...always get me down. I have to admit, I have a hard time with weather. Where I live it can be nice one day and miserable the next, especially during this time of year. Every spring, I get my hopes up, thinking that it's about to get warm again and then I'm swiftly reminded that "spring" is just another way of saying "gloomy, rainy, cloudy, and chilly."
Yesterday (a day that was also blessed with a gray, cool drizzle and a drooping overcast sky), my sister asked me if I wanted to do something. Before I could stop myself, I replied, "Oh, probably not. It's just so gloomy out there," eyeing the window the way some might eye a potential serial killer. I hadn't even stopped to really consider what she was asking me to do. I just decided, as I so often do, that a rainy day equals the kind of day where I leave my apartment only if it is absolutely necessary. As I walked back into my own bedroom, I realized (and not for the first time either) that a lot of my life is affected by the weather. My decisions, my plans, and even my moods are affected by the weather. I say things like, "Sure I'll do that...unless it's going to rain...Then I'll probably have to reschedule" or, "Go out? Oh, no, I don't think so. I heard it's going to rain!" or even, "Oh, well, I'd like to go but I think it's going to be chilly out so I'll probably stay in. You know me! I hate the cold!" These statements are blatant cop outs, reasons to validate my incessant desire to be anti-social. These are not valid reasons (unless, of course, any of the situations involved being outside, which is often not the case because most people know that I'm not exactly an outdoorsy kind of girl). I am that affected by the weather that it's dictating my life. Yesterday I concluded that this is not acceptable. I cannot live the rest of my life making choices based solely on the latest forecast. (Okay, I can but I shouldn't...)
This morning as I was about to pull on a gloomy black-and-gray ensemble, I said to myself, "Nope! You're going to wear something spring-y." Settling on a green dress, I felt a lot more energized than I would have if I'd worn the darker colors, and I realized that I don't have to play into the weather. I can take what it gives me and I can work with it. Some people are more affected by the weather than others. Some people don't care if it's rainy or sunny, freezing or scorching, and that's awesome. But for the rest of us, for those of us who have trouble getting out of bed when the clouds are hanging low, who find ourselves moody and cranky after months of cold weather, I've come up with some tips to battle the weather blues. Some of these are more involved than others, so you may want to assess how much the weather really affects you before trying a few of these.
Best Ways to Battle the Bad Weather Blues
- Wear something happy.
It's a small thing, but it seemed to work for me today. When it's cold or rainy, I find it pretty tempting to slip into dark colors that echo the sky outside, but I think just brings the gloomy mood closer to me. I also tend to wear what I like to call "comfy" but are really just "lazy" clothes when the weather is bad. It really helps to wake up and get dressed (really dressed, not "new pair of sweatpants" dressed) in something bright and colorful when the weather is dragging you down.
- Think warm and sunny thoughts.
Ahh, this one is tricky when the weather isn't so good. It's hard to be happy (at least for me) when the sky is dark and the rain is coming down. (Man, you should see how dark it is right now! It looks like it's almost night and it's morning!) Do whatever you have to do to think of positive things. Read a positive book. Watch a movie (preferably one that takes place in a sunny location). Look up happy quotes. Read Positively Present. (shameless plug...just shameless!)
- Avoid the windows.
Not always easy to do, but if you can't avoid them, try not to stare out them. Looking at the bad weather only reminds you what an awful and gloomy mess it is out there. It reinforces the idea that you shouldn't go out there and you should stay in bed all day. Try to close the curtains or blinds and avoid looking at it. (Yes, I know avoidance is usually not a good idea, but I think it helps me in this situation.)
- Fake a hot summer day.
Think about the things you would do if it were warm and sunny outside. Would you go for a walk? Would you have a barbecue? Would you schedule a picnic? Try to recreate these activities indoors. Even if you don't succeed in making them just like the outdoor event, you'll have a good time trying. (Note: The picnic idea is especially easy to do...but I'd probably go for a George Forman grill if you're going to try out the indoor barbecue.)
- Plan a vacation.
If this works for you financially, this is a great way to get rid of the bad weather blues. Planning a trip -- even a weekend away somewhere warm -- can really improve your mood. Money might be tight right now, but there are lots of ways to travel inexpensively and, as I've mentioned on other posts, there are definitely ways to cut back on spending so you can spend money on things that will add to your happiness.
- Be grateful.
Give some thought to those who have to work outside, rain or shine. (If you are one of these people, hats off to you. I cannot imagine doing that!) Be grateful you're not lugging pounds of mail from house to house in the pouring down rain. Be thankful you're not helping to erect a fifteen-story building in the bitter cold dead of winter. And, of course, be grateful that you have a roof over your head and a variety of ways to stay warm and dry.
- Try light therapy.
Light therapy involves using light boxes and other tools to mimic outdoor light, which is said to lift your mood. I've never tried a light box personally, but I've heard some good things about them from people who have used them. You can find a pretty big assortment of light boxes and other light therapy paraphernalia at Light Therapy Products. If anyone has used a light box before, I'd love to hear your feedback.
- Recognize the purpose.
Sometimes we forget that there is a reason it rains. Without rain we wouldn't have all of the beautiful trees and flowers and plants that we do. We need the rain. Animals need the rain too. I find that thinking about the purpose of rain, and realizing that there is a reason for it, really helps to put the bad weather (and my bad mood) in perspective.
- Go for a walk.
I don't know if this really works or not, but I read something this morning about lifting your mood on a rainy day by grabbing your umbrella and your rain boots and heading outdoors. I can remember playing outside as a kid in the rain, in a warm summer rain, and really loving it. I must admit that these days I do whatever I can to get in from the rain as quickly as possible, but I feel like it might be healthy and refreshing to go for a walk when it's raining or cold outside. Being in it, in the weather, may make you appreciate it more.
- Remember the sunshine.
Think back to the last time you were driving in the car, the sun splashing down on your windshield, warming your arms and face. Think about the last time you were at the beach, the warmth of summer surrounding you as you dug your toes into the sand. Just writing those two sentences brought a smile to my face. Don't forget about all of the wonderful, warm times you've had. The sunshine might be gone for now, but it will be back.
Until the sunshine is back, we'll have to work with what we have. I hope these tips help those of you who are affected by bad weather. I certainly know that when I actually use them, they help me. No matter what the weather, try to think positively. Even if it doesn't seem like it will, the sun always comes out again...For those of you interested in exploring the topic further, I would recommend checking out these sites: