How to protect your mental health and cope as we head into winter

We asked Mental Health UK’s staff what they do to boost their mood and look after their mental health in the winter. And they were brimming with ideas! Take inspiration from some of their strategies to help you feel brighter and cope better this winter.


“In the winter months, we can be going to work in the dark and ending the working day in the dark! If you’re able to work flexibly, amend your working hours to give yourself a generous break at lunchtime which could enable you to enjoy the daylight and get outside for a longer walk or outing.” 

When it gets dark earlier, the evenings can feel longer and more isolating. Ive been trying to make sure every evening I have a specific activity or task. It doesn’t have to just be socialising, it can be indoors – whether it’s a puzzle or cooking something special, I’ve found having something to do that isn’t just watching TV or being on my phone has helped to boost my mood.”  

It’s easy to forget to drink water during the colder months, when you might naturally be less thirsty or not fancy a cold glass of water. However, it’s so vital that we keep our bodies hydrated even in autumn and winter – good for the mind, body and soul! It’s also important to remember the other basics of good wellbeing, including sleep and exercise, as I notice these all help keep my mood higher.”

“I often feel less energised at this time of year and sometimes this means I make fewer or no social plans. Through the years I’ve realised how important it is to keep socialising and find ways to have human connection during these months, even if it’s cold and grey outside, as you almost always return home feeling uplifted and deserving of that cosy sofa time.”   

“It’s recommended for adults in the UK to supplement vitamin D into their diet, as the strength in the sun isn’t strong enough at this time of the year for our bodies to absorb it. I’ve been taking vitamin D for a couple of months now and have noticed a difference in my energy levels.” 

“Keep connected! I can go into hibernation mode in the winter and not want to leave my house! I sometimes have to push myself to keep up social connections, and always feel better for it. It can be a FaceTime or a text if you don’t feel like meeting up in person, any connection with friends and family is better than no connection.”

“I try to plan something exciting that I can look forward to. Sometimes the winter months can drag and it seems like it’s never going to be sunny again when it’s been raining for days on end! If I can, I’ll plan a trip away or make future plans with friends and family so I have some dates in the diary to look forward to.”

“I use the winter months to take a step back, relax and just enjoy being cosy. Don’t feel guilty for letting yourself take the time to slow down. It’s okay to binge-watch a programme every once in a while or have a lie in. Don’t beat yourself up for being ‘lazy’ – everyone deserves a break and the festive period especially can provide the ideal time to do this.”

Although many of us may experience a change in our mood in the winter months,  if you’ve been experiencing a low mood for a prolonged period of time, and it’s started to affect your daily life, you may be experiencing depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it’s important to reach out and get further support

Your donation will make the difference

Just £10 could help pay for a call to our advice and information line, supporting someone living with mental illness who may be feeling in distress during this time.

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