I cannot even count the number of clients who have come in complaining of the winter blues! We here in NE Ohio have received very little snow; however our rainy days are more than I’ve ever seen in the rainy month of April. Rain, even thunderstorms, and lots of gray days. My clients report feeling more depressed and hard to get started to doing anything. I have tried to put together a “rainy day kit” of stuff to do. Different activities both inside and outside, how to take advantage of this weather and believe it or not, with encouragement and support my clients are outside walking, getting those feel good hormones going. They report feeling a little bit better, I’ll take it !!!!!!!!!! A little bit is better than nothing.
I think the weather is definitely different this year than most other years and we need to be creative and work with the weather because we can’t change it !!! As a matter of fact our radio just said we will be getting a thunderstorm then it will turn over to a rain/snow mix then to all snow. People are confused by this weather, but if you have clients who are negative about the weather, try to get creative and work with the client to get active. They can do things indoors, like exercise, cleaning, picking out a hobby, creative activities like parents and children sitting down together to make a family puzzle or bringing out the old dusty board games instead of video games.
One of my clients devoted rainy days to movie and pizza night. Another depressed patient put on her coat and hat and started walking around her trailer park and she met people to stop over and have coffee and lunch with, she said she hasn’t felt this good in a long time. When the clients complain about the weather try not to give in and say yes it is lousy…. Put your creative thinking cap on and come up with something for that client to try. I have another depressed client who started mall walking… walking around the mall just for the exercise not to shop and his depression is getting better !!
I hope everyone can gain some encouragement from this blog because I know it’s tough for all of us during this kind of weather.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder