As a nation, the Irish population love to chat about the weather. It is probably the most common small-talk topic of conversation, which has got me thinking about the weather and how it impacts how I’m feeling, how the rain, shine and everything in between can affect my mood. Here are some thoughts stemming from this.

Sunshine

I love the feeling of the sunshine on my face, the gentle breeze and clear blue skies. Nothing makes me feel more settled and relaxed than a moment like that, until my brain starts chatting and the anxiety kicks in. “I should be doing more, I shouldn’t just be sitting here. I have so much work to do inside, all of the organizing, the emails. Everyone else is out on road trips and going on hikes, I should go for a hike…” The commentary continues to go round and round, with other thoughts thrown in to spice it up, and oftentimes I find myself feeling more drained by the sunshine.

Allowing myself the time and space to relax and enjoy the sunshine can be a personal challenge, mostly for not giving in to the ever-persistent feeling that I need to be productive with my time. Something I have started is reframing my perspective and allowing myself to indulge in the idea that doing nothing is productive, it is allowing me space and time to recharge. This thought process works maybe 1 out of 5 times, but at least it is something.

Rain & Stormy Weather   

I don’t know about you, but I love a good stormy evening. The heavy feeling outside, the rain battering against my window, the sound of the drama, and almost chaos outside. For me, for some reason, I find these experiences incredibly grounding, soothing and I get a sense of safety. Sometimes it’s the idea that it is wilder outside than it is inside my head, other times it is if I can survive this storm, I can survive the storm inside me. I reflect on where I am, what measures I have in place to help me, and see can I use these thoughts to reflect on ways to support what’s going on in my head.

Sitting outside under an awning or some trees while it’s raining, feeling the air and the sense of release and relief from the clouds, the pressure in the atmosphere, all of these I find incredibly grounding.

Now with saying that, there are times where my experience of storms and rain are the complete opposite and I can feel heavier and out of control. Wondering when the rain will end and when can I experience the sunshine again is a feeling I get when I am really struggling with isolation or with what is going on in my mind.

Wind

Swirling, howling, whirling wind. Rustling leaves and knocking trees. The wind can cause such destruction and damage, and yet at certain times of the year, it is greatly welcomed. Windy days can make me feel overwhelmed or that my mind is swirling and I am stuck in my head and overcome by all of the thoughts and feelings. Yet in autumn and winter, a good windy evening helps the trees to shed their dead leaves, ready for spring growth. Similar to this thought, sometimes I feel the wind is a time for me to let go of certain thoughts or feelings I’m holding on to. Let them get caught up in the wind and blow away, dancing in the wind and off into the Atlantic Ocean.

Snow

Curiosity, glee, and excitement are the feelings to first come to mind when I think of snowy days. The perceptions put across to us in movies of how happy snow days make people is something which I think very much impacts on my perception of snow. That, and the fact that it is not the norm for us in Ireland. We are not used to the wonder of snow on a regular basis, so when it is here, I get excited and almost juvenile in wanting to build snow people, throw a snowball at my brother and catch a snowflake. It brings a feeling of joy and contentment to me.

Then comes the annoyance. It has been snowing too long, the floors are wet, it’s more slush than snow, the roads are difficult to drive on, it’s too cold. A far cry from the glee and joy from 24hrs earlier, but it is no less valid of an experience for me.

 

The weather changes in the blink of an eye, especially in Ireland. The good patches where the blue skies seem never-ending, the dark and stormy times when we wonder will the rain ever end. The excitement of something new like snow, or the swirling whirling feelings of the wind. Not only can these experiences happen with the weather, but our mental health and mood can also feel like this. Good periods, rough periods, and everything in between. Each of these experiences are valid.

Rain or shine, the team at Galway Community Café is here to chat in person, on the phone or by video call if you want to reach out.

 

Until next time,

Rachel