Some of us love cold, cloudy, rainy days as they invite an opportunity to slow down and hole up in our cozy homes…and some of us dread them. It can be hard to avoid letting the clouds from outside seep into our emotional state. During winter months, up to 6% of the population (depending on which part of the country you live in — averages are much lower in warm states such as Florida) are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a type of depression that is triggered by long periods of darkness and cold. The past few days in Denver have been cloudy and wet — very spring-like, but quite uncharacteristic of typical weather in sunny Colorado. As I have noticed that sun-less days affect my energy level, I thought that I would focus today’s post on ways that we can bring energy and light into our days when there’s a lack of sunlight and warmth to offer that to us from the environment. It is truly amazing how connected we are to our environments, and how the weather, temperature, and signs of nature can impact our view on the world. If you ever feel low, tired, have a lack of energy or motivation, or feel signs of depression when the day is grey and rainy, you are not alone. Let’s try to re-energize our spirits together!
Here are ten ways to re-energize our spirits on a rainy day:
1.) Try to cultivate a mindset that appreciates the present moment for what it is because we know that the sun will shine again. This can be a metaphor as well for obstacles or difficulties in our lives: this too shall pass and everything will be okay. Yes, it may be dreary and rainy right now and that may lower your emotional state, but anticipate the sun shining again and the clouds parting. Believe that it will pass and a rainbow will follow.
2.) Take this opportunity to spend time indoors, doing something you love. All too often we put pressure on ourselves to DO. BE. SUCCEED. ACCOMPISH. When the sun doesn’t invite us outside, it can feel like we must spend that time indoors working on tasks that we do not enjoy. I challenge you to just BE with yourself; put your t0-do list aside and curl up on the couch with your favorite companion.
3.) Break out the board games. Yes, with the ever-imposing advent of technology, some of us may forget what it’s like to sit around a table with a board game. This can be one of the most fun and relaxing activities to do on a rainy day — spending hours with loved ones focusing on one task and avoiding multiple distractions.
4.) Try out a new recipe. Soups and sandwiches are typical “rainy day” food, but it can be fun to try also to bake a cake or make a dish that you have always wanted to try but never had the time to do. Bonus: at the end of the day you have a delicious meal to enjoy!
5.) Break out that rainy-day fund. You know that saying — “save that dollar for a rainy day”. How often do you actually use that money? Well here’s your chance. Use that money (and it doesn’t have to be much….even $5 will do) to buy or do something that you never take the time to do. Something fun can be getting a pedicure or browsing at a bookstore for that book that you have been wanting to get.
6.) Organize. Yes I know that cleaning and organizing is definitely not energizing for many people. So this one might not be for you. However, restoring some order to your shelves or cleaning out that closet that you haven’t peeked in for months can help us feel freer and more relaxed. Bonus: you might find old treasures that you forgot you owned!
7.) Call up an old (or a new) friend or family member. Our lives are busybusybusy. By the time we get work, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc done for the day, we’re exhausted and don’t feel like doing anything else. We may have let friendships go or put on hold because our lives do not allow for the time to nourish them. I bet that a good friend you have not talked with in a while would be overjoyed to hear from you, and that reconnecting with him or her will leave a smile on your face as well!
8.) Play a musical instrument or engage in an art project. Art and music both have the power to calm us and energize us at the same time and they can feed our brains as well as our souls. Something fun to do can be creating mandalas — or circles of art symbols and colors that have meaning to your life. Pick up your guitar or play on the piano that you took lessons on for years. Teach a friend how to play or create art. Do it together.
9.) Travel to another place. Okay, you might not be able to actually go somewhere but you certainly can travel in your own mind. Watch the Discovery channel and voyage to another culture (me being an animal lover and a travel enthusiast, I love to watch “Life”), thumb through travel magazines, or delve into your favorite book that takes you back in time. Investing our time in books and culture enriches our lives and imaginations.
10.) Get a massage. Our bodies hold our emotions and tensions, and we must release those feelings in many different ways. Getting a full-body massage not only relaxes our muscles, but allows us to relax our minds and just “BE” in the present moment. It is amazing what we can discover about ourselves and our memories by allowing a trained professional to work on our bodies. We must take care of our bodies as well as our minds. If massage is not something for you, take care of your body in another way — go to the gym or do yoga in your living room.
The sun always comes out again and a rainy day does not need to mean that it is a bad day. It is your choice to make it a positive day and I hope that some of these ideas can help you re-energize!