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NOTABLE! Has Moving to a Warm and Sunny Climate Made You Happier?

Christophe

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Light therapy is by far the most powerful thing that has helped me function better during winter (after traveling of course).

I understand your point about anchoring, and while it can possibly work in certain cases, it's a different thing when your body physically craves light. You can't simply convince yourself that winter isn't that bad if you legitimately suffer from light deprivation.
Fair enough! I agree that removing an anchor may not work for everyone who is affected by the winter blues. However, it seems to have worked for me so far and it may work for other people.

Have you tried a natural anti-depressant called St. John's Wort? For it to work you need to take it every day for the whole winter and probably get a head start mid or late fall. It's always safer to check the side effects/consult a doctor prior to starting a treatment.
 

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Have you tried a natural anti-depressant called St. John's Wort? For it to work you need to take it every day for the whole winter and probably get a head start mid or late fall. It's always safer to check the side effects/consult a doctor prior to starting a treatment.
Not into supplements unless they're very well-researched like vitamin D.
 

rogainer

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I've always wished I could F*ck off from these Canadian winters. I get bad winter blues, not sadness, but I sleep way more and still feel tired. Sunrise alarm clocks help. Very excited to move south this year.
 

Frankie Relax

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I live in Italy and here each year is getting warmer and warmer, with less rainfalls. It doesn't make me feel better, but worse. Because I know what it means.

If the weather is getting hotter and hotter, it's because of the global warming.
If it does not rain, everything will become a desert.

No rain, no snow, too hot weather = no life
Why should I feel better?
 

rogainer

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I live in Italy and here each year is getting warmer and warmer, with less rainfalls. It doesn't make me feel better, but worse. Because I know what it means.

If the weather is getting hotter and hotter, it's because of the global warming.
If it does not rain, everything will become a desert.

No rain, no snow, too hot weather = no life
Why should I feel better?
Palm trees & booty shorts?
 

B. Cole

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Well it's comforting to see I'm not the only one with seasonal affective disorder. My wife grew up near Los Angeles, we ended up here on the East Coast of North Carolina where I was born. We go back to SoCal frequently, her family is huge and awesome (everybody should hang with a latino family at least once in their life, it's amazing how tight and loving they are). Life definitely pulls me back there, the weather and family is probably more of a motivational factor to get fastlane than anything. East coast retirement won't suffice to finish life over there. The cheap cost of living here right now does one thing for me - facilitate fastlane funding.
 

Christophe

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Update after a few months in case anybody suffers from the same problems...

It's mid-February and spring should finally arrive within the next few weeks at most (or so I hope).

At the end of November I bought a light box (a super strong lamp for light therapy). It has made a big difference in how I've been feeling during the winter. It hasn't cured the underlying problem I shared in my first post, but I can better tolerate winters now. I highly recommend reading Winter Blues by Norman Rosenthal for more information about light therapy and other ways to deal with SAD.

Since posting this thread I traveled twice to a sunny and warm climate - in December and seven weeks later in February. That helped a lot, too.

The second time I went on a trip I deliberately didn't treat it as going on vacation so I could see if I could maintain high productivity while being abroad in a warm place. I successfully maintained my routine: woke up as early as back home, maintained my healthy diet and worked in the morning. I think I wouldn't have any problems maintaining it for however long I'd stay there (early mornings and evenings could be reserved for work, the rest to be spent outdoors).

In addition to that, I try to focus as much as I can on improving my business and rock climbing performance (my two biggest passions in life). I probably wouldn't be able to survive the winter if it wasn't for these two things.

I think that while I'm not ready yet, one day I'll probably move to another country with a better climate (or buy a second home and live in two places). For now, light therapy, taking frequent trips (I'd love to take more but I prefer traveling with other people so it doesn't depend entirely on me) and trying to forget about the weather outside by immersing myself in my passions seems to help.
Thanks for the update! Just saw it. :p

Glad that hear that you've found strategies that work for you (light therapy, traveling, and immersing yourself in your passions) and that you seem in a pretty good place right now...not to mention the winter almost coming to an end!

