My sorrow, when she’s here with me, thinks these dark days of autumn rain are beautiful as days can be; she loves the bare, the withered tree; she walks the sodden pasture lane. —-Robert Frost
Sometimes the weather can seriously affect the mood. I find changes in barometric pressure, such as when storm fronts are moving in, can trigger sinus and migraine headaches. That in itself is enough to bring on a negative attitude and decreased coping. Some people respond to seasonal changes and suffer due to lack of natural sunlight (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD). They become depressed during the darker months of fall and winter. Strange as it may seem, my problem has always been the opposite…my major depressive episodes have always occurred during late spring and summer. Can’t blame it on lack of sunshine, that’s for sure.
Of course, I don’t think I could tolerate living somewhere like the Pacific Northwest which has less sunny days than we have here in Ohio. I also would not survive closer to the North Pole with the limited hours of daylight throughout the winter. Might be nice to see the northern lights, but no way am I going to live that far north.
Multiple cloudy/rainy days strung together do get me down though. It goes beyond the rain being a healthful cleansing, nourishing thing, to being a washed out, soggy mess. Too much of anything is not good. Just makes me feel sleepy, unmotivated, and wanting to cocoon all day in bed. Even people who don’t appear to have a problem with Depression seem to get down when we have a long stretch of gloomy, rainy weather. Everyone gets irritable and cranky.
Seems we are all in physical need of sunshine as well. Many people as of late seem to be testing low on levels of Vitamin D, which the body manufactures when exposed to sunlight. It’s also available in some foods, but there has been an increased need for supplementation. Research is pointing toward an association between low Vitamin D levels and Depression according to the Vitamin D Council’s website. Can’t hurt to get it checked out with your physician to make sure you are getting enough, apparently my levels were very low, and I take supplements.
Since I can’t change the weather, I just have to continue to work on the alternatives to improve my mental health. Of course it takes more than sunshine and Vitamin D, but every little bit helps.