Does anyone have tips for transitioning to a city life and/or changing weather?

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water_lily
@water-lily
2 years ago
90 posts

Background info: I'm originally from a smallish town in warm weather with a lot of places in which to escape in nature. Without realizing what was "wrong" with me growing up, I found that the bad feelings went away and I found peace away from people and in nature. A little over a year ago, my life took me to live in one of the biggest cities in the US in a place with harsh winters. I do not have a car, so I can rarely escape to any large expanse of nature (manicured parks don't really work as well for me). Plus, very cold winters leave me unable to spend large amounts of time outdoors during quite a lot of the year. I've managed to block out most people's feelings enough that I don't feel what every single person walking down the street is feeling unless they are going through a particularly strong emotional moment, but I do always feel this sort of weight or pressure weighing me down and closing in on me. Additionally, when I do manage to shut almost all of it out, I feel so disconnected from the world and, thus, lonely with only my own emotions.

My mood picked pack up in summer and between the warm weather and a road trip through the middle of nowhere, I felt almost like my old self again. In fact, I felt almost euphoric during crowded summer events, much happier than would make sense based on my enjoyment of the actual activity. Now that the weather is getting colder and cloudier, my mood is changing significantly. During my first fall/winter here (before I had spent a summer here), I thought I just had a really terrible case of seasonal affective disorder, and I am pretty sure I did to some extent. However, now that I know individuals here, I am more aware of their individual emotions, and everyone's emotional state changed with the weather. Everyone I know is much (I'm not sure if I can describe this quite right) quieter, quicker to grumpiness, lethargic. Even the strangers seem angrier than they were. Although I think I had a hard time adjusting to seasons due to growing up outdoors in almost perpetual sunshine, I think part of it was reflecting the emotional state of so many people. To make matters worse, my go-to-emotional-calmer (escaping to nature) isn't really available to me.

I am terrified of feeling as awful as I did most of last year. I am working on dealing with the biological aspects of my feeling terrible (vitamin D, staring at white light, etc), but does anyone have any tips on...
1.) Making a transition to a city a lot more crowded with emotion and dealing with it without closing yourself off completely or feeling the weight of a city on your shoulders
2.) Not letting a city full of people's mood's changing affect your own
AND/OR

3.) Places you may find in cities that calm you in the way nature does?

PS, I am new here, and although I never felt exactly crazy, I have felt like I need to hide a big part of myself from people. Even the friends who sort of understand would give me a crazy look if I said something about feeling emotionally weighed down by other people's emotions. I'm so happy some place like this exists :) To anyone who took the time to read all of that, thanks for your time!


updated by @water-lily: 01/09/17 09:20:53PM
Leafherder
@leafherder
2 years ago
35 posts
Hello! I moved to a colder climate, too, and although I have not lived in a city, a few thoughts came to mind while I read your post. I don't know if they will be helpful, but I hope so - here goes...Nature in cities is as inundated with people's moods as anywhere else, so instead of looking for a grounding place without people energy, maybe use their moods to your advantage and go to the places visited by people who have the moods you are looking for. A friend of mine goes to an empty sanctuary now and then, and sits quietly breathing until calm returns. The antiquities exhibits at a museum can be helpful in grounding, taking the long view. Indoor gardens can attract others who admire living plants, though may or may not connect to deeper nature. Personally, I regularly went to a movie theater that has an atrium with tropical plants, and every time I even thought about that theater, I was filled with a fun, childlike anticipatory energy. That energy got me through one winter. I know some people set aside a space they habitually use as a grounding/centering space; it's a great idea, it takes a while to establish, but I have never found myself with enough energy in the winter to maintain it. I have found that particular stones or objects I take from natural places I love can bring me back there in a vital way, more so than a picture or imagination would do.Now, as for winter in cold climes: nature asks us to withdraw, to rest, to reflect. City life says to go, go, go, and ignore that pesky nature thing. Maybe sometimes, if you have the luxury to do so, allow yourself to respect the nature in you and do what it requests. I have tried it and it does not change anything but my perspective - I felt much more compassionate toward all these other poor grumpy creatures like me, bundled against the elements and lightlessness, fighting hard to keep on business as usual when most of us wanted to hibernate. It lightened my heart, at least. For the lack of sunlight, I get SAD and Vitamin D + light helped for certain, but I felt hungry, almost hunger-pang hungry for actual sunlight. On a few less-frigid sunny midwinter days, I exposed as much skin as I dared (face and arms) to sunlight for a few minutes, and it made the odd hunger subside for a while. I don't do tanning beds, but this perhaps ill-conceived idea worked effectively for me.I wish you the best of luck adjusting and finding coping methods that work for you - and thanks for helping me remember some of mine!
water_lily
@water-lily
2 years ago
90 posts

Thank you so much! This is tremendously helpful. The hunger-pang-like feeling towards needing sunlight is the perfect description for what I feel in regards to sunlight; I'm happy to know that I am not alone in feeling it, although I'm kind of sad that other people feel it at the same time.

Leafherder
@leafherder
2 years ago
35 posts
Agreed! But I think Summers do a nice job of making up for the Winter downtime. :)

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