Now, have you ever imagined what your ideal winter would look or feel like? :)
Could be an interesting thing to try, especially if you use vivid details.
 

Christophe

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I live in Italy and here each year is getting warmer and warmer, with less rainfalls. It doesn't make me feel better, but worse. Because I know what it means.

If the weather is getting hotter and hotter, it's because of the global warming.
If it does not rain, everything will become a desert.

No rain, no snow, too hot weather = no life
Why should I feel better?
I hear you. You're not the only one being very CONCERNED about global warming!
 

Vigilante

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Hello MTF and those of you who suffer from the winter blues or S.A.D.,

I can empathize with your situation. Since I moved to New England from France, I’ve found out that winters here are way more difficult to deal with than those in France (even in the Alps)...

However, since last year, I have gradually been able to turn things around with regards to my perspective about winter and I feel now that winter (and late fall) is about to become for me pretty much like any other season.

So, what did happen?

My understanding of this is based on what is called (unintentional) Anchoring in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).

Anchoring takes place when we form natural associations between feelings and external things every day, such as: a smell that may instantly transport you back to a particular time, a song that may bring back memories of a person long gone, and entering a school room that may trigger feelings of fear or happiness.

I remember one or two years after moving here, we had an extremely rough winter (we got about 3 feet of snow accumulation in a few weeks and the snow froze over) in conjunction with the season taking a toll (mentally and emotionally) on me that year. Ever since, I considered winter as the “season from hell". Every winter, I felt fatigued, anxious and sad. Did you see what happened?

Because winter became a trigger for feeling anxious, sad and lacking drive. Every year, I would condition myself by expecting the depression to take place and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What happened in winter that year; does it have to happen every year? My answer to this question at this point of my life is clearly NO.

Only was I able to break that vicious circle when I made the decision to appreciate every season for what it is and reframe the lack of sunshine, etc. by focusing on the positive things about winter.

My goal for next year is to come up with a challenge for myself to make my winter even better and as enjoyable as possible by taking small but consistent actions, such as: taking walks outside more often, sitting next to a light box (w/ full light spectrum) for at least 30 min a day, going out with friends and going to the movies more often, helping people through Traditional Chinese Medicine for a small fee or free of charge and keeping a journal on a regular basis. Also, once I have saved enough I’d love to go on a vacation to warmer climates! :)

The bottom line of this is to weaken the negative trigger that winter has become over the last several years so that when winter arrives I don’t condition myself to be depressed. It’s just like any other season.

Also, I feel this winter blues situation could be addressed in a similar way as a successful entrepreneur would deal with failure or a challenge in his business: from a problem-solving attitude. In order to get anywhere, a road map is necessary and related beliefs need to be clarified and optimized. I'm curious to know what your take on this is!

Even though this doesn't answer your question directly, I thought maybe my experience could be beneficial to you (and others) as you seem split between moving to a warmer place (where you would have to build a new life, etc.) and staying in this country where you feel winters are dreadful but where your friends and loved ones live. Perhaps reframing what winter triggers in you could help you have a happier life in this season?

The more I read posts in this forum, the more I realize how supportive members here are. Happy to have found you guys! :)

Ending on this beautiful quote by Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Or… It might just be that winter sucks
 

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rogainer

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I am a huge fan of global warming
We just had our coldest winter in like 10 years here in Vancouver, so we've been joking about how we need to start polluting more so this doesn't happen again :rofl:
 

RHL

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CALI is a punitive tax state, not withstanding "exit taxes" and bunch of other harsh regulations.
Set up shop in CA and you're instantly targeted as another cow to be milked.
I'm surprised more tech companies haven't left yet, but perhaps attracting cheap H1B labor in a desirable climate is the offset.
Veblen good - Wikipedia

^That's why tech companies stay in Cali. Same reason Bugatti Veyron owners pay $15,000 for an oil change. It's not because it's a good deal or a good idea, it's because Google can, and others can't.
 
