Group show at 311 Gallery in Raleigh

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Feeling low? Energy flagging? Welcome to the bleakest 31 days of the year.

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Overall January is a boring month; it is National Weight Awareness Month, National Oatmeal Month, and Dry January in Britain, what a time for no alcohol! It’s ironic that January kicks off the New Year with celebrations and is a time for self reflection and hope.

New Year’s Day is a time of celebration, filled with traditions that go back 4,000 years. We have parties, special foods, fireworks, resolutions, and since 1907, a large ball that drops in NYC.

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar added two months to the calendar and began the New Year on January 1st to honor its namesake, Janus, the Roman god of new beginnings. Janus had two heads, one looking forward (future) and one looking backward (past).

New Year’s traditions, practiced mostly in the West, have lasted a long time. They are no longer religious so instead of making promises to the gods, we make them to ourselves. Defining resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something, we resolve to improve ourselves and our life.

2018 was quite a year with our country seriously divided. Perhaps it’s time to embrace another definition of resolution: the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. Instead of losing weight as #1, change it to spending more time with people who matter and listening to others.

After reading through lists of resolutions, here are a few more new ones to consider:

• Stop procrastinating

• Meet new people everyday

• Stop judging

• Go for daily walks

• Volunteer and give more to charity

• Let go of grudges

• Travel more

• Be more responsible

• Face your fears and insecurities

• Express yourself artistically

• Consider adopting a pet

• Shop locally, support small businesses

• Support the arts

After the holidays end, the doldrums set in. Doldrums was once the term used to describe the long difficult journey faced by sailors when there was no wind to push them on their way. Today, we associate the doldrums with the sluggish and depressed feelings we get in the depth of winter when there is nothing to push us on our way.

How to cope? Here are some great suggestions (edited for the art lover):

  • Exercise – bundle up and go for a walk around your favorite art district

  • Meet up with friends and do something cheerful like visit your favorite art district

  • Craving comfort food? Check out special events at your local galleries, they often have great comfort food and a little wine.

  • Indulge a little, buy something for yourself. What better than art!

  • Organize, throw out and decorate; sounds like a great time for a new painting or two.

  • Re-do part of your interior; need some new paintings, sculpture, pottery?

  • Have friends over, cook something you’ve never made, play in the snow, then sit by the fire and admire your new art.

Of course you can hibernate; binge-watch Netflix; spend the month reading in the bathtub. But whatever you do, don’t crawl back into your hole.

Get out and soak up some sun, schedule some fun and indulge just a little.

311 Gallery, in the heart of Raleigh’s favorite art district, invites you to stop in and indulge yourself. Resident artists have pulled together a great collection of small works that will brighten your day and not empty your pockets.

What a great way to chase the doldrums away!