Weather Impacts How We Feel — But Why?

An investigation into the emotionality of seasons.


On the first gray day of the fall season, you can spot the jump in my step from a mile off. It’s like something inside me turns on, reminds me of who I am, where I’m standing, that air exists, that I exist. Colder months make me giddy; they feel like home.

“I hate winter,” Kate from South Carolina told me. “It’s like a switch goes off in me and I get super tired, moody and sad.”

I’ve long considered my predilection for fall to be somewhat logical. There’s a reason we call nice feelings “the warm and fuzzies.” Staying in is easy; going out is hard. Big pants are comfortable; jean shorts aren’t. Colder weather is cozy; hot air’s a metaphor for bullshit.

According to the universe in which I’m the protagonist, these things aren’t up for debate. But in the real world, for every person whose muscles relax when it’s gloomy, like mine, there’s another whose contract, like Ana’s.

“I feel like I’m constantly clenching my whole body,” she told me when I asked how she felt about the cold. (She lives in London.) “My skin is dry, my hair is dull. Everything takes forever and it’s hard doing anything spontaneously. Winter also makes being single/feeling lonely so much worse.”

Bex lives in London, too, but she feels the opposite of Ana, citing warm weather as a precipitant for social pressure. “In summer, you can hear all the fun-havers outside and you feel lonely and forgotten and left out,” she says. “There is a safety in the cold. It’s okay to stay indoors and keep to yourself and not feel like you are left out of the party.”

I’m often with Bex; the excuse to stay in when it’s cold brings me comfort, whereas doing so in the summer incites guilt. The more women I asked for their seasonal preferences, the vaster the spectrum grew, with pools of passionate people on either end, making the case for an emotional argument we would never settle.

“Winter feels much more closed off and isolated. Layers of clothes and cold separate me from everything,” said Victoria from Oklahoma.

“I feel more expressive and open in the winter. I experience a sensation of being exposed by a blinding summer sun, but in the winter a bit of gloom comforts me,” said Katherine from Georgia, in direct opposition.

“I am a night owl who works best when it feels like nobody else is around. I become a lot more productive in the winter because I start working earlier,” said Grace in Missouri.

“Mostly [winter] affects my productivity levels since when it gets dark, I intrinsically feel like the day is winding down,” countered Sarah in Boston.

Weather gets flack for being a safe topic that fuels small talk, but for many people, it can have serious physiological effects. In the mild, a general months-long grumpiness, in the extreme, major depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, a.k.a. SAD, isn’t just a cute synonym for the winter blues. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s “a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.” It’s not considered its own disorder, but rather a form of depression that consistently cycles with the weather. Per NIMH, people who experience SAD may have trouble regulating serotonin, the hormone melatonin or Vitamin D during the winter months.

I usually get happier during colder weather because it becomes more socially acceptable to spend time alone.

On the other end, there’s the 2014 study by JAMA that suggests suicide rates increase as hours of sunlight do — and spike in the springtime every year. Michelle Riba, MD, professor and associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, attributes this to the exact phenomenon Bex from London pointed out earlier. “[S]eeing cheery people all around you is a constant reminder that others are having a good time when you aren’t,” Dr. Riba told CNN.

Social interaction was a particularly polarizing topic among the women I spoke with. “I love the winter season,” said Sam in South Dakota. “The pressure of the ‘bikini bod’ is gone and I don’t feel as much FOMO. I’m a big homebody and the idea of having a whole week home to just work on projects, nest and cook is my dream.”

Becca in California agrees: “I usually get happier during colder weather because it becomes more socially acceptable to spend time alone, stay inside and read.”

On the other end, cold weather for many signals an overwhelming sense of dread. “I’ve had depression all my life but it always gets worse in the winter,” Jasmine in London told me. “It’s the winding down of a year and I constantly over-stress about how little I feel I’ve achieved.”

Aynsley has a similar experience in Nova Scotia, Canada: “It’s really more of an augmented and more predictable version of my overall depression. It gets dark early here (around 4:30) and it says dark until 7:45 a.m. It feels like there is so little time in the day, that the feeling of ‘I’m useless’ is made stronger.”