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Now, have you ever imagined what your ideal winter would look or feel like? :)
30 degrees Celsius/86 F, lots of sun, a 16-hour-long day.
 

FastNAwesome

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I have to disagree based on individual circumstances. I believe perennial sunshine got my biochemistry right and hence, it kept me motivated me to do what was necessary. Had I stayed in a poor climate, I would have just done enough to survive, not thrive. Kinda hard to improve yourself when your #1 priority is to stay in bed.
I wonder sometimes if it's "causation or correlation" of the number of successful people we know who moved from the Midwest to Arizona. Is it just Arizona? Or is it meeting people who have the same mindset.

Personally, I think that in addition to the sun, the lower cost of living lowers your stress. And a lower stress level, leads to more productiveness.

I did not have this same feeling living in LA. Yes, it's sunny, but the housing prices there did not make for a comfortable life.
But as I stated before in similar threads - not only has it made me happier day to day. It has also made me more driven and more focused.
Being more driven and more focused has directly and positively impacted my business and rate of success. Places I lived before with shitty and cold winters didn't prevent those things completely because a true, driven mind won't let anything get in the way. But they certainly slowed down my progress, I know that.
I would strongly agree with all of these sentiments. Yes, I feel much better in sunny weather. And yes, I find it easier to work on a business when I don't have to count pennies and get stressed daily about living expenses.

Few more things, however, that apply to me personally:

- While summer makes me happier, sometimes it's hard to focus on work when you know the beach is full and people are having fun - you wanna join:)

- I enjoy seasons, makes things interesting, and it's more shorter days that get me down (the feeling of "it's night already"). Too much rain would be boring too. But once in a while, that's fun too:)
 
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Greystone

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To anyone who has moved from a cold, dark or wet climate to a warm, sunny and dry climate - has it made you noticeably happier and greatly improved your quality of life?

I used to live in "cold" Paris with my family.

I moved to sunny south of France, and have been living there for almost 10 years. Oh yeah, it s sunny. I ve had so many "friends" and a few girlfriends as well, which was nice.

But I ve never been so cold in my entire life. No family, no real friend. Always wandering alone in the streets in the end. There s nothing worse than being alone. It seems to me i have serious sociable problems though, which has never helped me, of course.

I can t stand living on my own anymore. In 2 weeks, i leave Nice, where i currently live, and go back to my family.

I m almost 29 but i just don t care. It s recomforting to know you can see people you can really count on. Living alone in a big city is the worse thing i ve expected. I might as well live on Mars!

Living under the sun might sound cool, but the reality might be different than what you expected. It depends on a lot of things, but to me the most important one is to either be with someone (girlfriend/boyfriend) and/or close family. Just leaving to a sunny place thinking the weather alone will improve your life is not enough.

I'd always choose to live in Antartica with people around me rather than in Miami or in Monaco alone.



 

masaldana2

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Yea in a big city you can feel veeeery lonely, you have to push yourself to create your own social circle and even then people are very flaky.
I still love Dallas tho heh
 

Loffinds

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I've been living in Costa Rica for the past year, and am about to head to Bali for a few months.
I am from Canada and just got so damn tired of driving in the snow.

I get to surf every day, go shirtless whenever I want, and grab coconuts off the beach and have a refreshing free drink!
It's helped me personally :)
 

Paul David

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I've been thinking about this again recently and wrote a list of pro's and cons for relocating to a sunnier climate. I'll start with the cons:

- Would need to relocate to a different country so initially there would be a language barrier
- We socialise with our friends and family most weekends so this would no longer be possible.
- My two children (6 & 8) are established in UK school and have friends circle.
- If my Wife and I wanted a night out or break from Children there would initially be no child minders that we would know of or trust.
- Usual issues with settling into a foreign country - legal, medical etc.

PROS
- Firstly simply living where people vacation and being happy just to wake up there each day.
- I've written it as a 'con' but its also a PRO - Learning a new language.
- Better quality of life weather wise for my family - more outdoor activities.
- More productive mindset
- No more SAD
- Complete outlook change - at the moment the thing i look forward to is going on holiday and being in the sun, this would be my life every day.

