How I cope with the winter blues

Tips for dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Written by Aisling Concannon


Winter is here once again, and unfortunately with the excitement of Christmas and the possibility of snow comes the downside – the winter blues. Irish weather, cold days and long nights ensure we all get a touch of the Grinch around now. This can range anywhere from just having a little less energy to full blown Seasonal Affective Disorder. And although it can be extremely tempting to just give up and go into hibernation for a few months, there are some simple and easy ways to make life a little easier.

Constant dullness can really suck the motivation out of you to get anything done.

1. Turn on the light

First thing when you wake up in the morning turn on the light; dark mornings mean it’s too easy to slumber the day away. Lack of natural light can really lower your mood so try to get outside and get as much as possible. For those of us who get really sad: changing to brighter lightbulbs or even investing in a light box can really help to perk you up.

2. Exercise

Seeing as you’re gonna be braving the elements to get a bit of light you may aswell add some exercise in there. It’s not always what you want to hear but a brisk walk can be great for boosting your mood. Natural light, fresh air, a chance to clear your mind – doesn’t that sound nice? Just make sure to wrap up well.

3. Eat healthily

Take your multivitamins! Vitamin D supplements, in particular, can help to maintain a positive mood during these winter months. As we naturally get it from sunlight our levels tend to fall around now. As always, maintaining a healthy diet is another key factor in maintaining a healthy mind. Plenty of fruit and veg while keeping a close eye on your intake of carbohydrates is the simple formula to follow.

4. Monitor your alcohol intake

Drink, aswell as food, should be taken into account. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit (ho ho ho), but overindulging in alcohol can have awful consequences when it comes to our mood. Often after having a great time for those few hours you will find yourself on a downer for days afterwards. Try to keep a handle on the eggnog, and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

5. Mind your sleep

As I said, I know hibernation seems like the most attractive option these days but sleep regulation is really important for keeping those blues away. Try to always get at least eight hours a night to wake up on the right side of the bed, while not oversleeping either as it can have just as much of a negative effect.

6. Hot Chocolate

Even if you don’t have anything planned for the day try to get up around your usual time – maybe get out for that walk we talked about? If all else fails, here’s the key: hot chocolate. A dollop of cream and a few marshmallows. Try it and then tell me I’m wrong.


Our work is supported by