And then there’s Megan in California, who experiences the inverse: “The second I hear rain, or even spot a puffy gray cloud in the sky, my mood changes — for the better. I feel more productive when it rains and also genuinely feel more connected to the rest of the world.”

The only prevailing theme across the answers was how differently people respond to seasonal changes. The emotions may be the same: sadness, loneliness, malaise, laziness…but their catalysts were as liable to be heat and sweat as they were cold and shivers. I was reminded, the more I heard, of the introvert/extrovert binary our culture’s become so enamored by. The summer/winter spectrum seems, if not perfectly correlated, at least adjacent.

When the sun sets earlier it’s like my happiness faucet just stops dripping joy.

But just as I started to feel that summer was an extrovert’s paradise and winter an introvert’s one, I noticed other personality quirks popping up as influencers, sometimes those that were in direct contrast to sociability. Zeynep from Istanbul, for instance, enjoys the comfort of winter, and thinks the summer is less social.

“I feel so much happier when it’s colder,” she said. “I feel like this entire season is a big hug which consists of layers of clothing, textures and sweaters…I don’t like summer, I can’t stand heat and everything that comes with it. Dressing up is harder, and people are barely in town during the same period of time.”

Savannah in Brooklyn echoed her sentiment: “I overheat and sweat so much in the summer it makes me irritable and anxious. I love fall/winter clothes and feeling all cozy wrapped up in sweaters and scarves.”

And on the point of bodily comfort, where Sam from South Dakota earlier said winter relieved the pressure of the “bikini bod,” Danielle from Queens said summer is what helps her body image: “I always feel more motivated in the summer. I believe it directly correlates with how I diet and my body weight fluctuates with the seasons. I think my winter sadness stems from not feeling 100% with my body.”

My inability to map certain characteristics to certain seasonal preferences may have surprised me, but I was more taken aback to learn just how many people experience SAD. And not just as a manifestation of summer scaries, but as a very real threat to their mental stability.

“I am very nervous for this winter gloom and how it is going to affect my well-being and mental health,” said Alexis in New York. “It’s like going through a rough path — you just can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until you’re out of the tunnel.”

“I run on empty this time of year. I hear myself, and others say it too: ’empty,'” said Olivia in Nashville.

“I’m a generally hopeful person who likes to jump out of bed in the morning,” said Halina in Boston, “but when the sun sets earlier it’s like my happiness faucet just stops dripping joy.”

Clearly there’s a wealth of vulnerability hidden beneath our weather small-talk — much more than we’re willing to unpack on elevators. But maybe we’d benefit from doing so. For Natalie in New York, being more accepting about her winter sadness has give her hope: “I am profoundly impacted by SAD every year around September/October… This year I’ve committed to embracing the dull, lingering sadness that comes with fall instead of trying to fight it. And ironically, I feel much better this year than usual.”

Perhaps she can try to see the world through Avi in Munich’s eyes: “There’s this infinite calmness about winter — darker skies, falling snow, less people outside — that leaves me at peace.”

As for me, after all my whining about weather-talk, I plan to be a more empathetic conduit going forward. So let’s talk about the weather. How does it make you feel? And what do you do to combat it?

Feature image by Krista Anna Lewis, originally shot for this 2015 MR story about becoming a morning person.

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  • Bmo

    I feel like I’m okay as long as the weather is what it “should” be. I live in Wisconsin and the high today is 60 degrees! In December!! That’s the kind of thing I don’t understand/can’t deal with.

    What also helps me not hate winter is I usually get to work around 6:30 and I’m out by 3, so I at least get to enjoy SOME sunlight. It’s definitely a lot harder when it’s dark on your way to and from work.

  • Rebekah Jane

    As someone who not only has SAD but was raised by a parent with it as well, winter is the worst for us. Add to it our genetic iron deficiencies and we’re just a cold, sad, sleepy mess until spring. No wonder we overcompensate with Christmas decorations!

    Of course, my husband rejoices the second the first leaf falls and is completely grouchy that we’re having 60 degree days in Georgia in December.

  • Adrianna

    I’ve dealt with this both at work and home this year. My department was seated in a very dark part of the office, and I walked around feeling physically ill for a few months before we were relocated. It got to a point where I was actively looking for a new job. I also searched for an apartment with my boyfriend for the first time, and many apartments in our desired Brooklyn neighborhood turned out to be in old, dark buildings. Both my manager and boyfriend don’t experience anything like SAD and responded as if I was overreacting or high-maintenance.

