The Winter Blues are a range of low moods and emotions that creep up on us and grow when the days get short, cold, and dark. Also called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the Winter Blues can make us feel like staying in bed and binging on comfort foods, can give us a low mood and lack of energy, and lessens our interest in daily activities. And it can also affect those around us – family, friends, because we have a tendency to hide away.

SAD is a form of depression, often triggered by seasonal changes in daylight and weather, typically in winter. Many think that seasonal changes disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm – the internal clock that regulates how we function during sleeping and waking. Hormones can be affected too – serotonin and melatonin regulate sleep and mood, and when they’re disrupted, low mood can manifest itself, contributing towards Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms.

But there are ways that can helps us overcome the symptoms of SAD. Here’s an outline of the many things we can do to stay on top during the Winter:

1. Go outside; stay active

A one-hour walk in the middle of the day can be helpful as you’re exposing yourself to daylight, which helps towards fending off the winter blues. Get as much natural daylight as you can – midday and anytime on a bright day is the best time. And if you can’t get out, select a spot near a window to cram in that extra sunlight.

2. Stay warm; eat well

Being cold can make SAD worse, so keeping yourself warm with hot drinks and good food, warm clothing, and a nicely warmed home can reduce winter blues symptoms substantially. And as noted, eat good food, not junk; a healthy diet can boost your mood and energy. Balance your carbs with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables to avoid piling on the pounds over the Winter.

3. Try ‘Light Therapy’

Light Therapy can be effective for the winter blues. You can get light therapy at many health & wellness centers, but at home you can sit in front of a light box for several hours a day. Light boxes give out very bright light at least 10 times stronger than ordinary lighting and are available for purchase in some stores and online.

4. Start a new hobby

Keep your mind active with a new hobby or interest, such as writing a blog, knitting, going to the gym, scrap booking, or painting. It gives you something to look forward to, keeps you occupied, and can focus your mind.

5. Spend time with friends & family

Humans are social animals, and socializing is good for our mental health, which helps to defend against the winter blues. Stay in touch with the people you care about, even if you only socialize for a short time.

6. Join a support group

If you find it hard to deal with winter blues having implemented the ideas above, think about joining a support group; sharing experiences with others who also suffer from SAD can make your symptoms more bearable.

7. Seek help

If your symptoms are so bad that they interfere with your acts of daily living, talk to your doctor for medical help. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms.

You can also talk to Journey Into Wellness; we can certainly talks things through with you, and maybe arrange some online sessions to help you get through the colder months, and deal with the Winter Blues in an effective way.