How to Balance Your Mood During Bad Weather

Three Methods:Engaging in Pleasurable ActivitiesGetting Things DoneRecognizing Seasonal Affective Disorder

Does bad weather tend to get you down? It’s common for people to feel tired, grouchy, or even sad when the weather is stormy, snowy or grey. Despite how the weather looks, you probably still have to go about your daily activities. If dark and dreary weather tends to make you unhappy, it can help to have some strategies in place to manage your mood. Doing fun activities or crossing things off your to-do list can help lift your mood when the weather gets you down. Learn how to keep your mood relatively bright even when it’s cloudy out.

Method 1
Engaging in Pleasurable Activities

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    Spend time with a friend. Rainy weather can affect your self-esteem, making it more likely that you’ll forego social gatherings and do things solo.[1] However, being alone on a gloomy day can quickly make your spirits worse. Give yourself a ray of sunshine by connecting with someone.
    • If you’re at home alone, invite a friend over to laze about with you. If you’re at work or school, make a special effort to connect with others by asking someone to sit with you at lunch or going into the breakroom for a quick chat. Socializing with others can improve your mood almost instantly.
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    Read a book. If you enjoy reading, nasty weather is an ideal time to snuggle up with a book and a cup of tea. Not only is picking up a book for leisure a great source of pleasure and entertainment, it also reduces stress and brings about positive feelings. Plus, if academic achievement is important to you, studies show that leisure reading results in a greater vocabulary, higher test scores, and improved cognitive skills.[2]
    • Whether fiction or nonfiction, pull a book from your shelf and get lost in the wonderful world of reading. This serves as the perfect distraction and accessory to bad weather.
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    Watch TV. Many would argue that a rain or snow day provides the best excuse to curl up on your couch for some one-on-one time with your television. There’s no need to go outside in the nasty weather if you can avoid it. Scan through your channels to see if any of your favorite shows are being replayed. Or, log on to Netflix and check out the newest releases.
    • Be mindful that prolonged TV time increases chances of being overweight or obese and developing chronic diseases.[3] Make sure to take breaks and engage in other activities. At the very least, get up every hour or so for some light exercise and stretching.
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    Create art. For centuries, humans have used art to promote healing. If you are feeling blue because of less-than-perfect weather, it may be a good idea to pull out those paintbrushes or grab your sketch pad.
    • Artistic self-expression with music, the visual arts, dance, or writing can all positively benefit your overall health and well-being. Research shows that creating art can actually help people feel better after both physiological and psychological sickness.[4]
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    Treat yourself kindly. There’s a chance that nasty weather tends to get you down because you have difficulty with idle time. Intense storms may prevent you from going about your activities as normal and you may not do well with unstructured leisure time. If this is the case, you are probably overdue for some good tender, loving self-care.
    • Ugly weather offers a terrific opportunity to relax and treat yourself. What have you been neglecting doing for yourself? If you can travel about your community, go get a massage. Get your nails painted. If you’re a guy, get a new haircut.
    • If you’re not able to leave home, make your living quarters a place of peaceful relaxation. Taking a few moments to relax can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, depression, and anxiety.[5]
    • Play some soothing music. Light a luxurious-smelling candle. Perform self-massage. Take a soothing bubble bath. Sleep in and enjoy waking up slowly, at your own pace.

