rainy days and mondays...
...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:
Does Weather Really Affect Our Mood?
I just discovered your blog and think it's simply wonderful! I love how open you are about yourself.
The weather definitely affects my mood! I moved to the east coast last fall after a five year stint in Southern California. Everyday, I miss the perfect weather of sunny California. I can completely understand why people would pay a premium to live there. It's so much easier to be happier when you live in perfect weather.
Posted by: Vi | Maximizing Utility | May 04, 2009 at 09:27 AM
Good morning PP!
The weather doesn't affect me as much as it affects you. However, I live in (northern)California, which means that it may be raining today, but it could be totally gorgeous tomorrow. Maybe that sliver of hope keeps me from getting too down.
On some rainy days (the thundering, beating down days) I love to "embrace" it. Those days seem like the best days to stay in your pajamas a little longer, drink more hot chocolate, and just be lazy.
Posted by: kirwin | May 04, 2009 at 10:00 AM
Gloomy weather is why I live in Florida! It is nice though that gray weather can sometimes put us in a reflective mood.
Just in case you're not aware of this: I was trying to subscribe to your blog so I can read it in the yahoo reader; the subscribe button at the top only brings up a bookmark.
Thanks, I'm looking forward to more!
Posted by: Kaushik | May 04, 2009 at 11:25 AM
Vi - I'm so glad you like the blog! :) I actually lived in Southern California for a few years myself and I think it makes it even harder dealing with less-than-perfect weather. I'm constantly thinking, "If I were back there, it would be so sunny and warm..." But I have to remind myself that I'm not there; I'm here. I have to live in the moment and sometimes that means dealing with the rain. Hopefully the tips in this post help us both! :)
Kirwin - Northern California is lovely and the weather is definitely nicer overall than where I live, but I think you make a good point. Sometimes you just have to embrace the rainy days and snuggled up with a good book indoors. If only today was Sunday again, that's exactly what I'd be doing!
Kaushik - I agree. Gray weather can sometimes make me more reflective and pensive. I guess I don't mind a gray day or two, but once I've had a few of them, I'm pretty much over it. Thanks for letting me know about the subscribe button! I'll see what I can do about that.
Posted by: positively present | May 04, 2009 at 11:37 AM
I moved to Florida because I love sunny weather and blue skies. I know exactly what you mean about gloomy days. I find when it's rainy I don't even want to go outside.
Question: What goes up when the rain comes down?
Answer: An umbrella.
Yes, that was juvenile but the point I was trying to make is that as long as we have umbrellas it shouldn't be a big deal but for whatever reason, sometimes I just don't want to run around in the rain. I guess we should be more like children. Remember when you wanted to go outside and run in the rain?
Posted by: Debra Wier | The Metamorphosis Cafe | May 04, 2009 at 11:57 AM
Good post! Keep in mind -- if you don't feel like going out due to the weather, do something enjoyable indoors. Sometimes it just makes good sense to stay indoors, but don't let it get you down.
Posted by: Anita | May 04, 2009 at 12:15 PM
I am ultra-sensitive to bad weather. Luckily I live in Southern California, so it's very rare that we have bad weather. But these are some really great tips. One of the things I learned to do through self hypnosis was daydream myself to being on vacation on a warm beach and I was amazed by the effects. Great Blog you have. Just added to my RSS feed yesterday :)
Posted by: Srinivas Rao | May 04, 2009 at 12:55 PM
I completely agree that wearing something happy is SUCH a good way to pick yourself up. Trouble is, some days I just can't be bothered even though I know that something like that will help. Same goes for exercise! And even writing sometimes, when I'm just not in the mood for it. But we just gotta power through, like you managed to today!
Posted by: Penny | May 04, 2009 at 01:14 PM
Debra - Ha! I love the umbrella joke. I think it's perfect for this post. When it's raining, we just to put up our umbrellas and deal with it. I'm going to try embracing a more child-like mentality that rain is fun and it's okay to get wet. We'll see if that helps...
Anita - Good point. There are plenty of great activities to do inside, as long as I can figure out a way to shake the unpleasant mood that comes along with rainy weather.
Srinivas - So jealous that you live in CA! I used to live there too and I LOVED the weather. I hope someday I will be able to move back there because it was so wonderful to see blue skies and sunshine most of the time. Thanks for adding my blog to your RSS feed! :)
Penny - I feel the same way. Sometimes I'm in such a funk that I don't want to pick out a happy outfit. I don't want to do anything but lay in bed. But those are the days I have to really force myself to get up, get dressed in something uplifting, and get going. It's definitely hard, but I always feel better when I do it. Sitting around, being lazy, feeling down really doesn't do anything for me, so I have to motivate myself. Thanks for commenting! :)
Posted by: positively present | May 04, 2009 at 01:24 PM
This is a great post. I like your list of how to "best ways to weather the bad weather blues". These are some great tips. My favorite is "be grateful". I believe we should always look at the bright side of any situation and attempt to see the positive in any way possible.