    I’ve learned that I have to explicitly say that my health depends upon lighting conditions. I’ve also started feeling nauseous in poorly lit rooms, and I wonder if that’s connected to the vertigo I experienced after a minor head injury.

    • Hannah Laub

      I work in a small, windowless office and am SHOCKED at how I am the only person here who is genuinely depressed by it. Now that it gets dark before I leave work, I go from dark hobbit hole to dark outside world. It’s a nightmare.

      • Adrianna

        My first full time job was in a small, windowless office and it was awful! And I was the only one seated facing a wall.

  • Catherine Schepp

    I am 100% one of the extroverted summer lovers you write about. My friends are always shocked to learn how much I love when the temps hover between 85 and 105 degrees. In the summer I’m a super chatty, sun-obsessed night owl. In the winter I tend to forget to exercise, lose my appetite, feel tempted to bail on all the plans, feel generally super anxious, and fall asleep early on the couch three nights a week. I’m working on accepting the winter gloom I feel and have tried a couple of new tactics to combat it. 1. I realized that my loss of body confidence is tied to losing my tan so I’m shamelessly using Natural Glow moisturizer for the first time ever. 2. I wear head to toe black all winter long. That’s depressing. So I used rent the runway to snag this jacket for the next month and I’m already feeling better and more jazzed for the approaching cold temps.

    Thanks for writing this article to shed light on the various ways weather impacts people. I feel more sympathy now for people who “hate summer” than I did before and feel a bit less alone in my non-diagnosable seasonal issues.

  • LS

    I love fall because it always feels like time for a fresh start, but I have minor SAD, so that only lasts until the first week of November when I leave the office one day and it’s already dark out and then I’m depressed until around mid-May. The start of spring is always hard for me because I feel like there are so many expectations to be happy and go out and do things. By mid-May I’m usually up for doing that and then I start to feel better, but April just feels like too much pressure. I actually prefer cold weather to heat but because of the light, I feel much better in the summer.

  • Catherine Schepp

    I always attributed my love of hot sunny weather to the fact that I was born on a day that was 102 degrees in North Carolina. This article made me realize that my extreme extroversion may be a better explanation.

    This winter has been the first that I’ve taken healthy steps to combat my winter blues. In the past I’ve obsessively gone to hot Baptiste power yoga without adjusting my diet accordingly (NOT healthy). This year I’m using more Jergens Natural Glow and just rented a pink fur bomber jacket to bring my summer swagger into the winter time. Leisurely weekend bike rides and runs through Rock Creek Park have also been helping me appreciate more winter sunshine. Best of luck to all the other ladies (and gents) out there dealing with winter grumpiness!

  • 1/3 of Finland is within Arctic Circle, so… greetings from complete darkness. It’s not the cold air but the DARKNESS that gets me. In the north of the country the sun does not rise at all (polar nights) so I really can’t complain, but having barely six hours of sunlight a day makes you want to hibernate at times.

    • Adrianna

      I was offered the opportunity to follow my boyfriend to Stockholm, and the weather seriously deterred me. I wouldn’t have had a job upon arrival, and I was very concerned about my ability to find my bearings while managing the weather and seasonal depression.

      Unrelated, I took a holiday to Kiruna/arctic circle in February this year. Cool experience! We were one of the few people who vigilant about waking up at sunrise, instead of sleeping in until noon.

      • Having snow makes it so much better because of the illusion of having something sunlike and bright lighting everything up! Unfortunately we’ve had much less snow in the south but the darkness remains just the same.

        BUT as a devoted homebody I think I manage these times pretty well. Or then it’s the fact that I tend to fly away to Africa during the darkest time to recharge.

      • Matthew

        I recently moved to Gothenburg, West of Sweden. I’m from London and as it’s pretty low down the weather isn’t too different, but I know that in Stockholm it isn’t THAT dark. People love to dramatise how cold/pitch black it is before and when you arrive in Sweden as an expat, but from experience I can tell you it’s not so awful. Little things like taking a Vitamin D supplement every day and regular exercise always help me 🙂

        • Adrianna

          I visited Stockholm in February and it wasn’t that bad. It’s nighttime at 5pm in NYC. My boyfriend found the summer daylight more jarring.

