Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weathering the Weather

Mother Nature is laughing maniacally at those of us on the northeast coast right now. We went from bitter cold temperatures for days on end, to an ice storm, to a twenty degree thaw, to a further jump of twenty degrees combined with rain. And the fluctuation is set to continue over the next few days, though it looks to settle down somewhat after the weekend.

I hate weeks like this, because I'm one of those people whose mood is at least marginally affected by extreme weather changes- temperatures, humidity, air pressure. I bet a lot of you out there are affected similarly to one degree or another (pun intended). When the weather shifts, I feel moody and sometimes even depressed for at least a day. Although I anticipate it (I'm an avid weather-watcher, especially in winter), it's shocking every time.

I've never understand why people get emotional responses to weather changes. I know I'm not the only one out there, because I've had this conversation several times: "Everyone seems so miserable today." "It must be the weather. Change in pressure." Or, "I just didn't even want to get out of bed this morning, and I don't know why." "Probably the humidity. A big storm is coming."

To be clear, I'm not talking about Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a diagnosable ailment brought on by the weak sun of winter and can often be treated with vitamin D. Lack of sun causes a dip in certain brain chemicals. There's a clear relationship between nature and human in the case of S.A.D.

But I don't understand why a high-pressure system, an impending thunderstorm, or a sudden spike in temperature can cause similar depression. My only theory is that for prehistoric (wo)man, wild weather swings caused major life disruptions. They were unable, for the most part, to forecast the weather, so extreme changes were a surprise. It might have necessitated moving camp or staying inside and losing hunting time. Valuable areas of land might have been flooded, and nomadic shelters destroyed. These sudden disruptions were bound to create havoc in hunter-gatherer societies. Maybe, as with so many strange physiological phenomenons, humans haven't gotten over that feeling of being shaken up or tricked by Mother Nature. Maybe it's my prehistoric ancestors who are causing me to feel low on a day like today.

If you, like me, are just trying to chase the clouds away, keep your head above water, or wait for lightening to strike (all puns intended) here are some things that can help you weather the weather:

Greasy Chinese food
Chick flicks (or action flicks, if that's your thing)
Taking naps
Reading or re-reading a fun book (I'm in the middle of Confessions of a Shopaholic)
Calling a friend
Taking a hot bath
Dressing in clothes completely inappropriate for the weather, but indoors, i.e. crank the heat up and wear a bathing suit and flip flops (my best friend used to do this in the dead of winter, and I always thought it was pretty cool)

The nice thing about mini weather depressions is that it'll always pass, and things will eventually get sunny inside and out.


  1. Highs have been in the 70s in lovely Texas. For us winter lovers that is just wrong. So we crank the AC, put on hoodies and winter clothes, and watch hockey :-)

  2. Must be genetic. Wasn't the first thing your father did when you went to a hotel was check the Weather Channel?