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Top tips on managing the winter blues

Publication date: January 2, 2018

Some people thrive in the winter months, with celebrations and the start of a new year full of possibilities and resolutions. But for others it can bring feelings of isolation, obligation, pressure, lack of routine and the unknown.

Three UKCP therapists have given us their advice for coping with the winter months. You can find out more about these therapists and more by clicking on their name and others by clicking here.

Whether you love winter or dread it, there’s something you can do to help yourself or talk to others about.

Julie Dearden:

  1. Make time to have face to face nourishing conversations with the people in your life.
  2. Move your body it can help shift feelings of anxiety and low mood.
  3. Offer yourself compassion and kind words especially when you are struggling.
  4. Nurture yourself in every way; good food, exercise, warm restful environment etc.

Lucy Christopher:

  1. If you get caught in cycles of negative thinking/emotions, set an amount of time to allow them to come, and then actively switch gear, move away from them, and go and do something enjoyable, engaging, and pleasurable.
  2. Could you replicate something you used to enjoy in childhood that really absorbed you, or helped you to cope in challenging times?
  3. What words of comfort or support would you most like to hear from a friendly voice? Put your hand on your chest and soothingly tell them to yourself. Don’t abandon yourself in these moments.
  4. Try interrupting the urge to be self-destructive with something else until it passes – e.g. counting backwards from 100, messaging a friend, watching something funny online.
  5. If you start to feel as if you can’t cope, take a moment to stand still, and imagine powerful roots flowing down from your feet and into the ground, and remind yourself of all the times you have coped in the past.
  6. If you struggle with flashbacks, take a moment to ground yourself in the present moment by listing 5 things you can currently see, hear and touch. Repeat until it passes.

Sharn Tomlinson:

  1. Keep expectations in check and embrace acceptance that everything will be okay.
  2. Practice appreciation every day, even if it is the smallest thing for example that you remembered to take your umbrella when it rained.
  3. Be kind to yourself and to others, smile and others will smile back.
  4. Rest and relax whenever you can – standing in that queue, stopped in traffic, day dream, imagine accomplishing something.


If you’d like to talk to a qualified psychotherapist to receive more personal support, you can search the Find a Therapist register here


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