How to cope with winter blues

Winter can trigger feelings of sadness and fatigue as we experience shorter days and colder nights.

For this blog, we invited two UKCP therapists to share their tips on how to manage the winter blues and better cope with the months to come.

Written by UKCP psychotherapist Fe Robinson

  • Listen to your body's natural rhythms and how it is responding to the time of year. We are not designed to have the same activity levels all year round so we may need to make adjustments.
  • Renew yourself with getting out in nature. Dressed appropriately, any weather can be rejuvenating. Make the most of the light by going out at lunchtime.
  • Stay mobile and look after your body. Inactively can make your body seize up and leave you in bad state of mind.
  • Explore your mind and reflect. What is being revealed in this time of less activity, less light, and less distraction? Journal, draw, talk... seek therapy to process if it helps.
  • Savour what you appreciate, take a few moments to notice what you are thankful for.
  • Connect meaningfully with the people you love and care about. We are social, relational beings, and being with other people changes our physiology and our psychology.  It’s good for you, even if you’re an introvert, you just need to find the right dosage.
  • List ten things that bring you joy and do them regularly. Watch a sunrise or have a hot chocolate, it doesn’t need to be big or extravagant. Small simple things can still give us great joy. Encourage those around you to join in.
  • Every season is different. Established patterns and routines were disrupted in the lockdown years, and now you may be returning to them, or forming new or hybrid patterns.  Look deeply at what works for you and your loved ones. Be honest with yourself and those around you. How do you want to evolve this year?
  • Look towards the spring and our emergence from the dark cold winter. Reflect on what you can do during this winter period to ready yourself for what you want to happen next. How can you take advantage of this time so you can look back with pride and pleasure?

Visit Fe's Find a Therapist profile

Written by UKCP psychotherapist Julie Dearden

  • It's important that we surround ourselves with people who both give and receive in conversations so we are nourished by our interactions, even if it is just over the phone.
  • Move your body, it can help shift feelings of anxiety and low mood.
  • It can be tempting put a positive or negative spin on your year. Try to acknowledge the mixture of both loss and opportunity. Offer yourself compassion and kind words especially when you are struggling.
  • Nurture yourself with good food, exercise, warmth and restful environment. 
  • If there is an absence of physical connection, make sure to look after yourself by keeping warm and hugging your body.

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

You can also find support by contacting:

  • In an emergency, call: 999
  • NHS (England), call: 111
  • NHS Direct (Wales), call: 0845 46 47
  • The Samaritans 24-hour helpline, call: 116 123

Find a therapist near you