Imperfect Action is better than no Action
Posted by: Giovanna Garcia | May 04, 2009 at 01:50 PM
Giovanna - I agree! Being grateful is one of the most important things we can do, no matter what the situation. Looking for the good is so important and can really help on a rainy, gloomy day like the one I'm experiencing today.
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 01:52 PM
I'm definitely a weather person.
I've adjusted to it by being flexible in what I do and the metaphors. On Sunny days I spring to action. On rainy days, I use the think time and get creative. Cloudy days feel like a warm blanket.
Posted by: J.D. Meier | May 04, 2009 at 02:00 PM
You have made an important choice. I remember years ago when I was first living in England there was many rainy gloomy days to deal with. I quickly learned that one cannot plan around the weather and I too made a choice to embrace the weather and follow through with my plans come rain or shine! It is all about perspective! Good post, thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Mark | May 04, 2009 at 02:18 PM
J.D. - You make a good point. Maybe it's just as well to accept the rainy days, and embrace the gloominess, and then take more action on the sunny days...Hmmm...something to think about!
Mark - Glad you liked the post! I can't say that the weather hasn't affected my mood today -- it definitely has -- but I think that I'm being more conscious of it's effect on me and, as you said, that's an important choice to make. Thanks for stopping by!
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 04:22 PM
great post -- I defintely feel a change in my mood when there is crummy weather -- love this list though ;)
Posted by: Shannon (The Daily Balance) | May 04, 2009 at 04:26 PM
Hi Ms. Positively Present,
These are great thoughts on what we can do to beat the weather blues. I've had them too. Although not so much anymore. In fact, I'm reminded of a soccer game my son played last year, and I was coaching. It was cold, it was raining (almost cold enough for snow), the game probably should have been canceled - and yet, it was the favorite game of the year for the boys. Every one of them was covered in mud, soaking wet, drippy noses - and they were loving the whole game. Being able to slide in the mud. Arms raised as the raindrops came down. And it reminded me - that we can make the best of any situation - weather-related situations included. Had you asked any parent, they were probably miserable. Maybe if they (me, too) joined the kids in sliding in the mud, it would have been better.
This is probably extreme. The point, though - being, that we can choose how to deal with the situations life presents us with. Good for you, in deciding to actively make a change, a change where the weather is less of a factor.
Posted by: Lance | May 04, 2009 at 04:41 PM
What a fabulous post, and what a fabulous blog! I have just discovered your blog this evening, and have a feeling I'll be getting to bed late tonight....
I really admire what you're doing here - positivity is SO important, and so much of what you've said I really relate to.
The weather here in the UK can be a downer sometimes (I am from Australia originally so find it particularly glum on occasion!) but I can use the bad weather as a reason to be productive indoors! I get heaps done on a rainy day. But I always make time for a book and some chocolate :P
Great blog - you now have a a loyal reader here :)
Posted by: green ink | May 04, 2009 at 06:00 PM
Shannon - I'm glad you enjoyed the list! Thanks for your comment.
Lance - That's a great story. Thank you for sharing it with me. I think children are a lot more likely to embrace the rain and I think we can learn a lot from them in that respect. You make a great point -- we can control how we perceive situations and react to them. It's not always easy, but it can make all the difference in the world.
Green Ink - I'm so glad you found the blog and enjoyed the post! :) It's not always easy to be positive and productive when it's gloomy outside but, you're right, it's a good idea to take advantage of indoor activities when it's unpleasant outside. It's a great excuse to be productive. Thanks for your support. I'm happy to have a new reader! :)
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 06:15 PM
thanks for stopping by....
this post is SO me...I actually suffer from migraines, not too terribly though, and can usually tell that the weather is going to change just by how my head feels !!!
and I am 100% a sunshine person, so living here in wisconsin has it's challenges for me....but I push on and on cause I'm like that !!!
Posted by: beth | May 04, 2009 at 06:17 PM
Beth - You're welcome! Your blog is lovely. Living in Wisconsin and dealing with the weather there must be difficult, but I think it's wonderful that you keep pushing on. Good for you!
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 06:21 PM
Personally, I love to get wet -- particularly because I haven't had much time to swim lately. I'd add going outside in a t-shirt and sweatpants and running around like a kid. :)
Posted by: Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching | May 04, 2009 at 06:40 PM
Chris - That's great! If you were where I am right now, you would be having a great time. Lots of rain for you to run around in. :)
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 06:47 PM
"Yesterday I concluded that this is not acceptable. I cannot live the rest of my life making choices based solely on the latest forecast."
first of all, thanks for stopping by my blog!!!!
second, what I love most about this post is the above statement. It's all about making the decision isn't it?? Rock on.
