have a main character dance while changing bed sheets, something I've never done. maybe I'll try it while ironing, though.

  2. This was terrific. I love that you dance while you iron. My husband would just love me if I ironed. I keep reminding him our house is not set up that way, our laundry room is in the garage and there's barely room for me let alone the ironing board. Once in a while I'll haul it out to the dining room. I too glorify the Lord on my run's. I even plot and think of my characters as I workout. It helps with the pain ;)

  3. Reading, definitely. Cuddling with my poodle. Praying for sunshine!

  4. It must be the writer in me, but I always love January :)

    Seriously, after all the crazy busy-ness of November and December when I lost so much writing time to the holidays, I'm always glad for a long, cold, snowy spell when I'm inclined to stay quietly indoors, fire in the fireplace, warm and cozy, and write regularly! I'm a walker too, and that never stops. But in the winter, I usually have to search out clear routes to travel.

  5. I love your lists. I do a lot of those too. Praying, reading, writing, walking... I also tend to sing at the top of my lungs and since I've been operatically trained, well... You get the picture. *grin*

  6. I loved this list! I really don't enjoy cleaning all that much and turning up the music to sing and dance while I do it is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes the kids join in and the cleaning is much more fun that way.

    By the way, I've got an award for you at my blog today ;)

  7. I think I'm sometimes thankful that I'm so overwhelmingly busy during this time of year (tax season) b/c it makes spring come that much faster!

    I have to know... Do you quilt? That's one of my life goals - to learn to quilt.

  8. I'm in a doldrum right now. But I picked up a book last night and now I'm feeling better. I also work on other projects, my problem is finishing them.

  9. Love the doldrums article AND the picture depicting from whence we get this "lovely" term.

    I believe you nailed all of my favorite DBs (doldrum breakers), especially the cranking up the music Yep. I get that toilet bowl brush and swirl and the dust rag and whirl...It works for me!!

    Love your blog!

    LOVED The Book Thief, which was an incredible tool re omniscient POV, which is hard to do.

  10. I take vitamin D. It really does help fight the winter blahs. And, I allow myself an occasional nap (shhh, don't tell). On cold, snowy days hibernating with a half hour nap seems to really refresh my energy.

    I like your idea of looking forward to something and dancing to chores. Both things I've been known to do as well.

  11. What a great list. I make a schedule I can manage. My life is always better when I'm going to bed at the same time, getting up at the same time, I don't have to rush here there everywhere, etc.

    Then I can feel settled when I sit down to write.

  12. I'm fighting the doldrums right now too. I love your list of ways to fight them. I do many of the same things. I haven't tried the dancing while ironing thing, but I'll definitely give it a shot.

  13. I love that you call them doldrums- it sounds so writerly!

    My first response is too weep, then I put on my big pants and pray. Pray, hard. I read, sing, spend time with family. Sometimes mild distractions are nice, a trip to the mall for a little something. A movie to escape in for a few hours. Journaling really helps.

  14. I loved your list Wendy.

    The main thing I do is live for the sun. If I see the sun shining, pouring through my window (a very rare occurence in the Salt Lake Vally during winter) I pause whatever I'm doing and take the time to stand, sit or lay in the sun for a few minutes.

    Feeling that warmth and glow on my skin is like a drug for me. Totally perks me up. :)

  15. Beat the doldrums? Not sure I do that too well. Thank goodness I don't get them often. At the risk of sounding super spiritual, which I'm NOT, I read my bible. I also watch a movie or try to get lost in a book. :-) I love your list! It reminded me that I'm out of chocolate chips. LOL

  16. The cold weather hasn't gotten me down much this year (of course I live in Texas so the chances of severely cold or unseasonably warm is 50/50) and I owe it all to Italian Creme coffee creamer. No joke. Summertime around here is much too hot for coffee to be comfortably consumed at any other time than early morning. However, there is no better companion for this delectable treat than cold winter weather. Of course, my recent all-day coffee binges are having a noticeable effect on my teeth. I may have to look into teeth whitening products before too long -- but as my husband always says -- at least I'm happy :-)

  17. Oh, great list!! Sometimes a good walk outside helps me or being around my gal pals I do a Bible study with. They are so upbeat it's contagious. :)

  18. I like to get outside and see God's handiwork.

  19. I do many of the t hings you mentioned. Prayer, for sure. Exercise. Find time to laugh and play with hubby and Brogan. Cuddle with the dog. Read is definitely a huge one. Listen to worship music. Or...go to sleep!

  20. Great ideas, walking and reading make me feel better. I also love to look at old photo graphs--remembering my grandparents and my mother, friends. There are a few movies that always make me feel better too--You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, Singing in the Rain.

  21. I have a zoo of things to do tonight, but I wanted to address a few things...

    Cindy, thank you for the award. That meant a lot.

    Heather, Yes, I quilt. I've quilted a blanket, pillow and a table runner. My mom taught me and that has a slew of sentimental attachments to it. I'm an average quilter, but I've enjoyed it and have a pillow to do next.

    Patti, The Book Thief is trying to edge its way up to the top of my list of favorites. There's just something about it.

    Some of your other great mentions to beat away the doldroms...playing with pets, reading the Bible, time with loved ones. I thought of about 58 more today.

    My heart and mind are with our two Compassion sponsor children in Haiti. It's been an emotional day, but I trust God. I know He's all over that land with His love.

    Is God calling you to pray or act?


  22. Oh my, I truly need to come up with my own list like this! SO many times I get like that, and I've realized I need to be more purposeful about not letting myself get down in the dumps.

    It may sound dumb, but one thing I DO do... is take a shower. Okay, I know stupid. But if I'm in a particular bad mood, or just down and can't snap out of it, sometimes a nice hot shower helps invigerate me... not the quicky in the morning before work, but just letting the hot water slap me in the face. I guess it beats the blues away, ha!

  23. Great list Wendy! I loathe ironing, so I'll have to try your suggestion:) I get on the floor and crawl around with my toddler. Something about being carried away with the giggles and laughter always lifts my spirits. And when the older girls are here, I like to play the Wii with them. That always makes me laugh, too.

  24. I needed this today Wendy. I think I've been giving in to the doldrums a lot these past few weeks. I miss the sun. I'm going to take your advice and do something to work through them today.


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