8 Ways to Ward off the Winter Blues

8 Ways to Ward off the Winter Blues

This post was written by Dr. Happy (aka Prof. Tim Sharp – HERE) and comes from our most recent, FREE, weekly eNewsletter. If you'd like to make sure you don't miss out on any of these articles and/or keep up to date with all our happiness goings on, then just sign up (it won't cost you anything!) HERE. And now, keep reading…

Many people struggle to keep up motivation and energy levels during the colder, winter months but did you know that there's a specific type of depression, that affects some people at the same time every year, called "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (or SAD)? The symptoms of SAD are pretty much the same as those for other types of depression and include low mood, hopelessness & helplessness, loss of energy, reduced satisfaction from previously enjoyable activities, sleep disturbance, social withdrawal, appetite changes and difficulty concentrating. Like all psychological disorders, SAD occurs on a continuum so for some people it's just a bit harder through winter but they still manage and get most things done; for others, it's seriously debilitating. For suggestions to help overcome SAD keep reading below…


Following on from the paragraph above, the practical strategies listed below have been proven to help most people manage "the winter blues" effectively and to keep functioning. As always, however, if you're struggling to cope on your own then please consult with your local GP and/or consider some of the options listed at the end of this section…

  • try to keep as active as you can

  • if your existing exercise regime is not feasible or possible during winter then find other ways to exercise (indoors if necessary)

  • if you do change to indoor exercise try, still, to get as much sunlight as you can (especially early in the day)

  • keep socialising as much as you can and use your imagination if necessary to generate practical options that won't be affected by cold or wet weather

  • set yourself meaningful goals to achieve through winter from which you'll gain satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment

  • don't forget to have fun! We often describe winter weather in terms that are somewhat depressing but there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself through this time of the year

  • keep eating well and don't use winter as an excuse to eat more or to eat poorly (see our Wellness Coach, Jen's great post on this from just a few weeks ago – HERE)

  • and throughout all of this, ensure you're expectations are realistic and your thoughts are helpful. It's not unusual for some to sleep a little more and achieve a little less during winter and so if you're one of the people who does experience SAD, even in it's milder forms, then certainly do what you can to get over it BUT don't be afraid also to adjust your expectations and ensure you're not being too hard on yourself

Do you have any other strategies that work for you? If so, we'd love you to share them HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook Page

And as noted above, if you need more help then consult your GP and/or consider…

  • getting in touch with one of our team such as Dr. Paula Watkins (clinical psychologist) – HERE

  • the 10 Simple Steps to Overcoming Depression self-help program – HERE

  • or any of our other books and resources – HERE

Here's to a wonderful winter!