Do You Have ‘Weather Fatigue’? You’re Not the Only One, But It Can Be Conquered

what is weather fatigue

Summer might officially be here but if the forecast is anything to go by, that doesn’t guarantee us our usual run of sunny days and warm nights. In fact, the last three months have been the wettest on record in some parts of the country and, although the La Niña weather system is on the wane, she’s likely to have a few tricks in store for us yet.

Looking at an endlessly gloomy forecast can be pretty bleak, particularly when it runs on for months. There’s also the underlying implication of a changing climate to spark feelings of panic and, for those on the front line having to sandbag streets and houses, that anxiety is not just an abstract worry.

As it turns out, there’s actually a name for this sadness we’ve all been feeling: weather fatigue.

Although it’s not a diagnosable medical condition, the weather does play a huge role in how we think, feel, and behave. In fact, science tells us that low-pressure in the atmosphere, the kind of conditions that bring on rain, can affect the pressure in our heads and bodies.

This can bring about pressure headaches, sinus problems, and circulatory issues leading to fatigue as our blood flow is affected.

New research from Allianz reveals that Aussies are feeling this fatigue. In a nationally representative sample of 1,516 people, 18% of respondents said that they were feeling fatigued by the weather. A further 32% said that they felt indifferent towards it, while 25% said they were no longer bothering to check the weather report.

For those at the pointy end, 42% of respondents said that preparing for an extreme weather event was overwhelming. A lowering of trust and an indifference to the weather report has led to fewer people getting on top of their wild weather planning.

Allianz have said that they are seeing the financial impact of climate change play out in their business, with weather-related damage making up 38% of their insurance claims. This has jumped by 81% since 2019, before Australia entered a La Niña phase.

Anticipate Your Emotions

Jaimie Bloch is a Clinical Psychologist and Behavioural Expert working with Allianz to provide guidance to help people manage stress and anxiety regarding the unpredictable weather.

“It’s important to remember that feeling anxious or concerned ahead of an extreme weather event is normal, and it’s okay to feel this way,” Bloch told The Latch.

“Feelings of worry are not uncommon amongst Australians when these severe weather warnings are predicted.”

For those who are feeling overwhelmed or anxious before a big weather event, or even just staring down a non-stop week of rain on the BOM website, Bloch offers the following.

“Once you’re able to identify how you’re feeling, become aware of your emotions.

“It can be sometimes helpful to write down any worried thoughts you may have, talk about it with someone, then find tactics to manage it, whether this be breathing, talking to a trusted expert or focusing on practical tasks like getting the home physically prepared.”

Be Proactive

Mark O’Connor, National Manager of Claims, Technical, and Business Operations at Allianz Australia has said that the non-stop bad weather is causing weather fatigue, and as a result, Australians are now “more reactive than proactive and therefore putting preparedness on hold”.

The Allianz data shows that 81% of people have not updated their insurance policy to reflect the increase in bad weather we’ve been having of late.

Bloch has said that planning ahead is the key to reducing stress.

“I have seen [it] said [that] weather fatigue can lead to anxiety and avoidance during extreme weather events,” he said.

“It is important that Australians do not let these attitudes affect their judgment and approach when it comes to life admin.

Bloch recommends speaking to your insurance company, local council, or SES, and keeping an eye on weather warnings. Local SES websites offer good information on how to get ready for a disaster, which can be invaluable should the worst happen.

“By ensuring you keep up with regular housekeeping year-round, such as clearing gutters ahead of wet weather events to avoid clogging, you can ease your mind a little by knowing that you’re weather-ready,” Bloch said.

RelatedJust What the Hell Is Going on With This Wild Weather?

RelatedThe BOM Has Finally Given Us a Date As to When La Niña Might End

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