top of page

Managing those Winter Blues

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

At this time of year, many people can be affected by the colder, darker nights where they feel symptoms of depression and low mood. This has been referred to as ‘Seasonal affective disorder’. It is thought that it is triggered by the reduction in exposure to sunlight. You may begin to experience feelings of worthlessness, be demotivated, hopeless, tearful, tired, and irritable. You might also find you focus more on the negative in a situation and dismiss the positive.

Low mood is thought to be a response to a perceived threat and our bodies instinctively freeze, or slow down to keep us safe. It can be your body’s way of telling you to slow down while you process what is going on. Seasonal affective disorder can be short-term during the winter months, whereas depression can span weeks or months any time of the year.

You might experience:

· a desire to withdraw from activities and things you usually enjoy,

· finding it more tiring to see friends and be sociable.

· A lack of energy

· Have a low self-esteem

· Sleeping more and finding it hard to get up in the mornings

Whilst you might feel safer in the short-term, isolation can negatively impact your mental wellbeing over time, maintaining that low mood or depression.

If you recognise the signs of low mood and depression at this time of year, then there are steps you can take to help get you through the tougher days.

· Plan ahead. If you know you tend to feel low at the same time each year, then plan how you can best manage this before the Winter months begin. Try to plan relaxing activities to look forward to and explore ways to manage those more stressful life situations.

· Changing your perspective can help. If you find you are more focused on the negative then acknowledge that, but also then seek to find the balance. What has gone well? What have you enjoyed? What could you look forward to?

· Maintaining your usual routines and structure in your day can help get you back on track.

· You might feel like hiding, and experience low energy. Getting active and outdoors can help raise your mood by releasing endorphins, otherwise known as happy hormones. What three small actions could you make to get moving again?

· Getting outdoors can also help get some natural sunlight which is thought to help.

· Make a self-care box filled with items you find calming to touch, to listen to, to read such as positive affirmations, to smell, and to look at such as a photo or picture. You could add a list of ideas to help make today a better day. This can be used on the days you find the most difficult.

· Maybe book time to catch up with friends and family. Who could you go and see? Check out Mental Health Mates for walks to help keep connected

· Helping others can create a greater sense of wellbeing, how and who could you help today?

· If that feels overwhelming, then try a Smile – Smiling releases happy hormones that can help you relax. If you venture out on a short walk, then try smiling at one other person. Smiling is contagious, you may feel better when they smile back at you.

· Make a plan to revisit the activities you used to enjoy that brought you joy. Start your day with a plan

· Put on the radio or find your favourite CD and listen to a song that lifts your mood.

· Visit your GP to explore the options of treatment.

· Acceptance of your emotion and how you are feeling, rather than fighting against it or hiding away, can help explore what you are feeling so that you can problem-solve. Seeking help takes strength but working with a therapist can help with this process.

If you would like to talk more about how CBT can help you, and for a free assessment, please contact me at or complete the contact form on my home page

Image by Kati from Pixabay


bottom of page