Rina of Finding Dutchland wrote a great post to help you beat the winter blues. She gives a great explanation of what the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is and how it can affect your well-being. In her post, she gives four tips to help you survive the 8 months of darkness and rain in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the SAD is not a stranger to me, and over the years I’ve developed ways that help me deal with the sad feelings that come with the lack of sun.
1) Go outside whenever you can
The weather doesn’t have to be perfect, and if you’re waiting for sunshine and a clear sky, you’re most likely to spend your autumn and winter at home. Which is a pity because, when you change your definition of good weather from “sunshine” to “no rain”, you’ll get plenty of good days. We use online weather forecast such as buienradar, or the German Wetter Online to check when the weather will be good. Yesterday, we managed to find two breaks between rainshowers and went to the beach- we managed to come back home before it really started to rain! I have come to enjoy going outside when it is colder, especially in the early days of fall to admire the colourful leaves. In a land where sunshine is scarce, every beam of sunshine is precious!
2) Allow yourself some bad days
Now you may eat the right food and spend every day outside and do all the healthy things, but the lack of sunshine and the bad weather can make you upset, sick, groggy and even depressed. As long as it is just for a few days, it’s OK. I believe that some days are just bad and there is nothing you can do to make them better. Instead of fighting this, allow yourself a bad and laugh about it later. Try to be nice to yourself and allow yourself some treats you usually wouldn’t. Stay at home, watch silly movies, and drink hot chocolate. Which brings me to my next point.
3) Find things you enjoy doing
I think the most important thing to do to get you through autumn is finding something to keep your mind occupied and distracted from the cold and dark. It is no coincidence that I signed up for NaBloPoMo in November, the month I hate the most because spending every day on my blog makes me forget how bad the weather is outside. I also like cooking and baking, so that’s what I do to get me through this month. For others, it could be their hobby or their job or something else. Also, even though the weather is so bad, there are always little moments where the sun shines through and makes everything a little better for a while. Try to capture these moments- if only on camera!
4) Find something to look forward to
Because I was afraid that I’ll get the SAD again this time, I wrote a post describing things that I look forward to in autumn. And all these things are great! Now I find myself looking forward to winter ( in my opinion late autumn is worse than winter because at least with the colder weather, you get lots of sunshine and dry air, not to mention the longer days! Also, you can go outside again! I am sure if it gets cold enough, we’ll go out on the canals for some ice skating!
5) Follow rituals or create new ones
I don’t really like daily rituals. The idea of doing the same thing every day seems so boring to me. But I am usually looking forward to annual celebrations and rituals! In the fall, you have Halloween, Thanksgiving, and in Poland we celebrate St. Andrew’s Day. In winter, there is Christmas and New Year. Last year, we watched the whole “Planet Earth” series with K. and we used it especially for rainy days. It was great to have family time together and have the children see animals and landscapes from all over the world! This year, we’re doing it again!
You can find more great tips on IamExpat!
How are you dealing with the Dutch bad weather? Do you get the SAD? How do you deal with it?