Perhaps nature intends us to hibernate. We have fewer daylight hours, it’s cold, wet and grey and there is an urge to hide under the duvet. For some this can feel safe and cosy, but for others winter represents increasing isolation and sadness.
Around 30% of people have some symptoms which can be called ‘winter blues’ or Seasonal Affective Disorder
There are many symptoms that can be a result of SAD – tiredness, overeating, sleep problems, irritability, anxiety and depression are amongst the most common. There may be as many ways of dealing with this as there are people suffering from it but some things seem to be helpful for many people. You can see some recommendations on the NHS website
Getting out and aboutIf you dress up warmly it can really help to go out walking on a regular basis and all the better if you do it in a group. There are some guided tours that might be interesting for you – try Freedom London Walking Tours
Or if you want to walk alone there are some walks planned for you on Free Tours By Foot
Joining inBecause of the isolation and aloneness that people can feel at this time of year, getting involved in a group can be helpful. For people over 55 there are some lovely things going on at the Claremont Centre at Angel, many of which are free.
Trying something new can be a way to lift your spirits, so spend a moment contemplating what you’ve always wanted to try, or what you would do if you were feeling at your best. Once you’ve come up with one or two things have a think about what is stopping you. At that point you may come up with a lot of negative thoughts, but don’t let these take over. Instead try challenging them. If you need help with this there are lots of books you can find in the library, like ‘Mind over Mood’ by Greenberger and Padesky, or ‘Overcoming Depression’ by Paul Gilbert. Or there are resources online like www.getselfhelp.co.uk
If you feel very low at any time please do ring the Samaritans – they are not just for people who are considering suicide; their trained volunteers will help you cope and get through.
Talking therapyTalking therapy is for anyone who's going through a bad time or has emotional problems they can't sort out on their own. This can often be as least as effective in the short term as medication and can bring long-term improvements.
Sometimes talking to a stranger is easier than talking to friends, particularly if you are the type of person who ‘doesn’t want to be a bother’. Trained counsellors and psychotherapists are friendly and approachable, and listen without judging you. Their goal is not to tell you what to do but to help you work out for yourself what is best for you.
Therapists at Islington Counselling Centre are available at various times and on various days so please get in touch – leave a message on 020 7272 2643 or phone/text on 07791 159201. You can also email by clicking on the button to the left of this page.
I work on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursday mornings. Call me for a free initial consultation, to get a sense of how we would work together. Subsequent sessions are £50. I have some spaces at a reduced fee for people on a low income, so please ask.
You can ring me on 07791 159201.