My preferred choice would be to Spain, i've looked into flights back and forth to UK and it would probably cost around £100 per adult to go back and visit the UK whenever we needed to and it's only a 2-3 hour flight.

I've also looked at this a different way, if i continue living in the UK my aim would be to vacation whenever the children have school holidays. It would cost around £30,000 per a year for the 4 of us to go away at every opportunity. If we lived in Spain and maybe came back to the UK once a month it would probably only cost us around £8000.00 !!
 

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Paul David

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This...

As I sit outside in Valencia right now, it's about 20c. Sure I am at my slowlane job. But it pays OK. Best of all it pays me well in time that I would never have in the UK. The pressures of work here are very different. I have spent the last hour doing things for my business.

But my wife is at home right now, not having to work a slowlane. Also working on the business. And we can afford for her not to work. Our rent for a four bedroom apartment with a shared swimming pool is 450 Euros a month. Bills/car/fuel are about 250 a month Food for a family of four is another 250 a month.

Leaving us with about another 900 Euros disposable income (or money to put into the business)

There is just no way we could do this in the UK. None at all.
Jonathan how much would you say was required for a family of 4 to live relatively comfortable in Spain? I know you said above Rent/Bills/food etc is around £1000 a month.
Do the Spanish/International schools have similiar school holiday times and lengths to the UK ones?
 

FineDay

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To anyone who has moved from a cold, dark or wet climate to a warm, sunny and dry climate - has it made you noticeably happier and greatly improved your quality of life?
Absolutely yes! I live in a cold (most of the time) country in the north of EU. When I was studying I moved to Australia for half a year (that was back in 2012). I skipped winter in my home country and had the summer twice. My mood in that time was much higher. Even after coming back, I was in a much better mood that usual until I hit the winter again.

Since my business is completely independent to my location I will do anything to leave this winter.

The only things that keep me here are:
- airbnb income of 2500 euros per month net profit with almost no work (30 days minimum stay). I will give this up when my fastlane business reached atleast 10k net profit.
- girlfriend. We talked about it and there are ways that she will come with me.
 
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Torobaro

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Jonathan how much would you say was required for a family of 4 to live relatively comfortable in Spain? I know you said above Rent/Bills/food etc is around £1000 a month.
Do the Spanish/International schools have similiar school holiday times and lengths to the UK ones?
I live in Spain, Paul and it largely depends. Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao are quite expensive cities

I would say it is impossible for 4 people to live comfortably with 1.000 pounds a month in a major city and in a "nice" area of the city. If you have to add food costs, bills, schooling for you children...costs will go way way up. Maybe a good idea would be to contact your embassy and ask them, also check the rental website "idealista" to get a quick idea of the costs of renting a flat for 4 in Spain.
 

BillyBrass

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I live in a cold country and each year suffer for up to 6 months because of the low temperatures, lack of sunlight, short days, and people with permanent scowls on their faces. I'm starting to wonder if it wouldn't be better to leave everything I have here and move elsewhere where I wouldn't live with anxiety, frustration, and stress for a half of a year.

To anyone who has moved from a cold, dark or wet climate to a warm, sunny and dry climate - has it made you noticeably happier and greatly improved your quality of life?

If you have family and close friends back in your cold state/country, do the benefits of living in a sunny and warm place still outweigh the cons of missing them and essentially having to build a new life from scratch?
Dear MTF,

Where do you live?

Personally, I live on the North shore of Montreal, Canada. We got more than 10 feet of snow this winter with minimal temperatures of minus 30 celcius or something (translation for american fellows : motherfuckin' cold). In my opinion, Eastern Canada (even the rest of Canada) is boring for 9 months. The other 3 months is summer.

Usually, I don't care that much about winter. This year I was kind of surprised - I enjoyed the winter. Something that hasn't happened since I was a kid.

You know, I have the same problem but in reverse. I can work 800 hours per week in winter because I do freakin' nothing (I mean no activities).

