Beat the blahs

The holiday frenzy is over and spring is still months away.

It's easy to catch a case of the January doldrums, but here are 10 suggestions for beating those "blahs."

1. Get outside. Go on a walk in Lithia Park, skate at the Darex Family Ice Rink or bike the Bear Creek Greenway. Rent snowshoes from an outdoor store and go for a hike on the trail that starts at the back of the Mt. Ashland Ski Snowboard Resort parking lot (stay out of the cross-country ski tracks.) Watch whales migrate at the coast or spot seals bobbing at the Gold Beach south jetty where the Rogue River empties into the Pacific.

2. Eat healthy. Get back on track after succumbing to high-fat, high-sodium temptations during November and December. Start the day with whole grain cereal, reduced-fat milk or soy milk and 100 percent fruit juice. Plan a week's worth of healthy, home-cooked dinners like a salmon filet baked with lemon pepper seasoning and parmesan cheese. If you must have dessert, use fruit. Boil peeled, sliced pears in water with a cinnamon stick until softened, remove from liquid and sprinkle with dark chocolate chips. Stir and serve warm.

3. Learn something new. Take a class or lessons in another language, playing the guitar, singing, drawing or painting, tap dancing, yoga, snowboarding, skiing, glassblowing, woodworking or anything else you've always wanted to learn.

4. Volunteer. There are countless volunteer opportunities in town, from big organizations like the Ashland Community Hospital and the Ashland School District to small nonprofit groups. Watch for volunteer listings on page two of the Tidings in the "Community Notes" section or call a group to see how you can help.

5. Catch a live performance. Listen to live music, go to the theater or laugh at a comedy club. The Tidings'

weekly arts and entertainment guide, "Revels," has listings for Ashland and the rest of the Rogue Valley.

6. Find your "third place." It's not home. It's not work. It's somewhere you go regularly for relaxation and fun, like a coffee shop, a neighborhood park, the Ashland Public Library or a gym. Most gyms offer special January introductory offers.

7. Play with kids' toys. Why should your kids, grandchildren or nieces and nephews have all the fun?

Build with Legos or Tinkertoys, master a video game, sculpt with clay or jam with musical instruments. If you don't have any kids handy, get a toy for yourself that you've always wanted. Take a remote control car for a drive or make a design on a Lite Brite and use it as a lamp.

8. See things in a new way. Walk around town and take photos of architectural details on historic homes, moss on stone stairs, Ashland Creek or anything else that you overlook each day. Or write a poem about something you saw.

9. Change the art on your walls. Wander through Ashland's galleries and look for a new painting or print. For a cheap alternative, buy a calendar featuring Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams, Japanese master Ando Hiroshige or your favorite popular artist and frame pages in a group of four. Or paint your own masterpiece.

10. Get a massage. Whether it comes from a professional or a loved one, there's no better way to pamper yourself.

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or To post a comment, visit .

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