  • I fully agree with these sentences, “I don’t like summer, I can’t stand heat and everything that comes with it. Dressing up is harder, and people are barely in town during the same period of time.”

    I think fall and winter are times to nest and spend more quality time with friends and family. PLUS, cashmere sweaters, big socks, woodstove fires, etc.

  • Kristi Ellis

    “Hot air’s a metaphor for bullshit” lolololol amen

    • Lisa

      Yes, and “frigid” literally translates to “showing no friendliness or enthusiasm” – that or a woman who can’t get sexually aroused. Either way…

  • jr

    I find winter hard because it’s so wet & chilly and I don’t want to be outside in it. I heard this saying ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad outerwear’ and invested in good outerwear & base layers. So I make myself get outside at least every other week to the mountains to go snowshoeing in the bright snow. Even if it’s overcast or I’m walking in mist, I’m choosing to be outside and the exercise helps my moods 🙂 oh and vit D and looking after my iron levels, and wearing base layers under everything until March / April. And learning to love the sound of the rain – because we’ll it’s Vancouver. This city isn’t that friendly – but constant rain can do that to the cheeriest of people! Having to deal with downpours makes going out so much more difficult

    • Adrianna

      ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad outerwear’

      Truth. Wear leggings underneath jeans for the first time was life-changing (why doesn’t anybody tell you to do this??)

      I went to NYU in NYC, and it’s amazing how many girls from California refused to wear proper clothing despite complaining about the weather. My boyfriend pokes fun that he has to wait for me to finish putting on “my things” before leaving restaurants and coffee shops.

      I had the opportunity to travel to the Arctic Circle this year, and I was mostly okay. It just took forever to get dressed to go to the separate bathroom cabin.

      • LS

        The leggings under jeans thing is huge. I first figured it out when I worked in a hospital. Scrubs are thin and I took public transportation to work so I needed another layer or my legs would freeze on my way to work. And then I realized I should be doing that with all my pants and now I won’t leave the house in the winter without my base layer of leggings.

  • Madeline C

    For me it doesn’t have to do with the temperature, it is the darkness gets me. I like warm weather, I like cold weather and I love living somewhere where both exists but neither in extremes because it’s fun to transition between lifestyles/clothes for me. However, living in the Northwest we will often go weeks/months without sighting the sun in the winter (think 2-4 months straight of rain and cloud cover). It destroys my productivity, my energy level, and my resilience to challenges.

    As a side note: For all you ladies out there that suffer in the winter because of the darkness I HIGHLY recommend one of those alarm clocks that wake you up with light. I finally pulled the trigger thinking to myself “even if it helps a little it will be worth it because waking up in the pitch darkness trying to pull myself out of bed has become the type of personal challenge I loathe myself for because I can’t seem to just do better at it no matter now much I try” anyway long story short, it has made this fall transition much much much easier.

    • Celina

      Totally agree re: cold not being the problem. It’s the darkness, both because of short days and because of overcast skies. *sigh*

    • gracesface

      I have one of those alarm clocks and I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE it. Love it.

    • Charlie

      Agreed – the darkness makes me a complete different person. I wish it didn’t but it has such a big effect on me. Thank you for the tip! I’m going to look into one of those alarm clocks!

      PS. Any tips on which one to buy?

      • Madeline C

        I just went with the cheapest Phillips brand one (Philips Wake-Up Light HF3500) because I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not. It is super basic but it works! Pro tip, if you get this one or similar, make sure to turn down the display clock brightness haha, I had it so bright and thought it was way too annoying until I realized you could dim it.

    • rosefivefold

      I used to live in the NW and loved the darkness. I now live in warm and sunny Georgia and can’t wait to move someplace cold and dark. It’s as bad as Florida with the sunshine and heat.

