As the weather turns from San Francisco’s beautiful Indian Summer to the chill reminding us of the coming of winter, people may start to feel “under the weather.” This idiom could have derived from the commonly held belief that bad weather can make you sick or from an old sailor phrase. When sailors were sick, they would rest below deck and thus were literally "under" the weather on deck. As I started to feel “a little under the weather” myself, I’m reminded that the weather, just like any other cycle in life, can affect our mood and our physical and spiritual health. So, yes, we are indeed under the influence of the weather, as well as the influence of the transitions between the seasons. So if you’re starting to feel “under the weather,” whether it’s related to the seasonal changes or to a shift that’s happening in your own life, it’s a time to go inward, be reflective, welcome in those times of rest and darkness.
Transitions in life, whether it’s a change that invokes fear or it’s a move towards something you’ve been inviting into your life, can be challenging. Getting that new job you’ve been searching for, or making a healthier lifestyle choice, or deepening a relationship can be inherently tough. And it’s because we’re entering into the mystery. And the ego has a hard time living in the mystery. "What will happen? Can I do it? Will this go horribly wrong?" Honor those times as you’re making that shift or feeling the change of seasons, and take care of yourself in a way that is different from your day to day choices, as they are reminders to slow down and give good attention to your inner life. Maybe the part of ourselves that have our best interest at heart is telling us to go to bed earlier, take a bath, lay in shavasana longer, spend some time with our journal, give gratitude for what we have, and maybe even eat with less distractions and more attention to the food (that’s what I’m working on!).
The dark time of year is also the right time for reaching out to your family (chosen and blood relations), for warmth in the form of physical contact and support. It doesn’t have to be the frenzied kind of holidaze activity that is now somehow seems customary for this time of year, but the kind of 1:1 support that can really warm the soul. Humans need extended community. So, if you’re “under the weather,” or “feeling blue” (another old seafaring idiom), take time for yourself to go inward if that’s the skillful choice or reach out to loved ones for some extra attention.
--Diana Halfmann, MFT