However, there are things that you can do to help yourself.
* If you are missing sunlight badly, think about investing in a light therapy lamp. These lamps simulate sunlight and can help to wake you up in the morning. The Seasonal Affected Disorder website sad.co.uk has some suggestions. Sunlight is thought to stimulate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that controls sleep, mood, and appetite, all of which impact on how we feel. Similarly, production of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood, may be affected by low sunlight. If possible get outside sometime during your day, researchers have suggested that between 6am and 9pm is best, when the sunlight (however weak and wintery) is at its more potent. Try walking to work, walk your dog first thing in the morning or walk your children to school.
* As with all mental health issues, exercising regularly, getting early nights (between 7 and 8 hours sleep a night) and building relaxation into your day and enjoyment into your day are all beneficial in keeping you happy, healthy and relaxed.
* Drink enough water...dehydration can affect mood and the mental health charity Mind has lots of useful tips on how eating and drinking can help your mood.
* If you feel low try talking to your family or a good friend about how you feel, if thisdoesn’t help consider confiding in your GP. Talking therapies can help, as can Emotional Freedom Technique, which can help you to ‘tap away’ negative feelings.
* Stay connected with friends and plan fun things to do throughout the winter months.
Host a dinner party, go out with friends, get out for walks on the weekends, visit some winter markets or even consider volunteering as a way of keeping busy and meeting new people. Learn something new and meet new friends (see below).
* Try to avoid stress by planning ahead for events such as Christmas...try doing your present shopping online and in advance, I have been known to buy Christmas presents in the summer! Doing your food shopping online during December can help you avoid the crowds and ‘overwhelm’ when shopping. Let the internet take the strain!
* Lastly, don’t feel that you have to do everything on your own...it is not weakness or a sign that you aren’t coping if Christmas isn’t perfectly perfect! Let your family into the kitchen to help...if someone offers to peel potatoes or do the washing up let them! If you haven’t bought 25 different types of chocolates for Christmas no-one is going to notice, but they will notice if you are absent in the kitchen all day and you aren’t enjoying yourself. You are allowed to enjoy the festivities and put your feet up...you deserve it!