For us, January is about two things relationship-wise: taking the time to build trust with your partner and understanding the impact that the weather can have on your mood.
When there’s trust in a relationship you know that whatever bickers and squabbles the winter months bring, it won’t impact on your relationship in the longer term.
You can build trust in a number of ways:
It’s important that you’re able to talk about any worries, doubts and hopes openly, as this will help you negotiate your expectations and move forward together. If the winter months have proved difficult for you in previous years – or relationships – tell your partner, so they can understand your behaviour and minimise any impact your actions and mood will have on your relationship.
Investigate your issues
Even great relationships experience problems from time to time – that’s life! The way we deal with these issues are what sets the great relationships apart from the rest. It’s important to take time out to analyse how you’re feeling and think about how this may be influencing your behaviour. Take ownership for the part that you play in any disagreements. We’ll usually be able to see there are things we could have done better if we’re honest with ourselves. Talk about what happened and how you’re feeling and really listen to what your partner has to say.
So why exactly are the first few months of the year so problematic for some relationships? Can we really blame the weather?
Sunlight and serotonin
Serotonin is a chemical found in the human body that carries signals between nerves, contributing to wellbeing and happiness. Some scientists believe a lack of sunlight associated with rainy days can cause serotonin levels to dip – that’s why we often crave stodgy food at this time of the year. Rather than carbs though, we should be reaching for the starchy vegetables and supplements to lighten our mood during the long winter months, as well as spending as much time as possible outdoors in natural light.
Don’t be SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive illness caused by a lack of natural sunlight. It can leave people feeling lethargic and suffering from noticeable changes in mood. Approximately 20% of people in the UK experience some SAD symptoms, while another 8% suffer more seriously to the point that it affects their daily lives. There are two proven ways of relieving the symptoms associated with the change in the seasons. The first is natural light and the second is exercise.
Rain and rage
There is also research that draws a correlation between the levels of rainfall and people’s aggressiveness. While these findings are not specific to winter rain, they found that the more it rained (especially when the rain wasn’t expected or forecast), the more aggressive people seemed to get.
So whatever the reasons for your irrational and irritable behaviour this winter, understand that the weather could be contributing – and be prepared to put the work in up front to build up your personal relationships so they’re ready to weather the storm!