Shorter daylight hours and dull, gloomy weather can lead to a host of symptoms including low mood and libido, lack of energy and poor appetite.

Known as the ‘Winter Blues’, approximately 12% of the population is affected with this condition.

Recognising that you have the ‘Winter Blues’ is the first step. Then you can follow our self-help tips to help reduce the symptoms and make a real difference to your winters.

No two sufferers will experience the condition in exactly the same way and having some tips to work through is a positive way for each individual to find relief.

Here are five top tips:

  • Get outside in the fresh air as much as you can and try to stroll around outside in the middle of the day.
  • When indoors, stay near windows and exposed to natural light as much as possible.
  • Eat healthily. Fresh fruit and vegetables are mood-enhancers and will help to avoid sugar and carbohydrate cravings which lead to weight gain.
  • Visit family and friends as often as possible. Even when you really don’t feel like going out, even a short outing can make a big difference to how you feel.
  • Find a new hobby.  Mental activity can help to ward off the winter blues and keeps the mind positively focused.

For Winter Blues sufferers it can seem that winter starts as early as September and lasts until April. 

However a little planning and preparation means that winter can be a time of real enjoyment, rather than endurance.

Barbara Hopkins is a freelance writer of features on topics as diverse as graffiti art, flashpacking in New Zealand, the cemeteries of Paris and an allergy-free home. Find more from her at thefeaturewriter.com.

Twitter: @bhwriting