Under the weather

Sunday, 27 May 2018

As we are soon going to bid goodbye to the sweltering summer, and welcome the monsoon, here’s a look at how the weather has an impact on your moods, and how you can make the most of this nature’s cycle to keep yourself up and about

Had a tiring, sweaty day, travelling across the city and dealing with the heat, humidity and exhaustion? Does it leave you irritated and fuming at the end of the day? Not surprising at all. The weather outside and our moods often go hand-in-hand, consciously or subconsciously.

Especially with the advent of Global Warming, seasons are getting extreme. “We just saw how the heat every summer is gradually getting worse. This year, we experienced a high that we hadn’t experienced previously. As our bodies are not used to these high temperatures, it is obvious for many of us to get irritated, frustrated, and anger levels to go up,” explains Darsha Gandhi Mehta, director of FUDOL Therapies, a holistic healing centre for people with physical, mental and emotional disturbances. 

As we stand at the crossing between the Indian summer and monsoon, here’s how these seasons affect our moods.

“You will see some changes in your moods, feel sad and low on self-esteem when your body is fatigued and you are likely to face health challenges as your body and mind are not used to the extreme changes in this weather,” she adds.

Archana Iyer, a communications professional from Mumbai, says that she loves the winters for this very reason. “Even if it’s the afternoon time, the winds are pleasant. Also, it’s the time when you get really good apples, berries and guavas. Not to forget all the amazing festivals around that time,” she says of her upbeat mood during the winters.

Ideally, the sun is associated with serotonin, or the happy hormone. If there’s no sunlight for a long period of time, it’s likely to make people gloomy, says Chaitra Suratkal, city-based psychologist. “Lack of sunlight lowers the serotonin level in the body, resulting in a gloomy mood. So exposure to sunlight certainly does have an effect on people’s moods. However, excess of it can be bad too. Intense heat from the sun can have a negative impact on your mood,” she says.

During the winters, Iyer says, there is no or minimal sweat! “That’s a boon winter brings along. Summer kind of makes me frustrated. Especially this year. There’s not been a single day when I haven’t bathed thrice. It’s been a furnace this year. Monsoon, though I enjoy it, the muck and water-logged roads make me super irritated too,” she explains why she loves winters the most.

“Too much heat tends to make you aggressive, especially when there is an element of humidity, like in cities such as Mumbai, Chennai etc,” elaborates Suratkal, adding that it is a result of physical and mental exhaustion. Jacob Fernandes* from Pune agrees. He says that since he anyway has major temper issues, extreme deviation in the weather works negatively for him. “My effectiveness at work goes down. My communication with family and friends gets affected and I tend to become a very irritable person if there’s too much heat and no ventilation,” he admits.

While the weather is not in our control, we must do what we can, says Suratkal. For instance, “try and get out of home early and reach your office space before it gets too hot in the summers,” she advises. 

Another important aspect is that of sleep and food, she points. “If you sleep for 7-8 hours a day, it should keep you in good physical and mental state, and not let the weather play too much havoc with your mood. Also, eat the food that’s right for the weather,” she stresses.

Also, you must get your body and mind accustomed to changes in weather, says Mehta. “Give yourself 15 minutes early in the morning to meditate, pray, clear your negative thoughts and fill yourself with all the positive and self-loving thoughts. Drink water regularly and eat a light dinner,” she suggests.

Mehta also says that simple techniques like listening to motivating or soothing music, watching comedy shows or reading inspiring books can also work wonders for your self-esteem and self-confidence if it’s dipping low due to the weather. “If you do not feel better within a few days of practising these, you must go check yourself with a psychologist,” she cautions.

Self-affirming statements like ‘I am able to cope up with the weather changes’ and ‘I am going to have the best day today’ will also help you in coping with the extreme weather conditions, she rounds up.

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