There is an area extending about five degrees north and south of the equator that scientists call the “itch” (for Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, or ITCZ) and sailors call the doldrums.
In this belt, the prevailing trade winds of the northern and southern hemispheres collide. Intense solar heating along the belt forces the warm, moist air into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon. As the air rises, it cools, then moves downward.
Because of this up-down air circulation, there is often very little wind blowing along the surface, often causing sailing ships to sit, dead in the water, for weeks, waiting for the breeze that will carry them onward.
The doldrums happen to people, too. Perhaps after spending so long in the Covid Era, you feel stuck, waiting for a breeze of inspiration to carry you forward. Maybe life just feels a little blah. If so, here are six things you can try.
1. Know what matters most to you and try not to waste time on things that don’t. Here’s a free downloadable worksheet to help you get focused. Just referring to a list like this can be enough to shake you free from stagnation and inspire you to take action.
2. Get a different perspective. Picture your life from a wacky point of view, like from a spaceship, or 100 years in the future, and see what you might want to do or change.
3. Play to one of your strengths. If curiosity is one, you could explore something you’ve always wondered about. If zest and adventure is a strength, you could take a virtual trip to visit somewhere fabulous via Google Earth.
4. Get outside. Nature has healing properties. Go for a walk and try to stimulate all your senses – smell the flowers, see the clouds, taste a coffee from your local shop, feel the pine needles, hear the birds.
5. Read an inspiring story. Reader’s Digest has an inspirational stories page that’s full of moving, heart-warming accounts of people doing wonderful things. They might make you want to get out there and do some great stuff yourself.
6. Volunteer. Few things are as uplifting as helping someone less fortunate than you are.
It can be tempting to hunker down when we feel stuck, but after a while we get the urge to start moving again. Maybe these ideas can help you get going.