Do You Have The Winter Blues? How To Get Support

Do You Have The Winter Blues? How To Get Support

27 February 2018

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or ‘The Winter Blues’ affects an estimated 2 million people in the UK across all age groups. The Winter Blues is a form of seasonal depression where sufferers can feel low, disinterested and lethargic. As a result it can really impact on your ability to work and your personal life outside of work.

Fortunately, there are methods to improve your mood and beat the winter blues. There is also extra support available if needed, and in many cases you will find that your employer provides some resources and help.

It’s important to point out that all of these methods work differently for different people, so it’s best to try all of them to see what works best for you.

Symptoms of The Winter Blues

Some of the symptoms of the winter blues are:

  • Constant low mood
  • Struggling to find pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or despair
  • Lacking in energy and feeling tired during the day
  • Sleeping excessively and finding it hard to get out of bed
  • Craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

In their extreme forms, these symptoms can have a massive impact on the sufferer’s day-to-day life. Therefore it’s really important to recognise when you’re feeling down, and take steps to improve your mood.

Top ‘Self Help’ Tips for Beating the Winter Blues

The Winter Blues can be a simple case of feeling sad or it can be extreme feelings of guilt or depression. Here are some of the best tips for beating the winter blues that you can do today:

  • Get active: ideally you should be exercising at least one hour a day. This can be as rigorous as a class at the gym or as gentle as a yoga session or a brisk walk. Keeping active and if possible doing this in the middle of the day can really help you overcome the winter blues.
  • Go outside: being out in the daylight can do wonders for your mood. Even if you work night shifts, try and find at least half an hour where you can spend some time outside under sunlight. Alternatively many sufferers find that light therapy can help (see below).
  • Keep warm: being cold can have a dramatic effect on your mood. Studies have shown that keeping warm can reduce depression by 50% so be sure to get the kettle on and eat hot food at meal times.
  • Eat healthily: eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will give you more energy, improve your mood and stop you putting on weight over the winter.
  • Lighten up: investing in a light box or dawn simulator have been proven to improve energy levels and mood.
  • Find a new hobby: engaging your mind with a new activity can do wonders for your mood and really help you get excited and energised again.
  • See friends and family: socialising with close friends and family is a sure fire way to get you over the winter blues. Even if it’s really cold and miserable outside, make an effort to attend social events.
  • Chat with your GP: a quick chat with your GP may put your mind at ease and give you the tools you need to ease the winter blues.

Where to Find Support to Beat the Winter Blues

If you have tried the methods above for and still feel blue, you may want to seek additional support.

Some organisations that can help are:

Mind - Mind is one of the UK’s top mental health charities, which ensures people don’t need to feel like they need to face the winter blues alone.

Depression Alliance – this charity has a network of self-help groups that can put you in touch with other people also suffering from depression, and help you get better together.

Get Support From Your Employer

Many employers have a progressive approach to Seasonal Affective Disorder, understanding that it is their role to support members of staff affected and offer them help if required. Your employer may offer resources such as self-help information or provide telephone support services for their staff.

To find out what mental health and wellbeing support your employer provides, register for your Vivup account here where you will find details of available support and get access straightaway.

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