When I was writing my relocation book, I interviewed a psychologist to get the official mental health professional perspective. To my surprise, she talked about challenges newcomers face with (of all things) weather.
I’ve always had a hard time with bitter cold. Two years in Alaska and 5 years in Manitoba — and I still won’t drive in snow.
But this week I realized the power of the weather in a different way. Seattle enjoyed a mini heat wave…just a few days but I lost a couple nights sleep. That put everything back…and then I was stumbling around doing dumb things…and had to spend *more* time undoing them.
Yesterday I was waiting to cross a street when a well-dressed man asked, “Is the weather always like this?”
I felt like saying, “Go see Sleepless in Seattle. The state symbol is the raindrop.”
But instead I mumbled something about how rare this weather was. That’s why, I explained, so few places are air conditioned. My apartment building is one of the nicer ones in Lower Queen Anne. So we have washers and dryers but no a/c. For 362 days a year–no problem.
“I’m from Palm Springs,” he said, shaking his head. California people still think they’re superior to the rest of the West Coast.
A recent article in Psychology Today argues that, “there is surprisingly little evidence that climate has any reliable impact on mood or mental health.” The author explains that most of us adapt really well. Minnesotans, he says, know how to enjoy the cold weather. They go ice-skating and skiing.
The truth is, some people do not adapt well. They decide to move to a different climate…or they remain and feel miserable. Some never adapt, just as I never learned to drive in snow.
When I. talk to people who are having trouble staying motivated, I often find they’re living in a place that doesn’t suit them. Sometimes it’s cultural, but sometimes it’s the weather.
When I consulted with clients about careers, I’d suggest they keep a journal of productive they were over a period of time. Each day, estimate your productivity score. Notice what you were able to do on a particular day. And make a note of the weather.
Do you notice a difference from one day to the next? Some people do…others don’t notice weather at all.