How the Weather Affects Your Mood
How the Weather Affects Your Mood
It’s not fiction that the weather affects how you’re feeling for the day. Here’s how to avoid catching the winter blues during this rainy season.
Why is it so much harder to get up in the morning during rainy days? And why do we feel so unmotivated when the sun isn’t shining? We’ve got all the answers and what you can do to make things a little easier for you during winter from now on.
What We’re Used To
Naturally, our bodies follow a circadian rhythm, which means we are wired to wake up when the sun is up and shining in the morning, says biopsychologist Nigel Barber. Our internal clock depends on external cues to both wake us up and put us to sleep – so it’s no wonder why the dark, gloomy days during winter make us feel sluggish and unmotivated.
The warmth also adds to the mix; no one wants to get out of the cosy embrace of their duvet to face the chilling air in the bathroom before a morning shower. And don’t even get us started on how cold it is after hopping out of the shower.
It’s Too Cold to Do Anything
When it’s cold, there’s less to do outside – while some people may prefer winter over summer holistically, the majority of people would rather go out for a hike or even just to the mall in summer.
A 2013 study found that people who were surveyed on more sunny days displayed a higher life satisfaction than those interviewed on days with ‘regular’ or colder weather. This was a direct result of people being able to do more of what they loved during the day in summer, and the preference of staying home with a nice cuppa during winter.
Symbolic associations can also play a part in how good weather affects your mood. The sun being out can stimulate thoughts of that day you went to the beach with your friends or went strawberry picking with your partner. The positive nature of these thoughts make you want to go out and do more activities, which ultimately makes you more motivated too.
On the flip side, cloudy or rainy weather can stimulate memories where plans were cancelled or ruined. However, these memories might not always be bad – you may have had to stay home and ended up having a cosy night in with a movie on while it was raining outside. So it doesn’t have to be rainy for the weather to have a negative effect on your mood and vice versa for sunny days.
Sunlight has been proven to improve your mood and help with motivation, and Vitamin D is the reason for it. When you don’t get enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin’, you can feel lethargic, lazy and grumpy. The best way to get it is through a decent amount of exposure to some sunlight – so get outside and get some sun, but don’t forget your sunblock even during winter, especially on your face.
So how do we avoid letting the weather dictate our mood? Be aware of why it’s affecting you personally. You need to figure out if you just like the cosiness in the morning or if you keep thinking of that time you went to that waterfall on a hot summer day.
Whether you like the cold or warm weather, there’s a reason for it and everybody’s reasons will be different. Figure that out and then work on going out of your comfort zone by trying to go out for an activity during winter or stay in during summer for a change, and we’re sure you’ll learn that you can have a good time anywhere – it’s just about making the most of the different types of weather.