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How To Fight Off The Winter Blues In 8 Simple Steps

Updated: Feb 8, 2022

What is the winter blues? Medically known as ... Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) ironic I know its SAD for short! It is a form of depression but only occurs in the winter seasons that typically occurs in late Autumn and winter, so from around November right through to February, this is when the daylight hours are the shortest, making it dark for most of the day. Even though this seasonal depression goes away when the sun comes out and spring arrives, it still has a negative affect on your mental wellness during the autumn/winter months making six months out of the year a struggle.

It is known that women are more prone to suffer with this condition especially if you have other underlining conditions such as... depression, anxiety and bipolar. Their is even a link to poor gut health and SAD so check out your gut ladies!

If you think you or someone you know may have the winter blues aka SAD then look out for these signs:

  • A constant, overwhelming sense of sadness

  • Physical and mental fatigue

  • Increased sleepiness

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • A loss of interest in personal hobbies

  • Increased cravings for carbohydrates and sugars

  • Possible weight gain

  • Social isolation

  • Thoughts of hopelessness, self-injury, and/or suicide

WARNING!!! If you or someone you know do experience suicidal thoughts then please get in contact with your GP or Mind.

As the winter blues is associated with less sunlight. Your body needs Vitamin D coz it produces serotonin, which regulates your energy levels, mood, appetite and sleep. So a lack of Vitamin D reduces your serotonin levels which then results in mood swings, fatigue, and unhealthy food cravings! Explains a lot right ladies?

Even where you live in the world may play a big part in why you have this condition. Some people have gone to great lengths and relocated to a brighter sunnier country like Spain or Australia, just to get that all year summer sun and Vitamin D. Now I'm not suggesting you go to these extreme measures as their are things you can do to get yourself through the winter months with a smile and a spring in your step!

8 Ways to Combat the Winter Blues:

1. Get a Good Night Sleep

Now I know this is easier said than done especially if you have young kids that think 10pm is play time or 3am is wakey time! But plan to wake in the morning the same time and go to bed the same time in the evening without having an afternoon nap to regulate your internal clock. Unless you have a newborn of course! You sleep mumma, like whenever that baby sleeps day or night, you sleep!

2. Vitamin D Supplements

It is proven in research that Vitamin D supplements can reduce the symptoms of the winter blues. You may even want to be prepared and start taking Vitamin D supplements in September/October to prevent getting it in the first place. Get a year supply here!

3. Sun Lamp Therapy

Sun lamps or happy lights are another great way to keep those winter blues away throughout the dark cold period of the year. Many people have tried and tested them with fabulous results so why not pick yourself one up today and see if this lamp can help you feel happy?

4. Meditation

Meditation is a great way to help keep those winter blues away and if you ask me, all people should practice the art of meditation! The world would be a much more harmonious one for sure. I found this short meditation to start you off that is specific to the winter blues and it is guided so just sit comfortably close your eyes and listen.....

5. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This type of therapy is often offered to patients that suffer with depression and anxiety so it makes sense for it to be offered to people that suffer with SAD also. It is said that CBT can reduce the symptoms of SAD but differs from person to person. So what is CBT?

Well CBT is:

A therapy that focuses on challenging and changing cognitive distortions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes) and behaviours, improving emotional regulation, and the development of personal coping strategies that target, solving current problems.

CBT then goes on to promote healthy behavioural changes in people such as.... positive talk, journaling, meditation, yoga and even volunteering in the community. It may even be beneficial to invest in a life coach (Which I am training in, so watch this space!)

6. Journaling

Journaling is a great way to express your feelings and in time learn to understand yourself more by reading what you are feeling at different times of the year and when certain events are going on. You don't need to be an expert writer you just need to start righting down how you feel. After a few months you can look back and see what you felt and when, so it acts like a daily mood log. You will learn so much about yourself so give it a try and start journaling today!

7. Exercise (outside in the sun if possible)

Get out in the winter sun where possible even if its for a walk it will do you the world of good! Coz I know all you probably want to do is snuggle up indoors duvet day style all day everyday until the spring comes, but seriously you need to get out in the natural light and soak in that Vitamin D!!

To be honest just going for a walk, sun or no sun will help, just put those layers on and you'll be fine, unless its snowing too much in which case your snowed in! Just do a home workout like yoga, boxercise, belly dancing, whatever gets you going then do it! Even dancing round the house doing your housework.... makes it more interesting!

8. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

It is proven that your gut health is related to your brain health so what you eat really does effect your mood. So taking on an anti-inflammatory meal plan will tremendously help with your winter blues symptoms.

The Paleo meal plan is proven to be the best as it reduces your gut inflammation, which then improves your mental health.

Refer to this Paleo cheat sheet that you can print out (click & download under the image) and refer to daily or when needed.

Don't forget what we drink has a big impact on our gut health also, so limit your.... caffeine, high in sugar fizzy pop, smoothies and alcohol.

Make sure you drink plenty of water to keep hydrated and energised and always make your own smoothies!

I suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and I find too much of some foods like bread, milk, caffeine trigger my symptoms even alcohol so I keep these to a minimum!

paleo cheat sheet printable
Download PDF • 830KB

I also notice my gut health is much more happier the more active I am on a daily basis, even if its a walk my gut needs it! Yoga has been amazing too so if your not a yogi lover then challenge yourself, their are many 30 day yoga challenges on YouTube and even yoga practises that are specific to the winter blues, like this one below.

If you are suffering with any kind of mental health then come join our Facebook group The Mental Mum for advice, support, some laughs and so much more, we would love to have you!

That’s all from me today, until next week...

Remember to Keep Smiling & Laugh a little Every day!

Your Mental Mum...

Ps, Let me know if you try out any of these steps and how they went for you I would love to know or better yet come over to our Facebook group and share.

Join our Facebook group... The Mental Mum!

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