For some people, the period after Christmas can be difficult.  When all the festivities and celebrations, exchanging of gifts and social gatherings have ended, some people can feel lonely during the winter months of January and February.  The dark and cold winter days means we spend more time inside and less time outside enjoying nature and we can have less contact with other people.  Many people feel the negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing during winter by what is known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), when this seasonal feeling really starts to impact on your life and can leave you feeling depressed.

HDS provide counselling and psychotherapy where you can speak to one of our counsellors if you feel depressed, anxious or are encountering relationship difficulties.  At times of personal change, distress, challenge and loss many people have found counselling to be of great help. It can be reassuring to know you have somewhere to turn when you need support.  Speaking to a counsellor or therapist about the problem can feel like a huge step forward. 

In addition, there are a range of coping strategies you can use to help with SAD.  Here are some suggestions from the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy):

·       Exposure to natural light – try using an extra lamp or lightbox.

·       Eating well - physical and mental health are closely linked, so make sure you eat well.

·       Sleeping well - and enough - and at night.

·       Exercising – even if it means some indoor exercises at home if the wintry weather doesn’t allow for walks outside.

·       Being aware of what you enjoy, and doing those things – small or big, and assuming they aren’t self-destructive e.g. binge drinking.

·       Being aware of and not doing (too much) of what you don’t enjoy.

·       Being able to say ‘no’ when needed. This is more complex and may well require counselling help. Not being able to say no - to friends, family, colleagues for example - means that we are probably prioritising something or someone else's needs over our own. If we do this too much, we become alienated from ourselves. This can be a recipe for depression and anxiety, and susceptibility to SAD.

·       Taking time out to breathe and meditate is good for our mental health. For example, using apps like Headspace and Calm. This is likely to improve resilience against SAD.

·       Speak to someone, like a counsellor or therapist, if you feel it’s not something your family and friends can fully support you with.

Counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland

If you’re going through a difficult time for any reason, our counsellors are trained to help you explore your feelings and experiences in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment. Talking therapies have the greatest positive impact on mental health according to a survey carried out by the UK Council for Psychotherapy.

HDS also works with organisations, large and small, to offer counselling and psychotherapy as part of their Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP).  Our counsellors and therapists have broad experience of working with employees in the public, private and third sectors across Scotland. 

HDS can offer face-to-face, online or telephone counselling.

Click here to find out more about HDS counselling services