NARPO – The voice of retired police officers
NARPO – The voice of retired police officers

Tips to help you cope

Lots of people get depressed at this time of year, or suffer from “the winter blues”. The medical name for this winter depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affecting around 2 million people in the UK.

So if the short, dark days are getting you down, what can you do to feel like yourself again? Take a look at these tips:

1. Keep active: Research has shown that a daily one-hour walk in the middle of the day could be as helpful as light treatment for coping with the winter blues.

2. Get outside: Go outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible, especially at midday and on brighter days, and choose pale colours in your home.

3. Keep warm: Staying warm can help reduce the winter blues. Keep warm with hot drinks, hot food, and wear warm clothes and shoes.

4. Eat healthily: A healthy diet will boost your mood, give you more energy and stop you putting on weight over winter. Make sure you eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.

5. See the light: Some people find light therapy effective for seasonal depression. One way to get light therapy at home is to sit in front of a light box for up to 2 hours a day.

6. Take up a new hobby: Keep your mind active with a new interest. It could be anything you enjoy – choose something to look forward to and concentrate on.

7. See your friends and family: Socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off the winter blues. Keep in touch with people you care about and go to social events, even if you only go for a little while.

8. Talk it through: Talking treatments such as counselling, psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you cope with symptoms. See your GP for information on what’s available.

9. Seek help: If your symptoms are so bad that you can’t live a normal life, see your GP for medical help.