How the weather affects your mood (and what to do about it)
The curtains were shut in winter to keep the heat in – now the curtains are shut to keep the sun out. And our mental health is taking a big hit with the extremes that life throws at us.
Similar to Goldilocks and the three bears – our body seeks the right temperature – if not, we become grumpy bears. But there is some science behind our moods and the weather:
Under 10 degrees Celsius sees us hibernating.
Up to 21 degrees Celsius our mood is lifted, and our body is happy.
Long periods in the sun over 21 degrees Celsius saps energy and puts us into cave mode.
But hot weather can also lead to a lack of sleep, and with so much light – our bodies struggle to rest. And that causes a whole world of body changes that you might not know about.
In a nutshell – it messes with everything – from your weight to your stress levels. No wonder we get irritable.
The body clock is a real thing – The Circadian Clock
And when people say body clock – we do have an internal clock – it’s called our Circadian Clock. It turns out we have two tickers we need to look after – who knew?
When it’s light, and you can’t sleep, your Circadian Clock goes wonky – not regulating the correct level of hormones like cortisol and melatonin. They are very important for supporting your mental wellbeing.
Melatonin – regulates cells, body temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, and body weight.
Cortisol – regulates stress, blood sugar, inflammation, metabolism, and memory.
So if you haven’t slept well, spend a lot of time indoors during the day, or have too much light in your home when you need to sleep – it could impact your well-being. Over and above feeling a bit tired and irritable – medical implications can also make you feel unwell (always visit a GP with any medical concerns).
How to stabilise your mood in hot weather
So what can you do to bring back the calm during hot days and clammy nights?
There are obvious things like staying in the shade, closing your curtains, and drinking plenty of water.
But the key is actually trying to get a rhythm back in that internal body clock too.
Being tired enough to go to sleep – this can mean exercising when it’s cooler in the evening (as long as this is safe), not doom scrolling social media close to bedtime (as this prevents melatonin which makes you sleepy), and opening the windows and turning the lights off (to avoid bugs) for a cool night’s sleep.
It’s also worth noting that you’re more likely to snap at someone in hot weather – everyone’s fuse is shorter. So if you add that to existing financial or personal problems, emotions can be frazzled.
Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might need some extra kindness to get you through the hot days. This might mean fitting in more short breaks for a drink and consciously breathing correctly (golden thread breath is good) – taking mental breaks.
If you need any support with your mental well-being, The AoC Trust is here to help. We have a number of charity projects you might be able to access for therapy or alternatively, we provide private therapy. Contact us on 01384211168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.