How to Beat the Rainy Day Blues

There’s nothing worse than waking up to a dark, wet, energy-draining weather forecast. In Vancouver, aka RainCity, usually between the months of November and February, this happens a lot. Today seemed especially worse. By the time I left the house for work,  I had a good friend inquire about natural mood lifters for this time of year and another phone call from a girlfriend who mentioned how supremely low she was feeling because of the weather.

I wasn’t planning on posting for another week, but on my drive out to White Rock this morning, I came up with some tips that I try to follow when I’m feeling down. I’m hoping they can help you out too.

  1. Exercise – It might feel like the very last thing you want to do, but the truth is it works. Moving your body releases endorphins. These tiny molecules actually have similar chemical structure to opioids (think morphine) and they make you feel really good. I will talk more about tips on how to be more active in your day-to-day life in a couple of weeks; but, my number one piece of advice is to get a buddy or join a team. Motivating yourself can be really hard. Motivating your friend, for whatever reason, isn’t.
  2. Don’t sleep too much – It’s really easy on a day like today to convince yourself that you’re in dire need of a cat nap or an extra long sleep-in (ie. hitting your snooze button 18 times). If you can delay the nap (maybe exercise instead?) and get up with your alarm, you will have a longer, more restful sleep at night, which will better prepare you for tomorrow.
  3. Embrace your inner hermit – Take this as an opportunity to stay indoors and get things done around the house. Make that soup recipe you’ve been meaning to tackle. Hem your pants that have been on your closet floor for months. Clean the bathroom. Take a bath. Watch your favorite movie. Whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about it.
  4. Stay positive – people LOVE complaining about the weather. Too hot, too cold, too rainy…blah, blah, blah. The thing is, there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. So change your perspective. Next time someone says something negative about the sheets of rain pouring down, surprise them by replying with something like: “Ever notice how green the grass stays all year round here?” or “When was the last time you danced in the rain?”…etc. If the weather is your biggest complaint then life ain’t so bad.
  5. Remember this feeling when the sun does, eventually, come out – It will, and when it does, take a moment to close your eyes, feel the bright light on your face, and smile. If you work inside, take your break and go for a stroll outside. Rainy days sure make you appreciate that golden ball of fire in the sky.
  6. Know yourself and recognize when it’s not just a weather thing – Some people are quick to jump on blaming the weather for their low moods; maybe because it’s easier than having to look around at other potential causes. Depression is a real disorder and it affects a lot of people. If you’re feeling not yourself and particularly low, please take a moment to look here at the signs and symptoms of depression. There are a number of extremely successful treatments for this common condition (naturopathic and non), but the key is to catch it sooner than later in order to get the best results. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Chin up, everybody. It’ll be spring in no time.

Dr. Taryn Deane, Naturopathic Physician, Vancouver

Dr. Taryn Deane is a naturopathic physician and health writer based in Vancouver, BC. She specializes in holistic dermatology, improving sex-drive and boosting self-esteem. Learn more about Dr. Deane or follow her on Twitter: @drtaryndeane