Breaking Through the Clouds

April 28, 2011

When I walked out my door this morning heading to work, I understood what Noah must have felt like after the flood.  The sight of dry land and the sun breaking through the clouds was a most welcome change after days upon days (what seemed like an etenity) of gray skies, thunderstorms, and even tornados.  As this video depicts, one of the most peaceful spots in Memphis, the Greenline, was literally underwater. 

Thousands of people across the South (including my parents) are still without power.  And to make matters worse, our neighbors to the southeast in Tuscaloosa, Alabama suffered unspeakable losses at the hands of turbulent weather earlier this week.  It’s really pretty depressing.

I know, I know, not the most upbeat opening for a blog post.  But my point is that all of these gray clouds and bad news have made it very difficult for me to stay motivated and be productive recently.  It’s been very tempting to just crawl under the covers in my pajamas and try to forget about the copious amounts of schoolwork that must get done in the next week and a half before I graduate.  And the responsibilities that await me as a new homeowner.  And our upcoming vacation for which I’ve made basically no plans. 

Then again, maybe it’s just me.  Contradicting conventional wisdom, a 2008 study by researchers in Germany showed that there may not be a scientific link between weather and mood.  The study found that day-to-day changes in the weather like temperature, wind, sunlight, and preciptation do not have a signficant effect on positive mood.  (That is not to say, however, that mood disorders like seasonal affective disorder do not exist.  I don’t want to get in trouble with my husband, the psychologist.)

But fear not, friends.  Brain and Body writer Rich Maloof stresses (no pun intended) that most of us are not powerless against the weather and can take proactive steps to break through the emotional clouds that prevent us from being productive:

  • Do things that make you feel good, like listening to uplifting music
  • Relax your body by meditating or through exercise
  • Take advantage of the sunny days to help you recharge your emotional batteries

Good thing it was sunny and beautiful today in Memphis because my batteries need serious recharging if I am going to make it to the grad school finish line.

Do you ever get in a weather-related productivity funk?  How do you snap yourself out of it?

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