If you need assistance with any issues raised in this article, consider talking with your GP, or speaking with a Samaritan by message or phone call via their website. 

A walk in the snow might boost your mood... / Picture Credit: Unsplash

A walk in the snow might boost your mood... / Picture Credit: Unsplash

Winter, while enjoyed by some, isn’t everyone’s favourite time of year. While Christmas and New Year's celebrations are on their way, this isn’t a good thing for everyone. This article is not medical advice, but some simple tips to help you through winter if you’re finding it to be a difficult time of year. 

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), can be caused by changes in daylight (days getting darker earlier), and the weather changing (colder days and nights). Some of us can struggle to adapt to that harsh change after such long days in the summer.

Here are seven ways you can try to combat seasonal depression, and get the most out of the winter months, no matter how dark or cold the days get. 

Stay social 

Staying social today may seem a little difficult, especially with potential restrictions due to the global coronavirus pandemic. However, speaking with friends and family without the use of technology can do you the world of good. 

Try to organise a walk, even just for 30 or 40 minutes, and you will feel yourself getting a little lighter. Doing this with someone else is a bonus, as you can both discuss any problems you may be having, or you can simply have a good laugh with someone you care about. 

Fresh air is great for the body, especially if you’re feeling a little low. 


Using essential oils or even candles may not seem like a helpful idea, but it can really elevate your mood. 

If you use your favourite scent while doing a calming activity such as taking a bath or reading a book, whether it be in the form of oils or candles, the smell will remind you of the serenity you feel while doing this activity. 

For example, if you burn an apple-scented candle while reading a book, and this improves your mood, the next time you use this smell will most likely boost your mood once again, as it reminds you of that wonderful, calm feeling. 

A good book and a candle can do wonders... / Picture Credit: Unsplash
A good book and a candle can do wonders... / Picture Credit: Unsplash

Keep to a schedule 

Many people who suffer from SAD have issues sleeping and waking up in the morning, but sticking to a regular routine can help. 

While your days may not all be the same, trying to go to bed at a similar time each night and waking up at similar times can do wonders for your sleeping schedule. Doing this will more likely than not allow you to sleep better, meaning you will be more rested and ready to tackle the next day. 

Keep active 

This is perhaps easier said than done, but keeping active can boost your mental health by a substantial amount. Winter might not be the best time for an outdoor activity, but there are plenty of ways to stay active at home, if you don’t wish to head to the gym just yet. 

Of course, there is gym equipment you can purchase, but simply finding a YouTube video on yoga or cardio may be easier, and will let you progress at your own pace. There are also apps to help you stick to a workout routine, and even getting together with a friend to practice yoga can do wonders. 

Teach yourself yoga / Picture Credit: Unsplash
Teach yourself yoga / Picture Credit: Unsplash

Let the light in 

In the winter, as the days get darker earlier, you’re likely to want to take advantage of as much of the daylight as you can. Going outside, even for a short walk or to town, will no doubt boost your mood. 

However, if it is far too cold to leave the comfort of your home, don’t worry. Keep your blinds or curtains open in order to let the light in, which is an aid to making you happy whilst indoors.

Daylight doesn’t last too long in winter, however, but try to make the most out of it, and in the evenings perhaps try to think what you can do while the sun is shining the next day. 


Keeping a journal has been proven to help those suffering with mental illness, as it can be a way for many people to get rid of any negative thoughts by jotting them down. 

Writing down any stressful thoughts, regardless of the context, and closing the book on them, so to speak, can be a way for your mind to let these thoughts go as they have been recorded and can now be forgotten. 

Do remember to note down your positive thoughts and feelings too, as you may want to look back on those pages to give yourself a little boost and remind yourself that you can be happy. 

Record your thoughts in a journal / Picture Credit: Unsplash
Record your thoughts in a journal / Picture Credit: Unsplash

To-do lists 

In a similar space to journaling, writing a ‘to-do’ list every day can really help you get up in a morning, and focus on what you want to get out of each day. 

A list of this sort doesn’t have to be a load of tasks or housework you need to do, but instead it can be a list of positive things you want to achieve. For example, making a note to go for a walk is an easy thing to complete, or you could make it your goal to go shopping and pick up something to bake or cook something new with. 

Setting yourself small, obtainable goals each day will show you that you can achieve what you set out to do; then you could work on making the goals bigger, and working your way up to something challenging, as you now know you can do what you set out to accomplish. 

Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal

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