A GP writes | 7 Ways to Beat the Winter blues

Winter low mood or depression, known as Winter Blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder/ SAD), can affect up to 2 million people in the UK each year, including children. In this article, we look at the symptoms of Winter Blues plus 7 ways to reduce symptoms.

Symptoms of Winter Blues:
  • Low mood
  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Difficulty managing usual daily activities
  • Overeating/ undereating
  • Not feeling sociable
  • Feeling irritable
 7 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
  • Get out in the daytime – try and get into the fresh air, especially at lunchtime and on bright, sunny days.
  • Eat Healthily – the colder and dark weather causes us to crave carbohydrates such as potatoes and bread. By balancing with fruits and vegetables, we can gain more energy and reduce the chances of gaining weight.
  • Keep warm – studies have shown that keeping warm can significantly reduce Winter Blues. Try and have plenty of hot food and drinks. The current energy bills are a huge cause of concern – try and wear layers and ideally keep the home temperature between 18- 20 degrees Celsius.
  • Light – light boxes give our very strong and focussed light – they can be bought from pharmacies and online stores. A dawn simulator on a bedside light or alarm clock mimics the sunrise.
  • See Friends and Family – winter blues often cause us to stay at home and avoid socialising. Meeting family and friends, even briefly, can improve overall wellbeing.
  • Exercise – even a home workout for a few minutes daily can help improve overall energy levels and well-being. (Doing 10 squats while waiting for the kettle to boil/ free 5-minute online workout).
  • Obtain help – many SAD forums can help connect with people with similar experiences. If you feel you are struggling and need support or guidance – speak to your GP for professional help.



Author: Dr Debs Basu, GP, Teladoc Health UK


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