Barbara Fish Counselling Services ... helping your life work


Helping Your Life Work

Volume 8, Issue 10

October, 2012

As the days grow shorter, greyer and colder, many of us begin to dread what lies ahead. Whether or not we have been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder or we just feel kind of blah during the fall and winter months, this annual ennui is no fun at all. From past experience, we know that it will become increasingly difficult to force ourselves out of bed in the morning, find energy to do things, or lift our mood. Rising in the dark, it will take much of our energy and plenty of coffee to push us out the door towards work or school, especially if neither environment is viewed as fun or interesting. Coming home in the dark, we will crave warmth and light. Reluctant to leave our nest on nights and weekends, we will spend evenings in front of the TV or computer, eating or drinking more than we normally do or should, causing us to feel even more frustrated, unmotivated and sad.

Given that we are at the beginning of the long, dark months ahead, it seemed the ideal time to think about how we might prepare ourselves to counter these negative effects and prevent the downward slide that we might otherwise experience. There are lots of treatments that have been found to be successful for those who experience the winter blues. Twenty minutes of light therapy a day has said to be very helpful, as have talk therapies, meditation and for some, antidepressant medication. One therapy that isn’t mentioned as frequently, but is an excellent form of treatment, is to simply get outdoors. It may feel counterintuitive, but it may prove just the thing to lift your spirits.

If you live alone, plan to get together with friends on a regular basis. If you are currently unemployed, create structures in your day so that you have something to look forward to both in and out of your home. If you don’t already have a winter sport, consider taking one up. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous. It could be as simple as taking a walk, snowshoeing or sledding. Join a club, develop a hobby, take a course or find any other excuse that will force you out of the house and into the world at large. The bottom line is that at a time when you crave inactivity, you may find that you are happier pursuing activities outside of your cocoon.

This is not to suggest that we should overschedule ourselves or not give ourselves permission to relax at home. It’s about maintaining a balance so that you don’t find yourself hibernating all winter and feeling progressively unhappier.

I would love to hear your ideas for avoiding the winter blues. Please let me know what you have found to be helpful. And if you are looking for some counselling support to deal with some of these issues, please give me a call.

Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”

book an appointment

For more information, or to book an appointment at her Toronto office,
please contact Barbara by telephone at 416-498-1352 or by email at