Most of the time, you can’t pay me to be productive when it’s raining. Going to the gym? Hard pass. Grocery shopping? Not even if it’s just a light drizzle. It’s not that I don’t need to get things done, it’s that I have a hard time finding the willpower to do anything other than snuggle in a blanket with Netflix on when there’s water falling from the sky.
Not to mention keeping my eyes open at the office. The dreary, grey light wafting through the windows and, again, that desire to lay in a cocoon nearly sucks me under as my to-do list piles higher and higher. And I’m pretttty sure I’m not an isolated example.
Luckily for all of us exhausted precipitation-phobes, it’s not us -- it’s science! We’re not lazy, we’re just susceptible to the effect of our surroundings! The weather quite literally has an impact on our mood overall, which can seep into our ability to not take three naps in one afternoon.
This is especially true for the 9 percent of the population who can be categorized as “rain haters,” those of us who generally feel angrier and not as happy on rainy days. Anyone else a rain-hater? Just me? OK.
Tecsia Evans, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in San Francisco, told WebMD that we’re simply more prone to get bummed out easier when the weather isn’t agreeing with us.
“When it gets dark and dreary out, some people definitely have more susceptibility to feeling lonely or down. It’s pretty common to see a change in mood -- such as feeling sadness or lower self-esteem -- when it’s rainy outside,” she said.
On a more scientific level, sunlight increases serotonin, aka our brain’s happy chemical, so if we’re not getting enough sun, we’re probably getting less serotonin, too.
But, remember, my issue isn’t that I’m necessarily sad when it’s raining, but more that I’m unmotivated and really, really tired -- even if I get a full night’s sleep the night before. This, according to Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Dr. Michelle Drerup, is a direct correlation to the amount of sunlight available in a given day. Our pineal glands (the ones that produce melatonin, which regulates our sleep patterns), she told Bustle, release less melatonin when we’re exposed to sunlight. So, less sunlight = more melatonin = naptime.
Ever heard of seasonal affective disorder? Same idea, less severe.
We can also feel physically exhausted on stormy days due to the increased level of humidity in the air. Our bodies work harder to keep cool on humid days, so even if we’re not active, there are processes going on inside that make us feel like taking a break.
Obviously, don’t think you’re taking this information to your boss and requesting PTO for every rainy day of the coming year, but you can at least understand that your laziness isn’t completely unwarranted.