The cooler temperatures have stuck around well into the fifth month of this year. Winter stretched on for what seemed much too long, and the cooler temperatures of early spring seem to be overstaying their welcome.
Most mornings this season I have woken up to gray and dreary days. And for whatever reason that dramatically impacts my mood. Even though I am aware of this, I am unable to change it. And that seems makes it worse.
On the flip side, days where I wake up to ribbons of sunlight dancing on my bedroom wall I am simply a better person. My patience is much higher. My energy levels are high. And I’m motivated to make healthy decisions.
How can something like sunlight or the lack of sunlight impact me so much?
It’s frustrating that elements like weather can affect me so much. My mental health is very important to me. And so I need exercises to help me remain healthy on the gray days as well.
Interestingly enough, physically exercising does help my mental health quite significantly. The catch 22 there is that I have to have the mental fortitude to see past my current mood and remember how I feel after working out. When I choose to do that in the morning, it impacts the rest of my day positively. I just have to convince myself to do it.
Reading. Journaling. Writing. Listening to podcasts. Keeping my apartment clean. These things definitely help me, too.
I do very much love sunny days with dramatic light and shadows all around. A cool breeze. But I can’t put so much weight in letting those days impact my mood, either. I set myself up for failure when I do that.
I live in the midwest after all.
Recently my wife was on a walk and talking with one of the newest girls in our home. (We have nine teenagers that now live with us.) The sun was shining, there was a nice light breeze, and there are flowers all around.
My wife made a comment like, “Doesn’t this weather just make you so happy! It’s so beautiful! The smell of the flowers, the warmth of the sunlight, the cool breeze.”
The girl replied, “Not really.”
Kind of shocked, my wife asked, “What weather do you like?”
“I don’t like weather.”
Depression is a daily struggle for many people. When the world seems to lose its colors, people tend to stay in the shadows. We all want to experience the highs of life. Many of us attempt to escape the lows of life through drugs or alcohol.
And yes, you will experience a high that way. It just doesn’t last very long, and the crash back down to the bottom is a hard one.
We want to think that life is made up of mostly highs, but it’s not. But the thing is, life isn’t made up of mostly lows either. Life is mostly in the middle. It’s often…blah. Monotonous. The same stuff every day.
Some of us struggle to live in that middle area. The in-between. We’d rather experience lows or highs than have to live in that middle area every day. But for those of us who find ourselves in that category, much of life is learning how to find rituals and routines that we actually like. Structure that creates environments that we are more likely to notice the little details of life that have meaning if we simply pay attention.
There is a bigger narrative going on behind the everyday routines of our lives. When we start to notice that bigger narrative, I find that our brain starts to be ok with the in-between. Because at first we think the devil is in the details, but with closer inspection we realize that’s where God resides and carries out his daily business.