I’m going to come out and offer an unpopular, but very honest opinion: January is not a doldrums month.
Here’s a neat little set of definitions: doldrums — 1 // a spell of listlessness or despondency. 2 // often capitalized, oceanography : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds. 3 // a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump.
The month after the chaos of the holiday season is a time I crave. It’s a nice time to make plans for the year—real plans! Not just meaningless, inane New Year’s Resolutions; it’s a time to get back to—or suss out—normal rhythms, and certainly to listen to the body and brain’s need for rest. You can do things that you couldn't do in December because you were "too busy with the holidays", and it's try number two on actually slowing down.
At the shop, everyone is coming in for their house plant fix. Even with our spells of warm days, there's something about tending to growing things in the darkest, coldest month that feels like a seasonal balm, and a promise of what’s to come. January is also a good month for enjoying some of those Christmas gifts: eat the chocolate, take the bath with the bath salts, burn the candle, read the book, break in the new bath robe, and of course, clean out the old to make room for it all.
I drink a lot of tea to battle the darkness, too—I've read that Black tea can actually help with seasonal affective disorder and be a mood booster, and it seems to work. I've been working my way through all of the flavors of Bespoke Tea that we carry in the shop. If you can’t embrace this month for what it is, we can at least appreciate the small daily acts of care for ourselves.
So, perhaps there’s an alternative interpretation to those earlier definitions—or a way to see them with new eyes. A spell of listlessness is actually a gift of rest, of letting the mind wander and dream. Inactivity should be celebrated, not negated. Those shifting winds? They’re what live in our imagination and keep us looking forward to what’s next. The doldrums are simply a time of essential grounding.