Improving Your Mental Wellness When Suffering from Winter Blues

It’s normal for many of us to feel a little “blah” so to speak, during the winter months. Lack of sunlight, sundown coming earlier, limited outdoor activities, holidays, increase in sicknesses, and bot liking the cold temperatures are all perfect ingredients for us to get a touch of the winter blues. For those suffering from chronic illnesses that can cause flair-ups, being immunocompromised, having seasonal affective disorder, and various other conditions, on top of all of the previously mentioned changes, it can be even more severe and lead to clinical depression. Here are some quick tips to assist in improving your mental well-being throughout the winter months and hopefully make it through with a little more ease.

Accumulate Positives


To sustain more emotional regulation, we need to accumulate positives consistently. Think of your emotional regulation as an inner tube, each time we accumulate a positive we add air into our inner tube. When we hit a rock (a painful event in life), if we have enough air in our inner tube, we will bounce back! We do this by accumulating positives in the long term, as well as the short term.

  • Short Term: Think of various activities you can do that you are able to be mindful in and that also bring you joy. It could be something as simple as making your bed, reading your favorite book, engaging in your favorite hobby, or getting your favorite drink at your favorite coffee shop.
    • Check out the DBT skills manual for the Pleasant Events list for more ideas!
    • Check out this list from the VA!
  • Long Term: We tend to do better when we have a long-term goal in mind that motivates us forward. Think of something realistic, yet that fits your values, as well as your priorities. Make small goals to build yourself up to the overall goal.
  • IMPORTANT: Do not forget motivation comes AFTER you take action! Once you take the first step, it will get easier and easier 😊

Consult with your doctor/PLEASE Skills

  • Consider consulting with your doctor and getting bloodwork done related to your vitamin D levels. If you find you have low vitamin D or already know you have low vitamin D consider the following:


    • Taking a vitamin D supplement – these can be purchased over the counter. Depending on how low your levels are, your doctor may prescribe a higher level dosage you can obtain from your pharmacy.
    • Opening curtains and blinds and intentionally sitting near them or getting intentional moderate sunlight exposure daily.
    • Eating foods with higher vitamin D. There are foods that naturally contain vitamin D, make sure these align with your health requirements and/or consult your doctor. A few are – cereals, fish, mushrooms, milk, eggs, orange juice, oatmeal.
    • Purchasing a light box can additionally be effective for some. It is important to obtain a light box that is specifically intended for treating seasonal affective disorder or depression, or it may not be effective. You additionally want to make sure it does not produce a lot of UV rays as this could harm your skin. You can buy one without a prescription, yet it is always best to use one under a health provider’s consultation.
    • Get intentional physical movement in daily! It is important for us all to engage in some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day for our minds as well as our bodies. Stretching and yoga, as well as walking around your neighborhood still counts!

There are many other skills that can be additionally utilized to beat the winter difficulties, I hope you check out the DBT skills training manual and the DBT-RU channel on YouTube to assist you in furthering your skillful behaviors!

About the Author

Alyssa Eichhorn (she/her), M.A., LPCC, is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who specializes in dialectical behavior therapy. Alyssa works with all ages in a radically genuine and nonjudgmental setting to help individuals identify more effective and balanced behaviors to create a life worth living. Alyssa provides a directive and warm approach with her clients to facilitate solutions, growth, and change where they want it. Click here to learn more about Alyssa and her therapeutic approach.

Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT® skills training manual (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.