While winter can bring us crisp, chilly walks in sparkling frost and cosy fires to curl up in front of, its presence also means shorter, darker days.
This can lead to a mood condition called season affective disorder (SAD), which can bring on symptoms including low mood, oversleeping, lack of energy and irritability.
SAD tends to subside when the days lengthen in the spring, but putting some of these ideas into practice can help alleviate symptoms during the winter months:
If your lifestyle means you’re indoors a lot and can’t access much natural sunlight, then light therapy gadgets can help to boost your energy levels and make you more alert.
A lightbox like Lumie’s Halo lamp offers adjustable brightness and cool and warm light options.
Exercise is a well-known mood booster, so factoring in outdoor exercise – even if it’s a walk round the block on your lunch break – can clear your mind and wake your body up.
Mapping app Go Jauntly can create 20, 45 or 60-minute circular walks from your doorstep and promises to get you from one location to another in the leafiest, quietest and least-polluted way possible.
Lack of sunlight can leave our bodies deficient in vitamin D, putting us at higher risk of depression, illness and tiredness.
Factoring foods rich in vitamin D, like fatty fish and eggs, into meals can be planned easily using a nutrition app like Nutrients – Nutrition Facts which provides a database of the nutrients in almost 200,000 foods.
SAD can cause rising stress levels and negative thoughts, so performing breathing exercises using an app like Breathe2Relax can help manage anxiety and calm the mind and body.
If the sky’s full of clouds, you can immerse yourself in sunshine through a summery book set in a hot climate. These suggestions from Waterstones can help your mind temporarily escape to the beaches of Thailand or the Mediterranean coast.
Mindfulness exercises can improve your physical and mental health, so an app like Aura, which suggests suitable meditations to you based on your answers to its questions, can help get you in the routine of using mindfulness regularly.
Getting a good night’s sleep can prevent oversleeping and boost your energy levels, so filling your bedroom with essential oils that encourage relaxation, using something like The Perfect Night’s Sleep candle from Neom, will help set you up for bedtime.
And when negative thoughts take over, there are a variety of talking therapy apps available in differing price ranges.
The charity Shout, however, offers a free, confidential text conversation with a trained volunteer when you text “Shout” to 85258 at any time of day or night and they will signpost you to further help if you need it.