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The Winter Blues

Updated: Apr 26

By: Kristine Habibi, MS, LPC-A. Supervised by Thomas O. Whitehead, MA, LPC-S.

December is here, and for some of us so are the Winter Blues. Though the holidays are often regarded as a cheery, warm, love-filled, and even “magical” time of year, a significant percent of the population struggles.

A young female adult is comforting her female friend in a coffee shop.

Do you find yourself feeling a bit more down during the winter months than in the

summer? Do you experience a lack of appetite or difficulty falling asleep? Do you find yourself feeling more drained or less motivated than usual? If so, you may struggle with the Winter Blues. This low mood often is related to a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder which is triggered by changes in the weather.

During the winter months, we experience far less sunlight than usual, as the sun sets a

few hours earlier than in the summer. Because of this, our body’s 24-hour clock is thrown off, causing some people to feel exhausted hours before their typical bedtime. We cannot change the time that the sun sets, but there are several things that we can do to combat the Winter Blues.

If you find yourself experiencing a change in mood this winter try:

  1. Regular exercise. Increasing exercise will make your body more tired, help you fall asleep more easily at night, and feel more energized during sunlight hours.

  2. Spend at least an hour a day in the sun. Making sure that you spend time in the sun is likely to brighten your mood. You do not need to be in direct sunlight, but sitting on a porch or going for a walk may be helpful.

  3. Spend time with loved ones. Go out of your way to make the first move in making social plans.

  4. Focus on your connection to your spirituality.

  5. Practice mindful meditation or journaling about what you are thankful for each day.

  6. Practice regular self-care (spiritually, emotionally, physically, vocationally, and socially). Do not neglect your physical or mental health.

  7. Practice self-compassion and positive self-talk.

  8. Remind yourself that seasons are temporary and each one has special gifts to offer.

  9. Follow a routine. Keep up with tasks such as making your bed, doing a skincare routine, brushing your teeth, going to the gym at the same time every day, or going to sleep at a certain time.

The Winter Blues are real, but so is your strength. Keep these tips in mind this winter

season, and always feel free to reach out to a therapist if you need further help.


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