Moving to China has been a huge learning curve for me, but one of the hardest parts was learning to live with grey skies each day.
I used to hear about this problem from others, but always thought that they may be exaggerating a bit. But now I have learnt first hand that 'Grey Sky Syndrome' or it's better known cousin Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing.
When it comes to the skies in many parts of China, the air pollution can affect your skin/lungs/hair/health as well as your overall mood. I did not realise how much this greyness would affect me until I found myself googling 'how to cope with grey skies/SAD'. Then reality hit me like a stone to the forehead.
I hope my tips below help you if you are living in a region that has constant grey skies:
- Exercise: Whatever form you enjoy, do this every day. Whether it involves time at the gym, walking, dancing, yoga etc - just DO it. It will definitely help you, no question about it.
- Diet: What you eat can affect you in many different ways, so be aware of your diet and try to find a balance so that you can feel good inside and out.
- Water: Drink plenty water each day to keep your skin and body hydrated.
- Alcohol: Watch your intake as this can also affect your mood.
- Coffee: For some coffee can be a problem with one's mood, but I find coffee is something I love so I drink coffee whenever I choose.
- Sleep: Get enough sleep so that you feel refreshed each morning and ready to get going.
- Appearance: Pay special attention to your appearance so you always feel like a million bucks. This can involve some spa time, hair salon time and much more. If you need to revamp your wardrobe, this is a great time and excuse to go shopping!
- Routine: To some routine, can prove boring but when you are living in a situation which may bring on depression, then a basic routine helps a lot. Whether this is going out to do your grocery shopping, working, cleaning, seeing friends, etc. It does not need to be set in concrete but having a basic outline to follow will keep you on track.
- Organise your home: A clean, decluttered and organised home is a great way to feel uplifted. Buy some fresh flowers for your home, if possible.
- Go outside: Even though the skies may be grey, still make a plan to go outside whether to run errands, see friends, take a long walk. Better yet volunteer to do some dog walking for a friend.
- Animals: If you are able to, then adopt a pet else volunteer at a shelter. Petting and spending times with animals is always uplifting.
- Meditation: Sit quietly for a few moments and just breathe.
- Green Zones: Head out to your nearest park so that you can breathe in nature and watch the birds and butterflies.
- Art: Create your own art through photography, painting etc else visit your nearest art gallery to appreciate positive art.
- Learn something new: Challenge yourself - this can be a new dance, language, skills etc.
- Mental Puzzles: I love puzzles which challenge my mental functioning on a daily basis. Just like you need to exercise your body, it is vitally important to exercise your brain with memory games, sudoku, chess, and many more. Find the one which challenges and flexes your brain muscle.
- Goals: Make a note of your daily/weekly/monthly/yearly goals. This will give you things to aim for on a short to long term basis.
- Vision Board: Buy a cork board so that you can stick some pretty pictures on it of things that make you happy, goals that you would like to reach as well as brightly coloured images which brighten up your home. If looking out your window yields too much greyness, then you can look at your vision board instead.
- Home: Decorate your home in bright colours and items which lift your spirit.
- Photos: Buy some pretty photo frames and place your favourite photos around your home.
- Music: Listen to uplifting music and dance if you want to.
- Reading: Read a book which lifts your spirits and transports you to another world. If you are not into reading, perhaps a funny or inspiring movie will lift your spirits.
- Go have fun: Go to a theme park, paintball range, mini golf, a food fair and many more ideas.
- Plan a trip: Planning a trip to a sunny blue skies spot will definitely lift your spirits and give you something to look forward to. Make sure you have your swimwear all ready, suitcases labelled and read to pack.
- Gratitude journal: Keep a journal of everything big and small you are grateful for. If you are not keen on writing your inner thoughts, then just carve out a spot of time each day to think about all you are grateful for. If you are hitting a blank, take a walk outside and soon things will come to mind.
- Talk to someone: Share your thoughts and struggles with a loved one, best friend or trained professional. We all go through difficult times but we are never alone, there is always someone to lend a hand.
I hope this post has proven useful. Add a comment below and let me know how you deal with grey days.
" Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up." - Allen Klein