If it starts raining and your mood goes down the drain, you’re not the only one. Many people are weather-dependent and become sad the moment it gets cloudy and rainy. In fact, as detailed in a 2020 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, it is quite common for people to feel depressed on rainy days.
Unless you want your entire day to depend on the weather forecast, learn what you can do to improve your mood and feel happier even if the sun is hidden between the clouds. What exactly can you do? Read on to find out what mental health experts recommend for you to feel happier and ready to conquer the world even on rainy days.
Instant ways to feel happier on rainy days:
Try light therapy
There’s this thing called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that many people suffer from. If you’re one of them, then light therapy might be just what the doctor prescribed. Literally.
According to Julia Baum, MSEd, BFA, LMHC, a therapist and owner of Julia Baum Therapy, light therapy can help your body produce more melatonin and serotonin, neurochemicals that regulate mood, among other things.
“Light therapy is accessible from home and using it for just 10-15 minutes can boost your mood and energy levels,” explains Baum. She advises against using the lamp in the evening as it may interfere with your sleep; instead, use it at the beginning of the day to brighten your mood for the entire day.
Get yourself into a flow state
Another method to boost your mood on days when clouds converge is to enter a flow state. According to Baum, the best way to do it is by doing something you like, aka a hobby. “A flow state is when you focus intently and fully engage in your actions. It feels like you’re in a rhythm and can be both energizing and soothing,” she says.
For some, writing is what gets them in a flow state; for others, cleaning or crafting does the trick. Regardless of your personal interest or hobby, the repetitive nature of the activity itself is what brings you to the right state.
According to LaVante’ N. Dorsey, LCSW, a counselor, therapist, and motivational speaker with LaVante’ N. Dorsey & Associates says that creative activities can do wonders for one’s mood on rainy days. Not only will you feel better but also more accomplished.
Don’t forget about self-care
During days with overcast weather, indulging in some self-care activities will work like a charm on your mood. If going out is not an option, then use this opportunity to take care of yourself. A good pampering like taking a relaxing bath, testing a new body scrub gel, get a massage, will instantly make you feel happier.
Or, as Andrea Marano, LCSW, a therapist based in New York suggests, you can just take a rest, without worrying about anything. Just let your mind and body rest and get their energy back. Make your one and only focus to give yourself the most nourishing, cleansing, soul-filling rest you can—and love every single minute of it,” Marano recommends.
Catch up with family and friends
When the weather is sunny and warm, people tend to opt for outdoor activities, which is quite normal. Rainy days are mostly spent indoors, but it doesn’t mean you have to mope around all day long. You can take advantage of this opportunity to catch up with your family or friends.
You can either play the host and invite your friends over, suggests Dorsey. If hosting is not your thing, you can always opt for a phone call or video call. Either way, connecting with your loved ones will brighten your mood and make you feel happier. Before you know it, the rainy day has passed, and you have successfully managed to get out of your sour mood and enjoy life as it is.
Find ways to laugh
As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. This is definitely true on rainy days. Apart from social connection, laughter works instantly in brightening your mood and making you feel happier. You can watch a comedy, a stand-up special or your favorite TV show, whatever lights your spirits.
The point is you should find ways to entertain yourself and have good laughter, to forget about the clouds and rain outside. You can even play a family game or something that you know you enjoy and that makes you feel better.
When your body is overworked, it is more prone to catching viruses and infections. At the same time, cortisol levels are higher, which might affect the performance of your immune system. Exercising is one of the most effective ways to improve your mood, and subsequently your immune system, especially on days when the sun is nowhere in sight.
According to Baum, “exercise is a natural antidepressant. Whether you want to go out and brave the rain or stay inside, get your body moving for 30 to 60 minutes”. So, you can either hit the gym or do some workout at home. It doesn’t need to be something strenuous; keep it light and you will still see the effects in no time.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
According to health and mental experts, meditation and mindfulness can have impressive positive effects on your mood. What better way to spend a rainy day than meditating? It’s the perfect time to slow down and allow your mind and body to relax. Meditation and mindfulness exercises can help you reduce stress, and anxiety and reach a positive state of mind.
More than that, the sound of rain can get you into a perfect state of mind and help you connect with your thoughts and feelings. On sunny days, when you’re always planning for outdoor activities, you might not have time to heal your mind and body. On rainy days, the sound of rain combined with meditation and mindfulness will bring you the connection and soothing that you didn’t even know you needed.
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Finish things you’ve been putting off
Our to-do list is usually never-ending. No wonder we sometimes postpone things. But rainy days can allow you to catch up with things that have been on hold for too long. Finishing something that you’ve been putting off will bring you a feeling of accomplishment and make you feel happier in no time.
So, choose a task from the ones you’ve been postponing and devote your full attention to completing it. Is your closet in need of major decluttering? Do you need to restock the fridge? Organize the pantry? Repair that leaking faucet? Whatever it is, you can be sure that its completion will bring you immense satisfaction and relief.
Cook or bake something
Starting something from scratch can bring you great satisfaction. And what better way to feel happier and make others happy as well than cooking something for your loved ones? It doesn’t need to be something complicated. Just the fact that you succeeded in catering for yourself, and your family is enough to lift your spirits.
According to Brandon Santan, PhD, LPC-MHSP, a counselor and coach with Thrivepoint Counseling, by cooking or baking you also activate your senses. Imagine the smell of freshly baked bread or pie. How does that make you feel? Exactly. It gives you a feeling of coziness and happiness. So, next time rain gets in your way, start baking something delicious to boost your mood instantly.
Rain, rain, go away! If the song doesn’t work, now you know how to do it on your own.