Why You Should Look Forward To Your Next Rainy Day

Why You Should Look Forward To Your Next Rainy Day

A rainy day is a perfect time for reflection.

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Despite the fact that the Northern part of America is currently in single digit temperatures, let's think about spring for a second. Reading this article may be therapeutic for y'all out there that are suffering through the brutal cold and slush and sleet (yuck!).

With spring comes rainy days. I'm not referring to days-on-end torrents that flood the yard, back up the swimming pool and overflow drainage ditches, but just your typical spring showers. There are many reasons I like the rain and here are 10 reasons why I'm excited for spring, excited for the rain, and excited to be done with this freezing cold weather.

1. Everybody must deal with it.

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Seriously, there's a natural tendency to wish the rain would cease so life can get back to normal, yet there's logic in the realization that everybody is in the same situation of having to deal with the weather. That's not only comforting to me, it also has a calming effect, knowing that my peers are experiencing the "what-do-I-do-now" dilemma. This universality makes me feel closer with others in my community and social sphere.

2. Perfect weather for laundry.

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Rainy weather can make the house or apartment cold and damp. Besides the familiar aroma of laundry detergents and fabric softeners and the hum of the washer and dryer as loads of clothes, linens and towels go from dirty to clean, the household chore of doing laundry makes the home environment feel more welcoming. It certainly warms it up, plus there's the satisfaction of all those clean, freshly laundered items.

3. Rain gives a much-needed breather.

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Ever feel like you can't seem to catch your breath because you're overcome by chronic stress and too much to do? I know this feeling well, having saddled myself with more than I could handle on many occasions. Now, of course, I know better and have learned to only take on what is reasonable and that I feel I can give full effort. Still, a constant patter of rain serves to remind me to take a break, to stop the whirlwind of activity I am sometimes prone to. After all, all plants and living things need rest to recharge, refresh and revitalize.

4. A rainy day is a perfect time for reflection.

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No time for yourself to pause and reflect on life's bounties? Use rain as a welcome sign to do just that. Think about all the good in your life and be grateful for all that you have. This practice has proven especially helpful to me in overcoming periodic bouts of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. So, I know it works. Whether you use the time to meditate, do yoga or simply sit quietly and allow your thoughts to wash over you, this is a productive mental health behavior you can not only cultivate, but thrive doing – even when it's not raining.

5. Watch a movie without feeling guilty.

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The wonderful thing about video on demand, DVRs, Netflix, Amazon Prime and other such services is that you have ready access to many genres of movies. If you've missed one in the theaters or have an old favorite you want to see again, or an episode of reality TV, make a bowl of hot popcorn and relax while it rains outside, and you watch the movie of your choice without any guilt whatsoever. Watching movies also allows you to vicariously participate in situations you'd not normally experience, broadening your imagination and scope of capabilities and reinforcing a sense of self-control, mastery and ingenuity.

6. I can talk for as long as I want with a friend.

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Surely there's a friend you can call and connect with during the downtime when you're not going to venture out in the rain or you're taking a break from some household, work or other chores, project or activity. If you're like me, there's something encouraging about the steady stream of rain hitting the windows that prompts me to engage in a lengthy phone call with a friend. That's assuming, of course, that the friend I'm calling has or will make the time to converse. Yet, even if the call must be cut short, I've still connected with my friend. We both feel good about the interaction, no matter what the length of the call.

7. There's ample time to devour an intriguing book.

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I always have several books and magazines I'm either in the process of reading or intending to get started on. The tough part is finding an hour or so to immerse myself in reading. Either too many other chores or projects lay claim to my time or I can't keep my eyes open long enough at night to make much headway. With hours of drenching downpour outside, however, if I don't have to fight traffic to get to and from work (I don't), I can sit back in my favorite chair and lose myself in my book-du-jour. I generally feel more creative afterward, another plus.

8. With free, fast delivery, I can get what I need through online shopping.

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Not that I mind heading out to the grocery store for a last-minute item for meal prep or even weekly shopping for the family. I am one of those shoppers who enjoys shopping for the best deals, going to certain stores for sale items or organic produce or specialty carry-out. If the rain puts a crimp in my grocery-store plans, there's always online shopping. Speedy, free delivery takes all the inconvenience out of the equation. Now, I've freed up my rainy-day time to prioritize self-care and devote to something else I'd rather do.

9. Spend face-to-face time with loved ones and family.

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While you're not always going to be home when the rains come, when you are and if everyone's staying put, why not use this propitious time to play board games, whip up a family meal, talk about sports, watch sports, tell jokes, reflect on goals and spell out plans? Give everyone an opportunity to speak their mind, encouraging open and positive conversation. Be sure to acknowledge each person as they speak, looking at them directly, not interrupting. When it's your turn, share some good news, reiterate a point or two that other family members and loved ones made, and be grateful for this family time you spend together.

10. Wonderful opportunity to make weekend, getaway or vacation plans.

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When the family asks what the plans are for our next getaway, weekend or vacation trip, instead of feeling overwhelmed and panic-stricken that nothing's been accomplished, a rainy day provides a nice opportunity to take the plunge and begin research, make reservations and line up activities. Even if I only get started on the planning, I'm one step closer to the goal. That makes me feel like I accomplished something worthwhile – and gives me something to look forward to sharing with others.

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5 Ways Impulsively Getting A Dog Saved My Mental Health

Those four paws are good for a lot more than just face kisses.

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Shortly before my husband and I officially moved out onto our own, he surprised me with a puppy in hand on the morning of our anniversary. Moving out, tackling college, and everything in between, I thought another huge responsibility was the last thing I needed. However, in reality, Oakley, the lab/Australian shepard/collie mix, was exactly what I needed to get back to "me."


He provides emotional support

One of the most obvious reasons is how much emotional support dogs, (and other respective animals) can provide. His paws have been accidentally stepped on, and he certainly isn't a fan of the forced flea/tick medication doses, but less than 30 seconds later, he is without fail immediately by my side again, tail wagging and ready for more kisses. Although he is not trained or certified as an ESA, it's without a doubt he has effectively (and unconsciously) combated random anxiety attacks or feelings of being alone.

He requires being cared for

You'll heavily judge every crazy fur mama, as did, I until you become one. Getting Oakley immediately got me consistently back on my feet and forced me to ask myself, "What does he need today?"Even simple, easy tasks like taking him out to run/go to the bathroom had me excited and forced me to find a motive in the day to day activities. I loved no longer having even the mere choice to be unproductive. Don't want to start your day? Well, Oakley needs his day started, so let's get moving.

He serves as protection

It's no surprise how far a dog's loyalty will go to protect their owner. For decades, specially trained dogs have had life-saving responsibilities assigned to them. Even being married, my husband and I's schedules vary significantly to where it is not uncommon for me to be alone. The slightest sound or shadow from outside our door immediately initiates barking. In the bathroom taking a shower? He's there. Knowing that Oakley is looking out, even when I get carried away with tasks like cooking dinner, always calms my nerves.

He's become something to look forward to

The nice thing about having Oakley is regardless of how my day goes, I know exactly how it is going to end. Whether I passed an exam with flying colors or got the lowest grade in the class, I know what waits for me when I open the door at home. After a long day, nothing resets my mood like walking into a face that is just as happy and excited to see me!

He encourages bonds with others

If you want your social interaction to sky rocket: get a puppy. No, I'm serious. You'll have people wanting to come over and visit "you" (let's be real… your puppy), like it's your last day on Earth. For me, this was exactly what I needed. Getting Oakley had family members constantly checking in to see how he was growing, learning, etc. Not only did this encourage more interactions with family and friends, but it also "livened" my husband and I's home life. Instead of the "normal" weekend nights consisting of Netflix and MarioKart, (which are enjoyable in their own respective ways), spending our nights playing Monkey in the Middle with our new four-legged friend has proven much more entertaining.

So ideally was it the right time to get a dog? Probably not. However, adding Oakley to my small little family combated anxiety and depression in ways I wouldn't have ever thought possible.

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6 Lessons I've Learned From Seattle's Snowmageddon

The Seattle freeze is real.

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From epic school closures to hundreds of flight cancellations — Snowmageddon took no prisoners in Washington. Like an ultimate game of freeze tag, it blustered through Seattle and the surrounding Puget sound areas — putting everyone's lives on pause. Things that normally wouldn't have happened — happened: Snow reached record heights, delivery trucks jack-knifed, grocery stores emptied, and power outages left thousands in the dark. In North Bend — where the snow reached 16 to 24 inches, the Washington National Guard was called to help save a man trapped in his home located down a snowed-in drive way. It's been an unusually rough couple of weeks so far for Washingtonians. But through the storm I've learned some very valuable lessons:

1. Always be prepared --- stock up on groceries early.

Grocery Store

I will never wait the day before a storm hits to buy groceries again. During Snowmageddon, parking spaces were almost non-existent and the lines of nearly every grocery store spilled down the aisles. Soccer moms fought over the few remaining carts. As children (and possibly cashiers) pondered if the world was coming to an end.

2. Sleep is your best friend --- and worst enemy.

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Being snowed in for these past two weeks has allowed me to enjoy some of the best sleep of my college career. In addition to a daily 8-hour rest — I've also been able to get in a few power naps. But I've learned if you sleep too much you can miss out on the winter wonderland that awaits outdoors. Or procrastinate on your assignments. So it's best to keep one's schedule in tact and set an alarm.

3. Many Western Washingtonians can't drive --- especially in snow.

Snow covered road

Videos of sliding cars on icy hills and slick streets in Seattle can be found on YouTube. While those maybe entertaining — what's not funny is the hundreds of car accidents that occurred during Snowmagedden. The main comment from authorities and drivers alike is that too many people were driving too fast for the conditions. Like seriously, people. Slow down.

4. Candles over everything.

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As a child, I remember my mom would light vanilla scented candles whenever our went power out. No matter how scary the storm or how cold we felt in the darkness — I'll never forget how the warm glow of the flame and delicious scent always made me feel safe. Whether you prefer wax, soy or flameless have a candle nearby for instant light and security.

5. Have games and activities on deck.

Scrabble game pieces

If you have a candle or lantern handy — you'll find games like Scrabble, Charades, Glow in the dark Air hockey and Cards against Humanity can be fun to play in the dark.

6. Disasters really do bring people together.

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I work part-time at Safeway and am fortunate to have a manager who cares about employees. When the heavy snow hit and everyone began making calls, my manager drove people to work. Even my co-workers who weren't fond of him were appreciative. Throughout the week, I heard stories of people checking in on seniors, neighbors sharing food, strangers helping others dig out stuck vehicles and temporary homeless shelters opening up around the area. Proof positive that Snowmageddon may have chilled our bodies — but it hasn't frozen our hearts.

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