The weather ! It is a great topic of conversation amongst all ages, especially here in the UK. We use the weather as an ice breaker when we are among strangers in a bid to strike up a conversation. How often have you been waiting for a bus, or stood in a supermarket queue and suddenly chatting to a random stranger you mention the weather ? Of course we all do it.
I noticed on social media this morning that many individuals were complaining about yet more rain that seemed to be falling all over the UK. ( yes, that included me too !) I am also presuming that the residents of countries such as Spain etc do not discuss the weather as much as us Brits do ! I guess that’s because they have such lovely weather year round that there isn’t much to say !
EVER CHANGING WEATHER
There is no doubt that the weather around the world is changing. This could be because of climate change, or just the fact that our planet is going through some dramatic changes which happens naturally over time. And so, with these changes people naturally discuss the situation more and how it affects them ? So it got me thinking, just how much of an influence the weather has on our moods and our actions ? Do we really think about the weather and its influence on us as individuals, or is it something we just like to moan about ?
HOW THE WEATHER AFFECTS ME
So what do I feel about the British weather and how does it affect me ? I am in no doubt that the weather affects me emotionally and physically. I feel SO much better in my body and my mind when the sun is shining and I can see blue skies. And I love the way the heat of the sun warms my body right through and lights my face up. My mental state improves dramatically with the appearance of the sunshine and my problems always diminish with the arrival of better weather. Even applying fake tan with the hope of going bare legged in the summer, can make me feel healthier and even lighter in mood !
Adversely, when I am faced with grey skies, rain, wind and even snow, my mental state and body just deteriorate into a low mood and even depression. I find myself feeling lethargic and with little enthusiasm for anything. It is as though my life has come to a halt. I know it is very easy to get into a rut when I am feeling like this. With a tendency for anxiety and depression, I have to be very careful that I don’t let it take hold.
So what do we do if we find the weather is affecting our overall health, apart from moving to Spain ! Well I thought I would share my top tips that I have found useful for myself. They may or may not be suitable for you but worth a try. Of course let’s all hope that by the time you read this the sun is shining and summer is here. Cross fingers !
MY TOP TIPS FOR FEELING BETTER DURING BAD WEATHER
- Look at your winter wardrobe – Do you wear a lot of black or dark colours ? If so this could be contributing to your low mood. It is now proven that wearing bright colours can improve our mood especially if it has been affected by the weather. Try adding a bright scarf to a black dress to brighten it up. Or why not wear jewel tone brooches on your winter coat ? Perhaps a brightly coloured woollen hat and matching scarf might be worth trying too. I bought a bright red winter wool coat last year that I absolutely love. It still keeps me warm but the colour is so vibrant, I can’t help smile when I put it on. Plus I have received so many compliments when I have been wearing it which is always a positive confidence boost.
- Find a new hobby or social group – During poor weather we tend to huddle indoors around the fire. This makes us feel lonely and we can start to feel seriously isolated, especially if the poor weather lasts for many months. If you feel this is you, then why not look for a new hobby or social group. This will get you out of the house and with a new focus. Meeting new friends with a common interest is always positive for health. Even though it may still be an effort to go out into the cold, I promise you it will be worth it for the benefits you get from socialising.
- Winter Holiday – Instead of waiting till the summer for your main holiday, why not go during our winter months ? There are so many last minute deals around so you can check the weather, and if it looks poor, then book a holiday and within a week you could be sunning yourself somewhere else. If you go out of season and avoid school holidays, you really can get some cheap holidays if you shop around.
- Use a SAD lamp – I have used a SAD ( seasonal affective disorder ) lamp for many years and I know lots of people that swear by them. The idea is that the light from the lamp is similar to natural sunlight and so creates a good feeling within us. My lamp is also an alarm clock, so I am woken up by a natural sunlight effect every morning. Yes, once I look out of the window and I see the grey skies my heart drops a little, but this is still a good idea for those of us that struggle to get up every morning.
- Brighten up your home – This can be something easy like buying brightly coloured scatter cushions for your sofa, or buying vibrant coloured bedding for your bedroom. Look at the house as a whole. Do you have dark coloured walls ? This may drop your mood slightly especially during the winter. Perhaps brightening up the walls with a lighter colour may be a good idea ? I find white or cream is a good basic colour for rooms as it allows you to add lovely art work easily without the worry of colours clashing.
- Exercise – I find many people shy away from exercise especially during the colder months, but this is the time you need exercise more than ever. You don’t have to run outside in the pouring rain or play tennis outside in the freezing cold. There are plenty of indoor activities you can do, including joining a gym, swimming, dance class, yoga, or find a team sport such as badminton or indoor bowls. Exercise is crucial for our overall health, and, unless you have been advised by a doctor not to do any exercise, then there is always something that is suitable for you.
- Eat healthily – It is so easy to eat stodgy food when it is cold and miserable outside. We automatically reach for sugary foods and lots of carbs in our bid to help us feel better and stay warm. You can still eat healthy during the cold weather. It just takes planning and thought. Of course we don’t want to eat salads all day, but we can still make hot, comforting nutritious meals without resorting to microwave meals and junk food. Start looking online for alternatives to your usual ‘go to’ meal when you are feeling cold and low in mood. It is a proven fact that if we eat better then we feel better.
- Keep in touch with friends and family – It is a real issue that with cold weather comes isolation. We naturally stay at home when the weather is poor and that can mean a loss of friendship and contact with other human beings. This is not good for anyone, but especially if you live alone. Even if the weather is so bad you cannot get out of the house, then pick up the phone and call someone. If you have the internet then you can email or why not try Skype to keep in contact with loved ones. Just a quick chat with a good friend can uplift us and make us feel connected again. Try it and see the difference it makes.
- Plan your garden – The cold winters mean we rarely go into our garden and looking at the bare grass and barren trees can make us feel low and out of sorts. So why not plan ahead for the summer and look at what you want to do with your garden this year. It might involve buying new garden furniture or perhaps you want to buy a new swing for your child / grandchild now he is older. Plan what plants / seeds you might want to cultivate. If you only have a small / balcony garden then look at container gardening and see what you can grow in a limited space. Perhaps you want to grow a few vegetables this year ? It is May now so some seeds may be too late to be planted, but have a look and see what you can plant now. Perhaps paint some garden pots that are looking a bit worn after the harsh winter ? Most importantly, keep your bird feeders topped up. With this unsettled weather our bird friends still need their food supplies.
- Finally, even if it is cold I would still suggest you wrap up and go out for a nice long walk. There is nothing quite as bracing as a long walk in the countryside, wrapped up warm against the cold air. It can be lovely walking in the winter sunshine and as long as you are wrapped up well, then you will feel invigorated on your return home. On your walk try and find a tea shop or coffee shop. I find it quite motivating if I know there is a nice pot of tea with a piece of cake at the end of a long cold walk.
As I am finishing writing this the sun has actually just come out ! It was raining heavily when I started. That’s the typical British weather for you I guess ! I hope I have given you some ideas for feeling better during poor weather. Better still, I hope that summer and warmer weather arrives very soon here in the UK. and we don’t have to worry about winter coats and umbrellas !
What do you do when the weather is bad ? Do you find the weather affects your health, physically and mentally ? Please comment below and pass on any tips that you have for dealing with the bad weather.
Until next time dear friends