We’re often told that we can only really be affected from ‘within’ and everything is dependent on ourselves, rather than external influences & factors, like we’ve been conditioned to believe.
I couldn’t agree with this more, and have come to learn that this doesn’t just relate to people & the circumstances that we find ourselves in, but it also most definitely includes other elements, such as the weather!…
Spring has begun. Everyone’s been very vocal about how much better it’s going to be, and have been quick to share their annoyance at the ‘bad’ weather lingering & the April showers. I don’t think I’ve had one encounter the past couple of weeks without the other person making one comment or trying to make general conversation about the weather.
As someone who would have normally joined in with these general moans & commentary, and has usually always been reliant on, or blamed the weather for, certain moods & motivation, I now take a slightly different view on this.
For me, it’s now more about what I’m doing to help myself, regardless of what’s happening outside, rather than being reliant on external factors, such as, yes you guessed it, the weather!
I believe this has something to do with my time living in Australia last year…
During a period of prolonged grieving, I was living in one of the most beautiful outdoor spots in the world, with an abundance of healing nature around me. My gorgeous, temporary home had a wraparound balcony, palm trees out front, the most stunning views of the ocean & mountains, a secluded beach just a 2 minute walk down the road, but most of the time I felt utterly lost & miserable.
I’m a strong believer in vitamin D, but I’ve come to realise that the sun can’t fix all of your problems.
While these external factors helped to make me feel a lot more comfortable, they didn’t takeaway the inside turmoil & despair I was experiencing. If anything, I think it often made me feel worse, as I tried to make the absolute most of my surroundings & enjoy every minute of this experience which most people would do anything to have. But actually, the more I tried to control, stop & suppress how I truly felt, and constantly have a great time & just move on, the worse it got.
Just because the sun’s shining, it doesn’t mean that you should or must feel instantly happier.
Be kind to yourself & others.
I’m even starting to take the view that the warmer weather can sometimes be harder for those with depression than winter in a way, as you feel like you should be lighter, brighter & more energised when the summer months arrive. But unfortunately it’s not that simple where mental health is concerned. My Dad was originally diagnosed with dual depression and anxiety in the British spring, and I remember our first conversation about it in our beautiful back garden during our summer months. He felt incredibly frustrated that he felt how he did when it was so beautiful outside.
But depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses aren’t guided by the seasons.
If the warmer days & lighter evenings bring a spring to your step then great! But if they don’t, please try not to be disheartened & harsh on yourself – it will only add to those feelings.
Equally, on the other side of this, when it’s cold & miserable outside, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still go out & do things. I’d suggest not taking B*Witched’s advice and blame it on the weatherman (there’ll always be something appearing to get in our way: snow, rain, being too hot, being too cold, hay fever, wasps…), but instead, choose to look at what you can do.
It’s all about the way we choose to look at things.
It’s easy to say you can’t do something and cancel plans because the weather’s crap. I know some things aren’t sensible or advisable to do in the wind or rain, but there’s always alternatives. I’ve realised that the wind, the rain & the cold aren’t good enough excuses for me not to go outside anymore, unless excessive. I now choose to see it as an adventure instead. I went out rain or shine during this winter & the difference it made to my mood & energy levels was phenomenal. I even did the same this week & inspired Dad to join me. It honestly can be just as enjoyable.
That’s not to say that the weather doesn’t play a significant part in how we’re feeling…
Yes the warmer weather tends to benefit us & our moods on a whole, as we’re getting more vitamin D from the sun & we tend to be more active, and most people feel lower in the winter because of a lack of these things.
But it’s about what we do with what we have.
I think implementing healthy habits all year around is key, no matter what’s happening outside of ourselves. For more ideas on creating & sustaining healthy habits, click here. And be as patient, kind and understanding as you can be with yourself or those struggling.
For those who regularly suffer with the various challenges that the seasons throw at us, such as S.A.D, Hay fever & other seasonal allergies, I’ll be sharing a few simple tips that have helped me manage these mood drainers a little better each year, and that I hope might work for you too!
If your dark days are a frequent thing, regardless of what’s going on outside, and you feel that you have no-one to talk to: Help Is Here