Method 2
Getting Things Done

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    Get some exercise. Even when the weather’s bad, your body still needs physical activity for optimal health and wellness. Tick this item off your to-do list in the morning and feel energized and productive for the remainder of the day. What’s more, physical activity offers the added benefit of releasing endorphins in your body that improve mood. Exercise also brightens your self-image and reduces stress.[6]
    • Have a dance party with a friend. Browse YouTube for a challenging indoor workout. Or, make the trip to your nearby gym to use their equipment. When you’re feeling down, the best solution is to get your body up and moving.
    • If possible, take your exercise outside to get some UV rays. Even if the sun isn’t out, you can still get exposure from UV rays that help regulate your body’s sleep cycle and lift your mood.[7]
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    Clean your room. Your garbage is spilling over. You have weeks’ worth of laundry to be washed and folded. Your desk is so covered with documents that there is no longer space for your laptop. If you can’t venture outside, it can boost your outlook by tidying up your indoor space. Believe it or not, having too much stuff lying around can negatively impact your mood and health.
    • You may not be able to tackle all the clutter in your home in one day, but try to do away with a little at a time. Come up with a vision that you would like to see for your space and take small steps to realize that goal.[8]
    • Reducing clutter may consist of virtually anything from getting your paperwork organized, coming up with a more effective laundry system, or simply not waiting too long to do the dishes. Make small changes and see how it affects your mood for the better.
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    Set goals. When was the last time you took time for effective goal-setting? If it’s been a while, you can use the bad weather as a stimulus to make good changes in your life. Goal-setting allows you to focus in on the direction you’d like your life to move in and take careful actions to progress down that path.[9]
    • Take some time to write down your thoughts about your current life situation. Are you okay with this reality? Now, think about where you’d like to see yourself in a month or even a year. Spend a few moments reflecting on your dreams. Go into a room with few distractions and think in quiet.
    • After you have spent time thinking about your dreams, establish some clear goals. Follow the SMART goals acronym, which relies on developing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive. Come up with some detailed actions you can take to start progressing towards your goals today.
    • While you have the time, it can also be helpful to think about how you will hold yourself accountable to reaching your goals. Contact a reliable friend or family member and see if this person is willing to be your accountability buddy. Request that they check in with your regularly to motivate you to achieve your goals.
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    Be flexible. Being inconvenienced by weather is a perfect example of the age-old challenge of turning lemons into lemonade. Getting yourself down because rainy, stormy, or snowy weather has ruined your plans is understandable. However, becoming overly upset may simply reflect poor flexibility. That’s right, your ability to adjust to various life situations can actually impact your mood and life satisfaction.
    • A key feature about adaptable people is they don’t wait around for happiness to find them. They learn to seek out and cherish positive experiences.[10]
    • To become more flexible, strive to view situations from multiple perspectives.[11] For example, someone may see a snow day as a hindrance to productivity (e.g. not being able to attend work or school), while someone else may view it as an opportunity to catch up on tasks as home. Yet another person may be thrilled by the chance for adventure—that is, making a snowman!
    • In the same vein, try to look at the overall picture. Consider how small situations play into the larger whole. Is bad weather today really going to negatively impact your life a week from now? A month from now? A year? It can also help to remember that you have no control over the weather, and that there are undoubtedly hundreds (or even thousands) of other people who may be inconvenienced by bad weather, too.

Method 3
Recognizing Seasonal Affective Disorder

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    Know the symptoms of SAD. Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that is influenced by changes in seasons. If you notice yourself becoming sad or blue as winter sets in each year, you may want to consider if you are affected by this disorder. Although rare, some people may experience symptoms of SAD during spring or early summer, too. Symptoms of SAD may include:[12]
    • Feeling empty, sad, or anxious
    • Feeling irritable or restless
    • Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
    • Experiencing changes in sleep or appetite
    • Feeling worthless or hopeless
    • Losing or gaining weight
    • Having little or no energy
    • Thinking about death or suicide
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    Understand your risk. Certain people are more susceptible to being affected by SAD than others. Studies demonstrate that about 1% to 2% of the population is affected by this type of depression. Risk factors associated with SAD include:[13]
    • Being female
    • Being a young adult
    • Having a family history of SAD or other type of depression
    • Having an existing diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder
    • Living far north or south of the equator
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    Keep a log of your mood. Diagnosis of SAD requires experiencing the cycling effects of feeling depressed during the winter months and having symptoms fade when spring/summer approaches (or vice versa in the case of summer SAD) for at least two years in a row. It can help your doctor diagnose the situation if you keep track of your mood.
    • Have you been feeling depressed since late fall (or late spring) and notice your symptoms worsening as winter starts and progresses? Write down how you are feeling and alert your doctor.[14]
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    Look for a cause. Sometimes, we feel sad or blue due to logical reasons like a loss or even sickness. If you can connect the onset of your depressive symptoms to a specific stimulus, it can rule out the possibility of you having seasonal affective disorder. This can also help your doctor determine the root cause of your low mood.
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    Seek professional help. Although you may not yet meet the criteria for diagnosis of SAD, your doctor can still help treat your depression. Ignoring depressive symptoms can be costly to your overall life satisfaction and functioning. Reach out to your primary care doctor and ask for a mental health referral. Or, if you already have an existing relationship with a mental health provider, schedule an appointment with this professional to discuss your symptoms.
    • It’s important not to ignore the symptoms of depression or SAD. Also, if you are feeling suicidal, contact the suicide helpline right away at 1-800-273-TALK.[15]

Article Info

Categories: Emotional Health