When mid-winter arrives, people living in cooler climes often grow weary of ice, snow, sleet, biting winds and other extreme weather conditions. On top of that, in every type of climate, COVID is hovering for the third winter in a row. Millions of people continue to lead lives that look dramatically different than the lives they lived before the pandemic, with far less dining out, and far fewer in-person events such as parties, concerts, workouts at the gym, trips to the mall, and more.
Monmouth University reported that 60 percent of American respondents to a December 2021 survey said they are worn out by the pandemic. "The fact that Americans say they have had enough should be no surprise," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. "Every time we try to adjust to a new normal, another variant pops up to put us on guard again."
This situation can bring on the doldrums. Originally a nautical term for a region around the equator where trade winds meet and can cancel each other out in stillness, it aptly captures the lethargy and despondence people can succumb to at this time of year.
"The doldrums are the shadows that keep us from realizing our dreams," John Cousins wrote in a post for Medium. "Between the idea and the act lies the shadow. ... No action is usually the worst choice." Cousins also noted that research studies have affirmed that when people take voluntary actions they tend to feel less like events are happening to them and more like they are in charge.
This brings to mind a quote from Ray Kroc, who built the McDonald's fast-food chain: "The two most important requirements for major success are: first, being in the right place at the right time, and second, doing something about it."
It might be more challenging to see what the right place and time are under today's conditions, but it is not more challenging to take action. Something can always be done. Indeed, sometimes even the smallest action, like talking with a friend on the phone, will be uplifting enough to change the entire course of a day for the better.
So if you feel the doldrums creeping in, don't waste time stewing about it—take action. As Huffpost contributor Thomas Oppong pointed out, "A decision alone changes nothing. ... Being a Doer instead of just a Thinker requires an insane amount of discipline and commitment. Doing involves risk, but it's the only way to make progress."
Think about Newton's first law of motion, which states that an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless an external force acts upon it. And if an object is at rest, it will remain at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it.
Let's not be akin to objects. Let's all get in motion today and take positive actions, no matter how small. As Peter Marshall, a Presbyterian minister who was appointed Chaplain of the U.S. Senate in 1946, said, "Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned."
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