Knowing how you feel is a key step in beating feeling downcast
IRON MOUNTAIN –It has recently come to my attention that I am suffering from a case of the “January blues.” Apparently, many others have the same condition. The diagnosis says that it’s very common, often contagious, and can be detrimental to a person’s health. However, it is not permanent, and it can be treated. In fact, it tends to go away as quickly as it came, right around Valentine’s.
Though I am not a doctor and the above-mentioned diagnosis has no validity in the medical world, the common depression known as the “January blues” is indeed a real thing.
My best friend and I have a pact: we have solemnly sworn to video chat at least once a month, if not more. We absolutely have dropped the ball on this particular method of communication. Just the other night, when we were “scheduled” to see each other’s faces pixelated on our phone screens, I texted her and told her we’d have to postpone, because I still hadn’t finished my article, and it was due that evening. She completely understood, and proceeded to give me ideas on what to write about. I told her that I too had a lot of ideas for topics, but that I was feeling very “blah” — my college English professors would be appalled at my word choice — and that I just couldn’t find the desire to write.
“I have the after-holiday blues,” I told her. “I feel the same way,” she responded. “You just need to find some inspiration, like… no I got nothing,” she told me less than emphatically. “Me either,” I replied, “I just can’t seem to pull myself out of this funk.”
My mother, too, suffers from this common first month ailment. Oddly, she and I tend to get down in the dumps around the same time. I’m not sure if it’s a mother-daughter thing, or if it’s just that our genes are so closely related, but she and I both feel heavy laden after the New Year. She asks me what she can do to help me, and I ask her what I can do to help her, and both our answers are the same: nothing; we just have to get over the hump, but is “nothing” really a good enough answer? After all, there is such a large population of people that suffer from this same depression that articles can be found online in abundance filled with advice on how to counteract these blues, and yet to me, most of them don’t really seem to help.
Exercise, they say. Supposedly, the endorphins released in the body during exercising will help to bring back a more normal, happy state of mind. While this may work for some, personally, exercising does not make me happy. Yes, it’s good for me. Yes, I do it, but no, I do not look forward to it and no, I do not think exhausting myself at the gym is going to make me less depressed. Really, it’s only going to make me want to sleep, and let’s be honest, when I’m suffering from the blues, I already want to sleep, so I might as well just cut out the middle man, so, next. Plan a holiday, some say. Wait, wait, wait — isn’t the whole reason I’m in this rut to begin with because the holidays just ended? Yes, it is. Therefore, why should I plan another holiday, only to get bummed out after that one ends too? Okay, next.
Try to figure out what it is that’s making you feel so down, they say. I know what’s making me down. I agree it’s good I’m able to identify what’s weighing on my shoulders, however addressing that problem by speaking its origin isn’t really making anything better. What else do you have? Go outside. Right, to where it’s gray and rainy and cold? Where did all the pretty snow go? Where are all the lights and decorations? That is definitely not Christmas music I hear playing on those speakers. That’s it. I’m going back inside.
Realistically speaking, all of these ideas are bits of solid advice, but for me, they aren’t helpful. As my mom says, “You have to just feel this way; you have to know that you feel it, know that it’ll go away, and then you’ll be able to start working on moving past it.” Often, I find myself hiding away from my feelings and emotions because in some odd analysis, I think that if I’m able to fool others, I’ll be able to fool myself. This never works, because I’m never actually able to fool any one. When I’m not being myself, people know it. In fact, this method usually just makes things worse, because I end up getting annoyed that my facade isn’t working. Thus, I’ve found that like my mom says, it’s best to acknowledge the way you’re feeling, otherwise, you never really move on.
For me, my “January blues” stem from more than just the holiday season ending, even though Christmas is by far my favorite celebration. I’m one of those persons who leaves their tree up until it can no longer stand on its own, and who refuses to take down the decorations until at least the second week of January. I even try to decorate my house with mostly “winter” decorations — garland, snowflakes, non-ornamented trees — so that I can keep my décor up much past the Christmas expiration date. I also love that I listen to Bing Crosby sing every night, and I eagerly anticipate the morning of Christmas with my siblings, but it’s not really the fact that Christmas is over that gets me down. Rather, it’s the idea that suddenly, and abruptly, my adrenaline rush crashes, and I no longer have any to do lists.
