As the winter brings in colder and darker days, we might feel more tired, sluggish, and low in mood. This is understandable: many animals have eaten large amounts of food to keep warm and hibernate all through winter. Though we might be tempted to do the same, it's important to remember there are things you can do to help you feeling more energised, warm, and even cheerful!

Things that can help

Light exposure is important for mood regulation and for your body's natural day and night rhythms. Increase your light exposure by:

  1. Going on morning walks. One-hour morning walks have been shown to lower stress and helps you wake up more readily, even when it's dark outside.
  2. Work/do your activities near a window if possible.
  3. Get a SAD lamp, which artificially mimics sunlight.

Low levels of light in the winter makes us want to stay at home, wrapped up on the sofa. But decreasing your activities tend to result in lower mood. It also stops your body from generating heat to warm you up. 

Find ways to increase your activity, boost your mood and keep warm on our Exercise and Staying Active page. There are also videos and tips to help motivate you!

Research has found that a positive view of the winter months can result in higher satisfaction and happines in the winter. It is helpful to see winter as an opportunity rather than something you have to survive. Below are questions for you to help reframe how you view winter:

  1. What is the best thing about winter?
  2. What can you experience in the winter that you can't in other seasons?

If you're stuck, maybe ask the KWSEL community for some ideas on how to view winter differently!

Bad weather can be stressful for the body. To relief this stress, we tend to eat carbohydrate-heavy diets. Though you may feel comforted in the short-term, this type of diet can lead to weight gain and make you feel sluggish.

Visit our Eating Well page for resources on how to eat well to make you feel well this winter!


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Although most of us experience the winter blues, more than 1 in 20 people in the UK experience depression that is more apparent and sever during the winter. This is called Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

Symptoms include:

  • A persistent low mood

  • A loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities

  • Irritability

  • Feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness

  • Feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day

  • Sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning

  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Decreased sex drive

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.

Our self-assessment tool can help you find out if you would benefit from further support.

A number of treatments are available for SAD, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), antidepressants and light therapy. Find out more about SAD and treatment.
 
A GP will recommend the most suitable treatment option for you, based on the nature and severity of your symptoms. This may involve using a combination of treatments to get the best results.
 
Alternatively, you can self-refer for an assessment with KWSEL and we will direct you to the most suitable support services.
If you would like to talk about your wellbeing and what has been going on for you with a member of our team, you can submit a request-a-call-back form.
If you would like a conversation right now, click on the chat button on the bottom right corner of the screen to begin a live chat with a member of our team.

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