BUT, during this particular summer I find it harder to work even 10 hours per week. It's like if I would like to enjoy the weather and all it can offer because I know in only a couple of months it will be over. Playing volleyball on the beach with hot babes in bikinis is very tempting, but at the same time I know it's an instant gratification thing.

I am not saying that we should not enjoy our lives. I am saying that we should know what are our priorities, the vision, etc.

I always think about moving to southern US for these reasons : the weather (yes!), lower tax rates, higher purchasing power, the weather (again), the beaches (related to weather), and so on. When I think USA, I think Los Angeles. I don't know. I'm attracted to that city.

I'm 100% confident that weather can play on your mood, and I'm 100% that weather should not be a distraction. If it is, do what you must do to get rid of it. Change your attitude, or move somewhere else.

Just my two cents.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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I've been living in sunny places all year, and honestly, my productivity has dropped.

I left Chicago.

Chicago is a lot more depressing 5 months out of the year, but during those 5 months I get shit done. I stay indoors and work.

Now with access to beautiful beaches, rooftop bars, being able to afford any restaurant, massage everyday, and having a chance with almost any girl because I'm foreign and doing cool shit, my productivity has dropped a ton.

I'm still getting the most important things done and growing the business, but my efficiency is not as high as it used to be.

I'd say my efficiency in Chicago is at 85%. Abroad it's closer to 65%.

There are huge benefits to living somewhere cold and gloomy which are largely overlooked.

If you're ambitious, then sunny places might not be the best places to live. Of course that depends on personality, but for me, leaving the country has been a huge distraction financially. I'm getting a lot of experiences that I would never have, and growing tremendously as an individual, but business-wise, I'm not on the same level as I was. I'm getting "comfortable".

To summarize:

Sunny places will make you happier, but they'll also make you less ambitious. And it has nothing to do with how expensive the place is either. I feel the same way when I'm in Miami as I do when I'm in Vietnam.

You need to figure out what matters to you most right now in life and plan accordingly.
 

MiguelHammond10

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I am opposite of yours.i moved from sunny country to a cold country why?just because i want to achieve my dreams, i am working good here and getting better payment, you should not let weather distract you from your goal and beside is not a fully year cold is just 6 month and within those times just cover yourself well that is all,so to me i will not advice you to move just because of weather.
 

businessbaybee

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I moved out to Southern California in my mid 20s from cold, and gray Boston, MA. I absolutely loved it, I literally forgot what rain was haha.

I ended up having to move back home to Boston a year later because I ran out of money. Sux so bad. Anyway now I am 30 and NEED to move back asap. Can't stand living in Boston! :arghh::arghh:
 

Ubermensch

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Personally, a sunny climate alone might not change me.

However, a sunny climate with the right combinations - with water, a beach, fresh seafood, beautiful people, sunsets over the ocean, palm trees, etc - has undoubtedly changed my mindset.

More blessings! More life! @Amon
 
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@BillyBrass, I usually mostly work only in the early morning so I have the rest of the day free to do whatever I want. If it's summer, I spend time outside and generally have way more energy. If it's winter, I try to reduce my suffering by doing fun stuff indoors but my overall productivity is still lower because I feel more tired and lethargic. It's hard to be at your best if you're counting days until spring.

This year I plan to travel to warm places more often than last year, probably at least once each month for at least a couple of days so that I can frequently recharge, but I think that in the long term I'll have to move to a warm country permanently as I function much, much better with plenty of sunshine, high temperatures, and positive, warm people.

@AgainstAllOdds, that's why I work in the early morning. You take care of stuff in the morning and then can spend the rest of the day enjoying great weather. It depends solely on you whether good weather distracts you or not. Back in February I traveled to a warm and sunny place. I continued waking up early and working in the morning and my productivity didn't decrease. I got the work done and then spent the rest of the day doing fun stuff outside. It's just a matter of setting the right routine.

Here's a good article partly talking about how to combine traveling with work: How To Travel — Some Contrarian Advice
 

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