Tips on beating the winter blues


winter blues

*Written in Collaboration with BetterHelp, sharing my story of SAD 

I know that in general I feel more positive, energetic and focused during the warmer months while the opposite can be said for the start of the year as I come off Christmas and New Years exhausted from the stress of it all. My energy levels take a dive and my normal active and out-going self starts to battle with lethargy and the shorter days seem to get to me, the clouds seem to hang lower and feel heavier. Having grown up in the southern hemisphere this is all still fairly new to me and catches me unawares year after year and I find I have to plan lots of activities during the colder months to break the monotony of it all before spring really sets in.

Having gone through more than a few cycles of this, pretty much every year since moving to the UK, I know that the reduced amount of sunlight during these months affect me despite even when I make sure to get out as much as possible. The thing is the "Winter Blues" isn't a myth and actually affects a lot of people and it's important to be aware of it and make sure it doesn't develop into SAD or otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.


For those who don't know what SAD is here are the main symptoms

1. Feeling lethargic and more sleepy during the day
2. Being less active than normal
3. Finding it difficult to concentrate
4. General Low mood and feelings of low self-esteem
5. Feeling irritable, stressed or anxious
6. Being less sociable

These are just a few of the symptoms and for some they only arise during the winter months and often people start to see them improve in the spring. SAD however can vary from person to person and while some just find it a bit irritating like I do, for others it can be quite severe and impact their day to day life.

The good news is that there are a few simple ways to break this cycle without any use of medication (although of course if you are really struggling it is always best to consult your GP). Here are a few natural ways to kick those winter blues back to where they came from

1. Active Lifestyle - if you are susceptible to mood changes over the winter months it's really important try and lead a healthy and active life as getting out in the natural sunlight as well as exercising regularly both have real positive effects and help stress levels and raise natural serotonin. Even if you just set yourself the task of taking a half hour walk every day for 30 days you will start to see the difference.

2. SAD Light Therapy - there are a variety of SAD lamps available particularly for those who suffer with seasonal affective disorder and is a form of light therapy which mimics natural outdoor light helping to realise those feel good hormones and aim to raise your mood and help with sleep. While these lights are not cheap and start at around £40 you can use them year after year and is a good investment. You can see some impartial tips on buying a SAD light here.

3. Talk it out - it's really important to talk about mental health because being open and talking about things that are bothering you or your struggling to deal with is the first step to taking back control and is a positive approach. You will be surprised how many people will be able to help even if it's just watching the kids for a few hours, a coffee and chat or a shoulder to moan (or cry) on. You can talk to your GP about counselling although waiting lists can be long, another option it talking to a qualified therapist any time of the day with Betterhelp which could be a good option for those who work and have a family and find it hard to schedule time to talk to someone that works for their lifestyle.

seasonal affective disorder

Another (slightly more pricey) option to banish those winter blues is to head off to a warmer climate for a week or two on a break away as this is something to look forward too, even if just a temporary measure. Check out my post on the best places for winter sunshine here.

Also if you are concerned about SAD then it's worth checking out the NHS website for more information and there is also a fantastic Cardiff based Charity called Heads above the Waves which is about supporting those affected by depression and promoting positive and creative ways of dealing with the bad days.


  1. It just depends on your budget and personal choice.

  2. I think I have got worse with this as I've got older, staying in and not doing much in winter always sounds better to me than it ever has. I'd love to try out a lamp to see if it makes a difference

  3. I know a few people with SAD and they think the bulbs are really good to use, I don't have SAD but I don't like the dark winter months x

  4. These are some good tips, making sure you talk about how you are feeling is such a big thing and something so many people neglect to do.

  5. The SAD light therapy is a game changer!

  6. These are some great tips I definitely try to keep up with an active lifestyle during the winter to improve my mood.

  7. Some fab tips here. I always find a good cup of tea and a chatter always helps matters xx

  8. I've recently written a post about S.A.D too, it's mad how much a change in season can effect
    us so much. I feel so much better knowing that it's getting lighter each day as it is something to look forward to! xx

  9. I know SAD is a massive thing for many people. I think its important to seek some help and take care of yourself. Mich x

  10. I lived in Scandinavia for a couple of years where the winters were LONG and dark... Everyone I knew had a lamp, and as soon as the sun came out everyone would flock to the outside seating in cafes and turn their faces upwards! :D

  11. I hope this post helps those that may need it. Some great points.

  12. Some great advice here. I think a lot of people don't realise what SAD is and how to recognise it.

  13. Get out into the fresh air whenever you can, for however long you can! That never fails to cheer us all up {and tire out the kids!}.

  14. I’ve heard amazing things from the SAD lights. You have given some great tips here

  15. I like this website because so much useful material on here :

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    equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have
    hit the nail on the head. The problem is something too few people are speaking intelligently about.

    I'm very happy that I came across this in my hunt
    for something regarding this.


Lovely comments

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