Posted by: brandi | May 04, 2009 at 07:08 PM
Brandi - You're welcome. I loved your blog! It is wonderful. Thanks for your comment. You picked a great line to highlight. It's all about choosing how you want to perceive things -- including the weather -- in life.
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 07:57 PM
But then, if you live in a super hot tropical country (like I do - India), sometimes a cloudy rainy day is a god-send. I live in bangalore, where the days are usually temperate (kinda like the bay-area, California). But this year has been super hot. It has been hovering in the high 30s and low 40s for sometime now. It has been cloudy and drizzling since yesterday, and all of us (co-workers) are staring with joy at the windows. Yaay, Rain is here !!!
Posted by: bangalore_engineer | May 04, 2009 at 11:13 PM
Bangalore Engineer - Ah, you make a great point in your comment. Sometimes the rain is really important and exciting (depending on where you live). I guess you could re-write or re-think this post in terms of being sick of sunny days instead of rainy days. I'm glad you're getting some much-needed rain where you are!
Posted by: Positively Present | May 04, 2009 at 11:27 PM
My son, though he loves the sunshine, relishes rainy days. He's 9 years old and begs to go outside in the rain with his rubber boots to splash around in the mud! He gets it all over his clothes and face for a couple of hours and then wants to come inside to a warm shower.
I guess if it weren't for rainy days, the sunny days would become passe.
Posted by: [email protected] | May 05, 2009 at 07:08 AM
Ron - You're right, we need the rainy days to balance out the sunny ones. I love the story about your son. We could all learn a lot from the way he embraces all types of weather!
Posted by: Positively Present | May 05, 2009 at 09:24 AM
Courageous recognition and admission, Positively Present! Bravo!
Posted by: Positively Your Boy | May 05, 2009 at 09:29 AM
Positively Your Boy - :) Thank you! Your support means A LOT to me. You have no idea how much I appreciate the comment. It really made my day and it's great to read the encouraging words. Hopefully I can learn to better battle my weather blues and spend more time venturing out of my apartment...
Posted by: Positively Present | May 05, 2009 at 09:40 AM
Oh, I love the Carpenters!! Inclement weather is an opportunity to reconnect with your soul. I love hot weather but it's definitely more hedonistic. Cold, rainy, and snowy weather guide us inward, and that's hard for many people because that's a place they don't want to visit. SAD is easily cured with exercise and supplementation.
Posted by: Account Deleted | May 05, 2009 at 11:05 PM
Hi Dani .. that's really good .. the weather affects us all - these past 2 years particularly for me .. going from hospital, home and back again everyday .. often twice, or more have shown me how miserable the cold weather makes us .. so your points are well made.
Sunny thoughts .. and I love your plug - well done - the one thing I've learnt as the hospital visits take place .. never complain about things .. always look on the other side = sunny side up!! Mum and I still laugh about the snow and the weather .. they've been good talking points ..
Thanks - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Posted by: Hilary | May 06, 2009 at 02:27 AM
Raphael - SUCH a great point. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I have such a hard time with rainy, cold days. I am naturally guided inward, and that's a place that's harder for me to stay in. That's such a great point. You should write about it on your blog!
Hilary - It's so important to focus on the sunny side of life, but when the weather is bad, it's not always easy. I try to remind myself that I can bask in my internal sunshine anytime I want!
Posted by: positively present | May 06, 2009 at 11:32 AM
Kinda works in the opposite for me. We are drenched in sunshine here in California and have no right to complain about anything. Where I live we have a beautiful Mediterranean climate that generally never gets too hot or too cold. But...and here's the but, when it gets super hot, approaching the 100's, I wilt...get apathetic and am happy to be a couch potato.
On the other hand...I love, love, love the rain because I don't have to deal with it on a regular basis, so it is a welcome change. Nothing better to me than a rainy day, a fire in the fireplace, a great book and a cup of my favorite herb tea. Ahhhhh, the thought of it! :)
I do empathize with you though and I think this post is sensational for those that have to endure a constant flow of dreary weather. I have friends that live in the Pacific Northwest and two of them suffer from seasonal depression, so I know how it can impact ones life.
Great hints for picking up ones mood.
All good things...
Posted by: Lo | May 06, 2009 at 11:55 AM
Lo - Good point. The weather and the way it affects you has a lot to do with where you live. When I lived out in CA I was in heaven every single day it was warm and sunny, but that's because I didn't grow up there and I wasn't yet tired of the warmth. When I was there, I didn't mind the rain as much because I knew it would be over soon (unlike where I live, where it's pretty unpredictable). The effects of weather on one's mood have a lot to do with where s/he lives and how long s/he has been there.
Posted by: positively present | May 06, 2009 at 03:04 PM