Intuition Counselling & Psychotherapy

Counselling & Psychotherapy In South London

Do you feel ‘different’ in the winter?


Have you ever woken up in winter feeling sluggish and like everything feels grey and dull?  Maybe you wake up feeling anxious with less motivation then in the summer months? Do you feel more sensitive during winter almost like something is ‘off’ but you can’t quite put your finger on it?  Did my blog post picture make you shudder or did you feel a more calming emotion?


February already!  We’re over halfway through that winter period, what I like to think of as a seasonal ‘hump day’.  A time that can often feel like a slump, a struggle, stuck.  Whether or not you enjoyed the seasonal festivities at the end of last year or would rather have stayed in bed and hibernate (maybe you did), the reality is that you may feel that you have to carry on and just keep going right?!  Despite 2021 not being the best year, full of uncertainty and for some draining in lots of different ways there is an expectation to keep it moving. 


The start of the year can feel like a time that you ‘should’ take stock and make changes, you may be the sort of person that likes to make resolutions, you may even stick to them.  However, you may instead be a person who struggles to stick to your intentions, may even feel pressurised to make them.  Maybe this time of the year is making you feel seriously tired, unlike yourself, like you are just going through the motions... 


Maybe this time of year then has you beating yourself up about not sticking to your new changes or maybe it leaves you feeling like you have no agency or control.  Could you pause to challenge that inner critic, I bet that voice isn’t even yours.   It can go against the grain but self compassion can help you to approach the changes you want to make with more ease.


There can be a lot of internal and external pressure to completely overhaul yourself and don’t get me wrong, it is really beneficial to take a look at things in your life that you feel no longer serve you and let them go – but do you really have to do it all at the same time?  Winter is a time that can really impact your mood and mental health, making everything feel ten times harder and like such a slog. 


So instead, I would like to invite you to honour what your body is telling you at this time.  How about easing into the year and the coming months?  That can seem a little scary especially if you are used to doing something different and it can be hard to do the opposite of what everyone else seems to be doing.  


There could also be an underlying mental health reason for the way that you feel in the Autumn/winter months. 


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) 

This is a mood disorder and is also called seasonal depression as it tends to present in the autumn and winter months (though it can also affect people in other months).  It happens due to changes in your circadian rhythm.   

Symptoms of SAD can be: 

  • Feeling tired and listless 
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Feeling more hungry/cravings 
  • Feeling low 
  • Feeling teary 
  • Feeling irritable 
  • Being more critical of yourself 
  • Brain fog/trouble concentrating 
  • Having challenging thoughts/feeling hopeless 
  • Feeling like you do not want to live 


It can be common to brush it off as the winter blues but if you find it happening to you every year, you may want to consider ways you can consistently look after your mental health and wellbeing during those months for a better quality of life.  This is especially important as there are so many of us who may still be recovering from not only the trauma of the pandemic, long covid symptoms, the cost of living crisis here in the UK and the current political issues all of which can bring on increased worry and anxiety. 


Have you ever stopped to think about what feels easily within your control to tackle at this time of year? 


Here are my tips for reducing the stress of winter: 

  • Open your curtains when you wake up 
  • Invest in a SAD lamp - Amazon sell some inexpensive versions.  I would recommend building up use in 10 minute increments over a few weeks.
  • Try to get out for a walk in the daylight (if accessible to you, if not try to sit by a window) 
  • Try gentle movement that you enjoy such as yoga, tai chi, stretching 
  • Try breathing exercises or meditation (lots of resources on YouTube, my current favourites are Yoga with Adrienne and Arianna Elizabeth) 
  • Connect with others 
  • Take time to pause and rest 
  • On low energy days, reflect on what you can do and try to keep it simple   Celebrate yourself for achieving a task no matter how small it feels.
  • On days that feel ok, try to make the most of it, do that little extra if it feels right 
  • Check with your GP if you may have a vitamin D deficiency - vitamin D supplements can make a huge difference if you need them


I hope you enjoyed this short read, please remember the list above isn’t exhaustive and although it may take trial and error it is about finding what feels best for you. Seasonal changes in your mind, body and soul are usual and ok, however if you felt my words resonated with you today and you would like to talk to someone, my ‘door’ is open. You can give me a call on 07442 168 406 or drop me a message. 



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