Be the Sunshine: Coping with Dreary Days

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I would like to think of myself as usually a glass “half full” kind of individual. But going on seemingly ten days straight without sunshine has sometimes been a challenge. I mean, I can’t be alone in asking- when is that sun coming back out again?! What did we do to offend it? And most importantly, what can we do to lure it back?

Ok, but seriously, we know that Indiana this time of year can be downright tough in terms of the inclement weather and sporadic bouts without sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real for many. Yet, the sooner we embrace strategies to cope with the tough winter and dreary spring days and truly find real sunshine in our family, friendships, jobs, hobbies, and other outlets, the better off we will be.

I’d also like to gently remind us that it’s ok to be sad at times or to feel somewhat like a Debbie Downer when we are not seeing much sunlight. Vitamin D from the sun has real benefits, such as boosting our mood, strengthening our bones, reducing stress levels, and improving our sleep. We are human, and there is validity in the array of emotions we tend to experience in weather that’s not ideal and/or does not include sunlight. Yet, we want to try to outweigh those moments with happier or more pleasant moods and outlooks. Here are some tips to survive those sun-deprived, cold, dreary days!

“If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.”

I love this quote! And it makes sense that despite the icky, rainy, or dark days, we need to keep finding joy in our daily lives and try to exude kindness and positivity as much as possible. What can we do to help others each day? Be sure to acknowledge those around you with good eye contact, perform acts of kindness (no matter how simple, such as opening a door for someone else), and smile as much as possible. This type of behavior is sure to keep you and those around you in better spirits amidst gray days!


Lift weights, walk, do yoga, join a group fitness class or Zumba class, or get active at home with YouTube workout videos. Whatever works for you, rinse and repeat! Everything correlates; when you keep moving, you burn more calories and keep your body healthier than lying on the couch or sitting at a desk all day. Find ways to move. It is so good for your mind and body on many levels.

Get out of the house.

Ok, so it seems like a disparity to mention getting out of the house when the weather is poor and the sun is hiding, but it really can help improve your mood. Even if it’s just walking to the mailbox, getting outside will rejuvenate your mind and body. It’s important to get dressed, stick with your routine and maintain good hygiene so you are not tempted to slug around in pajamas every day and not be as active.

Be mindful of what you are eating.

The Mayo Clinic reports that seasonal depression symptoms may include oversleeping, appetite changes (craving foods high in salt and non-nutrient dense carbs), weight gain and fatigue/tiredness. It is good to be mindful of all the ways we nourish our body, nutritionally/physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and more.

Mix things up.

Mixing things up at times can prove to be sunshine even if the sun is hiding behind the clouds! Maybe with your wardrobe you can try to wear brighter colors or accessories that spice things up. Or maybe grabbing a new book to get “lost in” would help fill your cup. Or perhaps cooking up a delicious dish with a new recipe might brighten up an otherwise “ho hum” day. The littlest changes or additions can make a difference! I recently got my nails painted neon yellow, so every time I look down- instant sunshine! It’s something so small and silly, but it has made me, and some clients, smile more than once.

Hang in there, my fellow fluctuating Indiana weather-following friends. We will see that sunshine again soon and it will be glorious! And we will be sure to never take it for granted, as we know how much it adds an extra spring to our step.


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