  • Rachel

    I’ve been suffering from SAD since the summer this year because it literally rained all summer in Ottawa!!! Summer in Ottawa doesn’t start until June anyways but this year it was like we had 3 nice weeks in September and that was it, then straight into winter again. Canadians seriously like to complain about the weather for good reason.
    Winter is so grey and I feel so uninspired, especially fashion wise when all I can wear is sweaters and jeans (I’d rather wear pants but they look weird tucked into winter boots.) I crave sunshine and I hate being cold. But even worse is when you have to dress warmly because it’s -20C outside but then you come inside to a shop or something and start sweating and there is nothing you can do about it.

    Everyone’s feelings are valid and SAD is very real but come on! South Carolina! I’ve been there in the winter and it is beautiful! Talk to be when you’re buried under 6 feet of snow.

  • Emily

    I actually love the cold, and being inside and cozy, but also experience a low level of SAD. It’s usually really sneaky until I’m like, why am I sobbing while watching Elf? (a true event that occurred last winter) It’s weird both loving the season and struggling with this, my only solution is to make the most of the coziness, winter activities, and festivities in order to counterbalance it

  • Julia

    Ahh one of the hardest things mentioned here is the aspect of loneliness and being single during the winter! I’ve had my fair share of lonely, single winters in Seattle. I tried to enjoy the opportunities to read and study more, force myself to go on a hike in the rain anyways, and generally maintain the “don’t need no man” attitude.

    … But now I’m in a wonderful loving relationship and I can honestly say, I don’t feel even a hint of the Winter Bummer. My inner resolute feminist is very conflicted by this – but I’m trying to just embrace happiness wherever I find it.

    • Eliza

      Don’t let enjoying another persons company and place in your life make you feel like a bad feminist! It’s always nice to have someone around who loves you – no matter who it is (best friend, mom, dad, mentor, significant other, whatever).

      • Julia

        Warm, fuzzy advice for a warm and cozy season. Thank you!!

  • Lourdes Martin

    I love winter! I just love spending the time at home – in the summer there is so much pressure to go out and it seems like any given day i feel like i need to be outside due to the “nice weather”. Great article!



  • Daniel Szilagyi

    I live in a place where it rains like 3/4 of the entire year and we regularly get like weeks of cloudy, grey days that seem to offer no sunlight for a long time.
    It’s not cold compared to the rest of the country but it’s wet, and damp and it can chill you to the bone on some days.
    I mean i don’t love it, it is what it is. My mom does suffer from SAD and will often travel to warmer, drier climates to help make herself feel better.
    I also believe generally if it’s colder you’re less likely to walk outside as much or be active so cold places = more unhealthy people for the most part would seem true to me.

    Other crappy thing about winter is the fact that no one tends to wear much colour, i try and splash some colour with things like my hat, shoes or whatever but people on transit usually consist of grey, black, brown and other earth and muted colours which also isn’t the best.

  • I’m from a warm town at the Mediterrenean sea and never felt SAD till I lived in colder cities. These days are specially cold in Barcelona – yeah, for me 2C is cold – and I definitely see the impact in my mood and behavior. I’m much more excited, motivated and happy when it’s warm outside. My boyfriend even changes habits. In summer he sports, he’s more willing to go out and he plays music all the time, while in winter he’s at home, gaming 24/7, and he’s from Belgium!! I don’t understand how people can prefer cold…

  • Celina

    The “transitional seasons”—fall and spring—are generally my favorite. They have such distinctive smells and make me pleasantly nostalgic for something-I-know-not-what, exactly.

  • “I usually get happier during colder weather because it becomes more socially acceptable to spend time alone, stay inside and read.”
    Becca from California, I feel you !

  • Danielle Cardona Graff

    “When the sun starts setting earlier it’s like my happiness faucet just stops dripping joy.” Exactly me.

    • Danielle Cardona Graff

      Followed by when the temperature drops. 🙁

  • gracesface

    When I lived on the east coast, I spent most of my 4 years in a snowy place bitching about the cold, the snow, the darkness. It just made everything harder. It made me feel bummed for sure and after I slipped on my way to dig out my car (again!!) out of the snow my senior year I swore I would move away to a warmer climate. Well, six years later (one in California, five in Texas) and until this January I hadn’t seen snow this whole time! Or really spent more than two weeks in 30 degree temps. Buuuuuuuut now I’m kind of missing it. I’m missing distinct seasons (both Halloween and Thanksgiving in Texas are warm weather, t-shirt & shorts weather), brisk weather, and wearing like all the sweaters/jeans/jackets. I alleviated some of this by taking on a second job at a grocery store in the cold room cutting fruit (it’s like 37 – 40 degrees) lol. Summer has gotten to be just as bad for me as winter used to be – when it’s 90 – 105 each day it’s just hard to do stuff! So I relish the spring months and the fall months (it was 80 here!) and go for hikes and try, try to keep the a/c off and enjoy it. But I think I’ll be heading back to snow country at some point.

