Is the Weather affecting Your Attitude or Your Jobsearch?

Photo by Juliana Coutinho

Seems like 2010 had more tumultuous weather than any recent year I remember. Perhaps it is because I know so many more people throughout the world and pay more attention. I know our city, Wausau in Central Wisconsin, has had unusual weather all year.

We were in drought phase for the past 7 years. It ended this year. We have had more rain and more consistent rain with large amounts than any time recently.

Last week, the rain in two days was more than 6 inches. We had widespread flooding of the Wisconsin River and there was evacuation of multiple homes in the area. At the same time, friends in Colorado and Virginia were begging me to send them rain.

As I write this, the east coast of the United States is getting torrential downpours. From rain and snow, heat and humidity, we all had more of everything than we wanted. The old saying is “when it rains, it pours.”

I was talking to career coach Barb Poole from Hire Imaging about the weather and how different I have felt this week with sunny skies and warm temps again. She agreed there seems to be a correlation with weather and your mental — and physical — health.

I decided to do a little research. In an article by Rick Maloof for MSN Health and Fitness titled “Does Weather Really affect your mood?” he says:

A group of European researchers examined the impact of six different daily weather factors—temperature, wind, sunlight, precipitation, air pressure and length of day—on more than 1,200 participants from Germany, most of them women.

Contrary to most prior research, the study’s central conclusion was that the average effect of “good” weather on positive mood was minimal. Windy, cool and darker days seemed to have just a slight negative effect on mood, with many subjects reporting that they felt tired or sluggish.

Hmmm… However, he does give credit to Seasonal Affective Disorder:

Some people’s emotions are simply more vulnerable to weather changes than others. Someone prone to a low mood on dark, cold days will likely experience a depressive winter when there’s a prolonged string of like-weathered days. This propensity is the basis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

I did my own case study. I moved my office from the lower level custom-built office I occupied for more than 10 years to my new spacious office in the family room overlooking the ski hill and the western view of the city. Though I still sometimes “feel” affected by rainy days, I know that sunshine or just light streaming in from three sides in my window-filled room definitely helps my mood. also had an article on Weather and your health about different conditions affected by the weather, conditions like migraines, arthritis, and asthma.

For those people who are sensitive to weather, changes in weather are generally more likely to affect them than specific weather conditions. Doctors who specialize in chronic pain sometimes suggest that patients keep a detailed journal of weather conditions to establish a possible relationship to their pain.

If you think the weather is affecting you, might substantiate your thoughts in an article correlating chronic pain with the weather called Human Barometers.

Maybe I will start a weather journal and see if I see a correlation. Sometimes though, when you realize that the way you feel could be temporary and go away the next time you see the sun, you can push through your issues and turn on a positive attitude. As a job seeker, paying attention to details like the weather when you start getting frustrated may help you realize it could be temporary.

What do you think? Does the weather affect your attitude?


  1. Ari Herzog on October 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Streamed sunlight through windows makes a bigger difference to (home) office workers than weather alone, I’d hazard. Proximity of the office desk to the window also matters.

    Moments ago, I heard thunderous pitter-patter on the external housing of my window’s air conditioner. Rain doesn’t make me productive when I try to do something, for the noise is distracting.

    Keep exercise in mind. When it’s not rainy, you can take a walk and free your brain. Not as easy in a thunderstorm.

    • Julie Walraven on October 1, 2010 at 12:23 pm

      Good to see you, Ari! My window is right next to my desk (windows really…) I am in a corner of the room and I have two eight foot sliders on each wall plus a glass patio door on the third wall.

      Gloom is what gets to me… days of no sun… Thunderstorms make Teddy, my German Shepherd, frightened so then I have to go into consolation mode with him… hard to work (or sleep if at night) then.

      You are so right about the benefits of exercise and Teddy and I do that too. I added an exercise bike for the rainy and gloomy days… but discipline is needed.

  2. Executive Resume Writer on October 1, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Hi Julie,

    This topic has always fascinated me. Being from Michigan, we have cold, dismal days at least 6 months out of the year.

    My office is surrounded by windows as well, so I enjoy the sunlight and definitely feel more productive. I know I am one of those people who have a sensitivity to it because if it is gloomy for too long, I feel sluggish and want to just lounge/read/be lazy.
    Since I can’t do that during the work day, I have lamps strategically placed throughout my office and turn on every one. It really helps (so does some fun music) and gets the creative juices flowing again. 🙂

    Interesting article!



    • Julie Walraven on October 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Thanks, Erin – Music would be great! One of my adult children keeps putting my CD player / radio in the downstairs bathroom… I guess I have to invest in a new one for my office…

      The lights my contractor installed throughout the new ceiling help a lot when it gets dark and I have a small lamp by my desk with a special bulb.

  3. Karen Bice on October 2, 2010 at 10:34 am


    This is a subject I can relate to so well after having lived in Chicago and “endured” what seemed like (and was) extremely long winters. I grew up in the Houston area and on Christmas we were usually running the AC. What there was of winter in Houston lasted about 3 months, as compared to about 8 months in Chicago. So, you can imagine that I suffered not only from culture shock, but weather shock as well. 🙂

    • Julie Walraven on October 2, 2010 at 11:02 am

      Ah yes, I know that people from here like to “escape” winter by going to Arizona, Alabama, Texas, or Florida during January to March frequently. I just “endure.” Working from a home-based office lets me stay put on the bad days, I draw comfort from wood fires, sweaters, and my new favorite “Cuddleduds” (shhhh… that would be the female version of long johns, except silkier.) Hot tea and soup make long winters bearable and I do suppose we all celebrate spring a little more than other areas.

  4. ROBERT P. POINDEXTER on October 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Great post,Julie, and a subject near and dear to my heart. I am dramatically affected by weather. As a sun worshiper,too many days of cold cloudy conditions can really have an adverse effect on my mood. I love being outside and hate being cold,so the long Midwestern winters can be difficult. By February, cabin fever has a strangle hold on me,so we usually plan a trip to warmer climates ,if only for a week or so.I think bears have the right idea with the whole hibernation thing.

    • Julie Walraven on October 3, 2010 at 8:10 am

      Thank you, Rob! And welcome to my comment section! I hope you will come to visit again. You know I am your fan! (when is the book coming out? 🙂

      I need that sunshine streaming in my windows and I too love being outside. I have everything set up and there were many days that I worked on the deck outside my office this year. I hope to have more next year.

      I really work to find good in the winter months. I broke my ankle in 3 places in 2003 and the fear of doing again makes me leary of even walking on ice. My driveway is a hill too… I am surrounded… but oh well!

  5. Melissa Cooley on October 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    What a great topic, Julie!

    Weather definitely affects many people, and it’s something that job seekers should be particularly aware of while in transition. If an interview or key networking event comes up on a gloomy day, it’s to be prepared to counteract the weather’s effects. Ari’s suggestions of exercise is a great way to stay on top of one’s game regardless of the weather.

    • Julie Walraven on October 4, 2010 at 1:32 pm

      Thanks, Melissa! Where your ears burning this morning? Bridget Haymond (see sidebar) and I were talking about Google Analytics and I told her that when I was studying my stats, your reference to the can’t sleep post drove many people to my site. I would guess that too is a common problem.

      I think that people who are sensitive to weather changes may also have trouble sleeping or be subject to mood swings… and not to pick on females because I am one, but if you are a female, all of these things together can compound with your other fluctuations and you really need to pay attention to what causes the issues.

      Ari is right and exercise can help in many of these areas… Perhaps Teddy and I will walk to the bank before our 4:15 appointment!

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