Written by: Lauren Barris, LCSW-C
It’s no secret that what the weather is doing – whether it’s sunshiny or raining cats and dogs – can have a BIG impact on our daily mood. And lately, it seems like we’ve been getting a lot more rainy days than sunny ones. When I noticed how this weather was impacting my own mood, as well as the reports I was getting from my clients, I decided to write up some tips on how to handle these rainy day blues.
Tip No. 1: Notice it!
That’s right. My first tip is surprisingly simple, but this one is not to be underestimated. It is far too easy to roll out of bed on a gray, gloomy day, with our mood reflecting that, all the while having no clue why we are feeling so down. So, step number one is to check in with yourself when you start your day. Notice what your mood is doing (and what it might be doing to those around you…) and take stock of reasons why this might be happening – AKA those looming, ominous clouds outside your window!
Tip No. 2: Validate yourself
Remind yourself that it makes sense that you might be feeling a bit down because of the weather. People have known for a very long time that the weather impacts our moods, and it’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Validate for yourself that the weather sucks! It may be impacting your social plans, your exercise routines, your allergies or physical wellness (headaches, body aches, etc), the stressfulness of your commute, and it may even be causing damage to your home or community. These are real sources of stress, and simply taking the time to validate that feeling down is a reasonable and understandable reaction to these things can work wonders. It’s hard enough to deal with a low mood – you don’t need to be judging or blaming yourself on top of it.
Tip No. 3: Make up for it
None of us can change the weather, but we can change some things about our daily routine. Make up for the nasty weather by upping your self-care regimen. Maybe opt for a special latte (or tea) in the morning instead of your usual go-to. Maybe wear something bright and colorful that can off-set the gloom for both you and those around you. Practice noticing things about the weather without judging them negatively – notice just the sound the rain makes, the way the air feels, or the color of the sky, without tying it to anything positive or negative. Finally, treat yourself to some extra self-care at the end of your day too, whether that means curling up on the couch in your favorite sweater with a warm cup of tea, cooking a special dinner for yourself, taking a long hot shower or bath, or maybe just getting some extra sleep. The important thing about self-care is that these should be intentional, mindful activities that make you feel good AND are good for you in the long-run. If you indulge in your favorite sugary latte or snack one day, just make sure you don’t do it every day, and if you give yourself a mini-vacation to watch an episode of a favorite show, don’t let it turn into a binge-session. Self-care should be sustainable, enjoyable, and should make you feel good about yourself both in the moment and after.
I hope these tips help to brighten a few of these rainy days. Stay dry out there!