DAD.info
Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents
DAD.info | Family | Health | Your Winter Blues Survival Kit

Your Winter Blues Survival Kit

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

If you find yourself struggling in the cold winter months, you’re not alone. It’s normal to find the grey days grim and depressing. However, if you find winter causes you to experience symptoms including persistent low mood, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

SAD is often referred to as ‘winter depression’. Symptoms can include loss of pleasure in activities or feelings of despair, irritability and sleepiness. Craving carbohydrates can also be an issue.

SAD is thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight during the winter months. Scientists believe that less sunlight causes the hypothalamus in the brain to stop working properly. This then causes a range of problems including disruptions to your body clock and hormone levels.

How can I feel better?

  • Get as much sunlight as you can. Even if it’s cloudy or grey, going for a walk or cycle ride can really boost your mood.
  • Try and eat as healthily as possible. When it’s cold we often crave stodgy food, but heavy carbs can cause blood sugar spikes, which then cause you to crash to a low mood. Eat the rainbow by eating lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as plenty of fish.
  • Socialise. You may feel like just hiding indoors, but push yourself to meet a friend, even for an hour. Talking to other people (even if it’s just about the Champions League) will help you feel better.
  • Try and embrace the season. If possible, make the most of being indoors by trying out some new hobbies, recipes or working your way through some films that you haven’t got around to seeing.
  • Take supplements. One of the main sources of vitamin D in our bodies is from sunlight, which we lack exposure to in winter. Taking a vitamin D supplement has been proven to boost mood substantially. Omega 3 supplements can also be beneficial: Iceland has one of the lowest daylight levels in the world, but their high consumption of Omega 3 in fish provides them with an antidepressant effect.
  • Seek some support. You can either speak to your GP if your mood is low, or contact mental health services. There are some that you can text if you feel awkward about seeing or speaking to someone. See below for a list of services available.

Contacts/ resources for support

Text the word SHOUT to 85258. Someone will text you back and speak to you via text about how you’re doing.

Call the Samaritans on 116123.

Contact the Calm Zone.

Speak to Parents Online (text service).

Related entries

Survey results: You told us how tough it is to be a dad

Survey results: You told us how tough it is to be a dad

In September we asked you a number of questions about how you cope with fatherhood. The honesty in your replies highlights the startling reality that dads face- increased stress, and a chronic lack of support. You also shared with us your thoughts about what stops you...

Body dysmorphia: the growing mental illness in teens

Body dysmorphia: the growing mental illness in teens

While you're likely aware of the rising problems in young people around anxiety and depression, you may not have heard of body dysmorphia. Sadly, rates are dramatically on the rise amongst teens. With the constant glare of social media and pressures to conform to...

Stuck for words: what you need to know about stammering

Stuck for words: what you need to know about stammering

It's International Stammering Day on Sunday, a reminder of how many kids suffer from speech difficulties and what parents should be aware of. For kids who stammer, expressing themselves can prove frustrating and upsetting, and they may struggle with low self-esteem as...

Latest entries

One on one time with children- the benefits

One on one time with children- the benefits

When it comes to building a deeper bond, you can't beat one on one time with children. There are a number of great benefits not only for your relationship but also for your child's wellbeing and confidence. What is one on one time? One on one time is time devoted to...

Parents call for smartphones ban for under 16s

Parents call for smartphones ban for under 16s

MPs are being pushed to consider a smartphones ban under 16s following a number of tragic deaths. The mother of murdered teenager Brianna Ghey, who was killed by two 15 year olds, has asked for both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to consider measures to stop children...

Pin It on Pinterest