Do you like rainy days? Many people don’t. I live in New England and although we get a variety of all seasons, my favorite weather is 70s and sunny or 60s and rainy. But I grew to like the rainy days. I wasn’t always like this.
When I was younger, I would always get a little bummed out on rainy days. I couldn’t go outside to play, I had to stay indoors and do my chores and the sun just naturally made me feel better. As I got older, I learned to love the rainy days because it gave me a chance to slow down and forced me to take a break. What I learned later in life that there was a reason rainy days tend to make people feel blue.
It’s something called Seasonal Affective Disorder (“SAD”). And although the term refers to the seasons – Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall – it can pertain to even changes in what it looks like outside. Our brains are built to believe the information it takes in. If it looks cloudy and dark outside, we gravitate toward feelings of being sad. If it looks bright and sunny, our body loves it and almost automatically feels happy. I am one of those people that has SAD and it wasn’t until adulthood that I learned how to cope.
As a kid, my parents always kept us busy. So when it rained outside in the Fall, it was ok because I was playing soccer and didn’t really notice it. As I grew up and my participation in team sports slowed down, it started to affect me. I didn’t want to let the seasons dictate how I would live my life so I knew I had to change. I had to come up with a plan. That’s what I did and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
The first step in the plan was to always stay busy. If there wasn’t something on my schedule, I would make sure to schedule something. It could be lunch with friends, a movie date or even cleaning my house. The appointment or event didn’t matter. What matters was that I filled my time with something I needed to get done or wanted to do. Now for some, this may seem like it’s too much. Having a lot of things on your calendar may overwhelm you. Heck, schedule a bubble bath if you want. As long as the things you write down are things you enjoy, it won’t seem that way.
The second step in my plan was to listen to thunderstorms. I listened to them on an app on my phone and I played them on a sound machine when I was going to bed. Listening to rain on a tin roof or booms from a thunderstorm helped to numb my senses to the rain. Even playing the sounds in the background helped. I became familiar with these noises and it helped keep me calm. Over time, the quiet, peaceful sound of the rain drops became something I loved. Now, the sound is even enjoyable.
The last step in my plan was to find time to be outside in the rain. Yes, I know it sounds crazy and you’re probably thinking “Jenn, I’m going to get soaked” but it’s not all that bad. When I say be outside in the rain, I’m referring to a lighter rain. One where you won’t get soaked but you’ll be able to feel the drops on your skin. The sensation of feeling the rain touch your face can be refreshing and give you a sense of renewal. For me, it gave me energy and actually woke me up a bit. It helped me remember the fun times I had as a kid playing soccer and getting muddy. And it made me realize that although we can get a little wet, life goes on.
In New England, we can wake up with the forecast showing sun all day but it quickly changes to rain for hours. If you live here, you’ve learned to deal with it. But learning to love it and actually enjoy it is a different story. I challenge you to learn to love the rainy days. Realize that without rain, we wouldn’t have flowers and without flowers, we would have less reasons to smile.