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Coping with winter blues

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Coping with winter blues

Coping with winter blues

Sharing some tips for coping with winter blues

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” croons the 1963 Christmas song by Andy Williams, a song that celebrates the merriness of lights twinkling, carol singing and bells jingling.

Christmas is no doubt a magical time, but for many the short, dark days of winter can be a difficult period. Shorter hours of sunlight can cause people to develop a type of depression called ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (SAD). SAD is characterised by a low, sad, or flat mood, tiredness or lethargy and a loss of interest in usual activities during the darker months.

For many brain injury survivors, such problems are unfortunately a regular part of life. Difficulties with sleep, mood, concentration, and initiative (our sense of ‘get up and go’) can all be common experiences after brain injury, with the winter days potentially making these even greater challenges to cope with.

Here we share some tips for coping with winter blues:

  • Keep in touch with others – the colder months can make it more difficult to get out and meet people, but it’s important to still try to stay connected with others. Consider inviting friends over to your home, making phone calls or using Headway’s online communities to connect with others affected by brain injury.
  • Plan ahead – some days might be easier than others, and you may find that you have more energy on some days compared to others. Use your better days to plan activities for moments that might be more difficult, for instance having a book or audio book ready to read or listen to.
  • Manage fatigue properly – when feeling fatigued it’s important to rest, however there are some things to keep in mind with managing fatigue effectively. These include trying to maintain a regular sleep routine (i.e. getting up and going to bed at the same time every night, which can be tricky in winter!) and not napping later in the day or for more than 30 minutes at a time.
  • Maintain a healthy diet – the approach of Christmas can bring chocolates, snacks and other treats galore into the cupboards. While it’s tempting to munch away, do remember that it’s important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and to drink plenty of water, which can help with managing depression.
  • Sunshine and exercise – try to get some exercise each day, and make the most of sunshine by going out, sitting outside or finding a sunny spot in your home during the day.

Please remember that our Helpline Team offer a free and confidential support service to help anyone experiencing the effects relating to brain injury.

You can contact them for support and advice on Freephone: 0808 800 2244 or email


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