Rain, rain, go away

USC students grapple with the unusual L.A. weather conditions and its impacts on their mental health.

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With the continuous bouts of unlikely California weather, many USC students are facing challenges staying motivated and productive, raising concerns regarding the weather’s impact on student’s mental health.

“I definitely get less productive because I don’t have the same motivation to go outside and start my day,” said Peyton Lamartina, a freshman studying business and cinematic arts. “I just want to stay in bed and watch TikTok all day.”

Dr. Kelly Greco, a psychologist and clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Keck School of Medicine of USC, shared her professional insight on the symptoms students may battle with and ways they can overcome the rainy days blues.

Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs in “areas where the weather is quite intense,” Greco said. However, Greco believes residents and students in Southern California may be affected similarly by the recent rain.

“This is the most rain we’ve had in a long time and people aren’t used to it and need to make different decisions or it could cause more stress in their daily life,” Greco said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, seasonal affective disorder can impact how someone “thinks, feels, and handle daily activites.” The symptoms include a loss of interest in activities, fatigue, insomnia, low energy, having difficulty concentrating and feelings of depression.

MJ Wee, a freshman studying communications, said she struggles to accomplish daily tasks when it rains. “I just don’t go outside and I don’t do work,” she said.

Dr. Greco recommends students focus on the things they have control over instead of focusing on circumstances like weather that are out of their hands. Looking and planning ahead, Greco added, is crucial to ensure daily tasks are not interrupted.

“If someone knows it’s going to rain tomorrow and they plan on a different type of transportation or how that’s going to impact my day tomorrow and they make different decisions, that’s going to create less stress for them,” Greco said.

Mindset is as important as preparation. Dr. Greco shared a strategy she teaches called “Catch Challenge and Change,” where students “catch negative self-talk” before it fosters into thoughts that lead to “our feelings and behaviors.”

“If you’re just thinking automatically: This is stressful, my life, my day is going to be difficult, then that may play a role. Because our thoughts, feelings and behaviors are all interrelated,” Greco said.

Greco emphasized the mental health services available on campus as the semester comes to an end and encourages students to reach out to USC Student Health.

“Just touching base with someone can help change how we are managing our stress and increase the quality of our life,” Greco said.