One thing that I’ve always known is that my writing can be…lengthy. That’s the case everywhere for me when it comes to my work, but it’s especially true for this blog. Oftentimes, I’ve written entire posts where I’ve realized that it took me 500 words to get to the point, or worse – that I never actually made the point I was trying to make! Well, not today. I want to be as clear and as blunt as I can be when I say that the weather is straight-up rude to our mental health. Sometimes it impacts it in a negative way, and it’s alright to admit that. Here’s how I know.
If you’re a loyal reader to this blog, you know that I’ve written about how the winter impacts my mental health before. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I love about the wintertime, but like any other part of the year, it’s a love/hate relationship. To recap, the winter does not, by default, have a positive impact on my mental health. Couple that with what can sometimes be a stressful holiday season, and you’ve got a number of reasons why it’s a particularly difficult time.
But here’s the thing: while I read a lot about the winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (with the too-on-the-nose acronym of SAD), I don’t read enough validation about those feelings. Mostly, I see posts about how to ‘get over those winter blues’ and ‘get out of your rut’ – advice that might be coming from a helpful place but is simultaneously invalidating our experiences.
After a warm summer of late sunsets and a cool(ish) autumn with colorful leaves changing, the shift that we face heading into winter can be pretty jarring. It feels like a meme at this point, but there’s so much truth to the sinking feeling of seeing it be pitch black outside at 4:30 in the afternoon. And instead of sprinting to recovery and obsessing over how to get past those feelings, can we say that it’s okay first?
It’s okay if cold weather bothers you, even if you like parts of it. It’s alright to say that the gloomy weather and overall ‘blah’-ness of the clouds makes it look like depression’s escaped us and is hanging out in the atmosphere. There’s nothing wrong with being annoyed that your body is confused and ready for bed before you’ve finished up the work day. Sometimes, things are just meh.
And that’s what I’m here to tell you today. Because even though we might experience these feelings every single year, we’re also different people every single year, which creates new challenges and things to deal with in ways we don’t realize. You should not have to validate how you’re feeling because of weather that you don’t like. Feelings are valid because you are valid. And honestly, that’s all there is to it. If you need me, I’ll be over here being gloomy and relying on the ways I find joy during this time…just like I do every winter.