How to Get Through January-March

My friend, Alicia, is so deceptively skillful at encapsulating the loneliness, beauty, and absurdity of life. This sentiment in particular is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever read and how I’ve been feeling since returning from winter holidays.

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I’ve hesitated to put this into words because when you’re so far away, the broad strokes of negative feelings are latched onto by loving friends who are concerned about your well-being. A delicate balance is required in trying to be a positive person who also acknowledges that life is hard, and sometimes particularly so in specific locations/situations.

So I’ve been feeling kind of bad but not that bad because otherwise I would’ve moved by now. I’m not one to weigh quality of life over determination. My greatest challenge was to get through January-March and now it is only 1 week until I meet friends for a vacation in warmer, delicious lands. I’ll return to spring on the steppe and a lightening of mood.

Here is how I got through the slog.


Excessive TV-watching is a sign of loneliness. Knitting is constructive. They balance out, right?

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I call this “The Good Wife” sweater.

Cut Down on Drinking

Despite science, this was counter-intuitive to me. I actually haven’t felt like drinking very much during this time and I think it was for the best.


I generally eat healthily (albeit a lot). I also generally follow Alicia’s 80/20% guideline (in addition to being a great comedian, she is also a nutritionist!) but the last couple months I just DGAF. Give me all the chips and Twix.


I started exercising a few years ago. Moving here made me realize how insanely good exercise is for my mental health and I am now a devotee for life. Also, see above. My metabolism will only get me so far in life.

Get Outside During the Day


No matter how cold it is. Even if it’s just to walk to another building for lunch because it is generally still very sunny during the days here!




A lot of people have a downer air about them at this time, whether because they’re away from home or feeling like the winter is long. I used to be more of a negative person and any time I went down this road, my best friend would yell, “POSITIVE DAY!” and I always wanted to slap him in the face. Then a few years ago I realized how valuable this little phrase is and while I don’t shout it at people here, I maintain that spirit.

Julianne Moore Movies

At the same time, sometimes a girl just needs a good cry.


2 thoughts on “How to Get Through January-March

  1. The repetitive, almost meditative nature of knitting has helped me through some long dark teatimes of the soul. I wish I could manage a sweater, though – I just end up with numerous poorly-knit scarves in a variety of colours….

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