I love my extended family, but when all 30 of them head back home and I’m able to sit down for an hour without interruption, I truly don’t mind. I love shopping and giving presents, but once the gifts are opened, I don’t miss shelling out hard earned savings on material goods. What I miss, and what truly gets me down, is the fact that I no longer have a “goal” that I’m working toward.
As soon as New Year’s is over, there’s nothing else to plan for. I don’t have to go to the store to get more food because we ran out; I no longer need to stay up until midnight to wrap presents I procrastinated on. There isn’t a need for me to go to my grandparents’ house every night to play games or cook, and the festivities that are attended and planned are no more. Now, the only thing that’s left is the “tear down.”
What’s worked best for me in the past, and my mother too, is finding some kind of new project that can fill my time so that I don’t feel as if I’m not contributing anything. For my mom, this year at least, she’s working on redoing a specific room in her house to become her “crafting” room. She’s going to reorganize, throw out, and declutter. She’s also determined that she’s not going to feel guilty for feeling down, because she knows that it’s ok to not be happy all the time.
I haven’t found my new project, but my husband and I are going through a rather big life change. While this almost adds to my blues, it also gives me a terrific opportunity to grow and find a new purpose. We’ve talked about the possibility of getting a dog, which is something I’ve wanted for a long time; we want to finally repaint the upstairs bathroom, and I want to get more involved with the community.
Acknowledging our feelings is sometimes a tough thing to do. It’s hard to admit to another that we’re not in our best place, or that we’re in need of encouragement. I can’t write this article as if I have all the answers, and I most certainly can’t pretend that the way I deal with things is the way that everyone else should too, but that’s the magic of the “January blues:” you’re given a brand-new opportunity to turn darkness into light. You can take what bogs you down, own it, and then conquer it. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and happiness isn’t achieved overnight. I still feel a little sad, and I kind of wish it was still December, but I refuse to go backwards.
If you’re feeling glum, know that you’re not alone. The melancholy month that is January doesn’t last forever. Know that during this fresh start, feeling downhearted is okay; know that just because other’s have it worse than you, or you have so much to be thankful for, doesn’t mean you should be ashamed for feeling dismal. Give yourself the freedom to feel what you feel, and know that one day, it will look better in the morning.
Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
Sunday: Scenes and sounds, noon; Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.
Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; library cart, 11 a.m.; brouhaha, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.
Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.
Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.
Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; What’s the word?, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.
Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; Mass, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.
Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.
Room visits, 1 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Exercise, 11 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; Penny ante, 10 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; afternoon matinee, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.
Monday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Book Club,10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; Western movie, 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Community breakfast, 9 a.m.; winter trivia, 10:30 a.m.; Apostolic Lutheran, 2 p.m.; high rollers, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.
Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1 p.m.; United Lutheran, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.
Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; Wii fun, 2 p.m.; classic movie, 6 p.m.
Saturday: Puzzler, 10 a.m.; you be the judge, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.
Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m. daily.
Movie, 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Popcorn Day Fridays.
Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.
Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.
Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.
Monday: Did you know?, 10:15 a.m.; Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.
Tuesday: Resident council/food committee, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; monthly birthday party entertain, 2 p.m.; Flip Five, 5:45 p.m.
Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.
Friday: Finish lines, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.
Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.
Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.
Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.
Weekend pet visits.
Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Yahtzee, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.
Monday: Nickel joker-eno, 10:15 a.m.; “Family Feud,” 2 p.m.
Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; current events 2 p.m.; sing a long, 6:15 p.m.
Wednesday: You be the judge, 10:15 a.m.; entertainment, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; Bunco, 6:15 p.m.
Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattergories, 10:15 a.m.; prayer shawl, 2 p.m.; Whammo, 6:15 p.m.
Friday: Exercise and trivia, 10:15 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.
Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; coffee social, 2 p.m.
Bread making, noon daily.
Chicken soup, Communication Program, 4 p.m. daily.
Sensory Group, 6 p.m. daily.
Movie, 6:30 p.m. daily.
Sunday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; bowling, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.
Monday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; Animal Kingdom, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; creative art, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; through the years, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; golf, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; men’s group, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.
Friday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; creative art, 1 p.m.; happy hour/music and memory, 2 p.m.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.
Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Juice pass, 10 a.m. daily.
Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.
Sunday: Bible study, 2:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Tuesday: Music with Verna, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Wednesday: Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.
Thursday: Communion, 10 a.m.; Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.
Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.
Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.
Florence Health Services
Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Farkle dice, 2 p.m.; Baptist service, 3:30 p.m.
Monday: Chair exercises, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday: Dominoes, 10 a.m.; shopping outing, 1:30 p.m.; scarf and jewelry display with Valri, 2p.m.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday: Balloon badminton, 10 a.m.; horticulture, 2 p.m. p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; manicures and massages, 2 p.m.; comedy hour, 3 p.m.
Friday: Catholic communion service, 10 a.m.; popcorn bar, 2 p.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.
Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Poker dice, 2 p.m.
Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.
Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; word puzzles, 10 a.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.
Monday: Bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.; Kings Corners, 6 p.m.
Tuesday: Chili cookoff, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Shopping outing, 10 a.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.; Rummy, 3:30 p.m.
Thursday: Volleyball, 3:30 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.
Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; Bunco, 2 p.m.; fish fry outing, 3:30 p.m.
Saturday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; crafts, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon toss, 2 p.m.
*Activities director out on leave. Please call the home for additional information.
Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.
Meal noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Lunch at noon.
Bingo on Tuesdays.
Free meal drawing on Thursdays.
Meals Monday through Friday.
Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.
Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.
Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.
Birthdays acknowledged every day.
Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.
Blood pressure and blood sugar testing every fourth Wednesday.
Crystal Falls Center
Head Cook, Tracy West
Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.
Cribbage will be played at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and be concluded in time for dinner.
The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.
A site council meeting takes place at 3 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.
Monday: Soup, salad, spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, homemade dessert.
Tuesday: Soup, salad, liver and onions, mashed potatoes, veggies, homemade dessert.
Wednesday: Soup, salad, fried catfish, French fries, veggies, homemade dessert.
Crystal Lake Center
The center is closed on weekends.
Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.
Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrap bookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.
Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.
Last Saturday of the month: Music jam starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.
The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.
Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.
Home-delivered meals are for seniors 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.
Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call the center to book a ride.
Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.
Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.
A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.
Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County
Director: Tiffany White
Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.
The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.
Four senior dining locations are listed below:
Fence Center/Town Hall
Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.
Florence Community Center/Town Hall
Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.
Senior Dining Center-NWTC, Aurora
Serving lunch at 11:30 am, Monday through Thursday
Tipler Town Hall
Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.
Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora
Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on as well.
Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.
Morning coffee is available daily.
Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50/50 drawing.
Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.
Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.
Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.
Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.
Friendly interaction with other crafters.
Iron River Center
Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment is required from those younger than 60.
Thursday meal, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 p.m.
DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are $2.50 donation for age 60 and older, and $3 required for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride
Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center
Corrie Maule, Meal site manager, 715-251-1603
Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251- 4154
Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.
Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara, Wis., area is offered.
They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.
Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.
Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.
Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.
Director: Susie Slining
Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.
Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50 drawing.
Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50.
Cards are played daily after the noon meal.
Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.
Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.
Puzzles always in the works.
A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.
Wednesday — Blood pressure clinic, 11 a.m.
Wednesday — Noon meal. Pizza burger with tater tots, peas and carrots, salad bar and dessert.
Wednesday — Evening meal at 5 p.m. with barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes, gravy, soup and salad bar and dessert. Bingo with prizes will be played. They also will have a 50/50 drawing.
Thursday — Birthday club.
Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.
Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.
Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.
Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.
Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.
Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.
A puzzle table is available to enjoy.
Volunteers are always welcome.