  • I consider myself more of an introvert but I’m 100% a summer girl. I’m very sensitive to cold so it only takes a few minutes of being outside in the winter for my entire body to tense up to the point it’s painful and for my extremities to get dumb. I layer up like crazy (I’m talking tights with wool knee highs under my pants and OTK boots) and have good winter coats but it still doesn’t help. Depends on the temperature, of course, but that’s generally how I feel if it’s under 10 degrees celsius (sorry Americans). Ironically, I live in Canada. On the other hand I do very well in the heat. My body feels relaxed and comfortable. 30 degrees celsius is ideal for me.
    I don’t necessarily get depressed in the winter but going outside is just a million times more enjoyable for me in the summer when I don’t have to worry about being cold.

  • missmg

    I totally agree with Bex, I live alone in an Apartment and when the sun is up in summer I do not want to be at home, I also live in a coastal city and have this constant urge to watch the sunset. Anxiety, FOMO and SAD kicks in really bad during the summer months of which we have about 7.

  • Hannah Laub

    I live in LA and 80 degree days in December are absolute garbage. That being said, grey and darkness make me instantly depressed. Leaving the office in the dark makes me feel like I’ve been robbed of time. I had an emotional breakdown in college during my first winter in NY, and didn’t know why until my advisor, who was from Pakistan and understood the “girl from a Mediterranean climate moves to a place with seasons” thing, looked at me and was like “Have you heard of SAD?” Unending grey weather is the devil incarnate. Fuck everything from January through March.

  • If you experience SAD like I do, my father recommends upping your vitamin D intake.

    I could do without the short shorts and all that but my body feels so much better during warmer months. I feel like I’m constantly contracting my muscles when I’m cold and I generally feel a lot more achy and tight because of it. My Nonno and Nonna spend January to March every year at my family’s apartment in Florida and my Nonno will walk 2 miles everyday. If he walks more than like 30 yards here his leg hurts.

    On the other hand, I do love that there isn’t as much pressure to go out when it’s colder. I remember feeling this way when I was younger about the rain. I loved that it gave me an excuse to lay in bed and do nothing. I still feel this way. I’m a person who likes to go-go-go. I often feel guilty sleeping in on the weekends because 2 days out of an entire week to do whatever you want or need to goes by in a blink. It’s nice to have days that are an excuse to chill out.

  • Elizabeth F.

    I grew up on the sunny West Coast, with very warm weather, and rain/snow were a novelty only experienced a few times a year.
    For university, I moved towards the East and the rainy, cold, snowy weather that is happening for months on end really has an impact on my mood, it lowers and I become less hopeful feeling in general. I bought a fake “sun” lamp to help with my mood and found that exercising more really helps too. I

  • Seattleite here: the days get really rough from the January to March. At least since it’s the holidays there’s a general air of festive cheer to warm us up, but after New Years it’s just dark and cold and rainy all the time. It’s when a lot of us plan trips to warmer climes. I have a friend that goes to a tanning bed(!) twice a month because it makes him feel better!

    • Kiks

      Hi from Vancouver Island! I was literally contemplating going to a tanning bed earlier today.

      I grew up in northern Ontario where winters were very cold but literally the sunniest place in the country. Bright white snow, bright sunlight…it wasn’t that bad, despite the freezing temps. I never got so down as I do out here.

      We are moving back east in the spring (husband got a huge promotion!!!!) and I have to say I’m really looking forward to it. I just don’t think I’m cut out for the Wet Coast. 🙁

  • It’s the cold and the darkness that gets me.
    I’ve mentioned here before that I’m autistic, and I’m incredibly cold-sensitive. Not only does the dark descending just immediately put me to sleep (during the winter I can sleep for 14 hours a day, when I’m exhausted and overwhelmed I can sleep for closer to 20), once I get a chill I’m cold and shivering for the day. My fingers turn white sometimes, I get goosebumps all over, on top of my skin drying out and hair getting weird. This begins to happen at like …. over 10 degrees celsius. I spent this summer in NYC wearing jeans and sweaters because it was chilly this year. I spend the whole winter layering myself in absurd amounts of clothing to try to stay warm enough to function during the day and it’s really uncomfortable and quite honestly disheartening amidst everyone who doesn’t understand why I am in a bad mood all the time. Not to mention, I’m from Canada, so everyone LOVES to comment “but you’re used to worse than this!!” Sorry, but no, my body is in literal hell there.

    Conversely, I COME TO LIFE when it’s 30+ degrees c out!! And I also get so much flack for it. Summer makes me so happy, I love being able to wear a single layer of clothing and be comfortable. I love sitting out in the sun and soaking up light and warmth. Give me a good book on the beach or in the park alone and I am happy as a clam. I also feel a certain kinship with the people surrounding me outside, like we’re all experiencing the wonderful weather together and it makes me feel really happy to live where I do. Winter makes me feel like I can do nothing and summer makes me feel like I can do everything.

  • Leah

    I am always so immensely thrilled by each season at the beginning of it. But by the end, I’m so ready for the next one. Not sure what that says about me.
    My latest frustration has been the inconsistency or complete lack thereof seasons in San Francisco. GIVE ME BLANKETS OF SNOW OR BLISTERING HEAT OR FIRE-RED LEAVES, GODDAMMIT!

  • Audrey Fromson

    So happy to see this story come to fruition, Haley 🙂

  • Megan Pinkerton

    I have a cheap timer from Amazon on an antique lamp that turns it on at 6am and floods my room with light – Highly Recommend 🙂 Love this site and you all.

  • Autumn

    I live in Wisconsin and loooove the fall/winter so much. I like cold weather WAY more than hot weather. And it gets hot and humid here in the summer. The nice thing about winters here is they aren’t all doom and gloom. It’ll be 15 degrees but sunny and clear, blue skies, which makes everything so pretty and peaceful.

  • SL

    I don’t see the correlation between intro/extraverts and winter/summer… I consider myself an introvert and don’t have trouble staying in in both summer and winter. I do find it a lot harder to go out there in winter though. I am really feeling the tense muscles in winter that someone mentioned above. The warmth of summer gives me so much energy to do things, also just on my own. I feel like there are options in summer, in winter I feel very stuck

  • Andrea Starr

    I love winter, being from New Hampshire, where there is a lot to do outside in winter and many people there who love it. However, when I moved to Rhode Island, I began experiencing the winter blues mostly because the people here are miserable to be around in winter and there are no hills or mountains to have winter fun on. But when I do remind myself to get my butt outside and take a little hike in the slushy woods or walk on the cold beach, I’m reminded that I don’t dislike cold weather, I just don’t like the city in the winter.

  • Skabetti Spaghetti

    Great article. I actually post on my calendar the general time I start to slow down in the winter so I can be ready for it. I have to forgive myself daily for not being productive. (In the summer, it’s the diametrical opposite. I get up at 5 and go strong until 9 or 10 PM.) I don’t care for the winter holidays. I just want to stay home and do…nothing. A sleep specialist/SAD doctor, who recommended a full-spectrum light, told me to try to get in a walk whenever I could. He said ten minutes on even the cloudiest day will get a person more sunlight than the light itself. I do both in the (Minnesota) winter, and feel somewhat better, but it’s a battle. About one day a week, I sit on the sofa the whole day, frozen solid like the weather. I read, surf online. or snooze. Even making a meal is a chore. I don’t feel sad, just disinterested and lethargic. In late January, I start to perk up. But winter always feels like an icky, dark tunnel.

  • Jeannie Miernik

    This is me! Only in the past few years have I been learning about this phenomenon that some are calling “reverse SAD.” For me, it was exacerbated by becoming a mother, probably due to both hormonal changes and the disrupted schedules of summer for parents. I had an especially rough summer this year and took care to learn as much about this unnamed condition as possible and find strategies to help, which I think could also apply to someone dealing with SAD at this time of year as well: