The Winter Mood Project is an attempt by two friends, Jo and Chris, to better manage the mood problems that we experience in the winter. We know that lots of people find that they struggle to varying degrees and in different ways during the winter months and although no two experiences are the same, we hope that others who find themselves eyeing the approaching winter anxiously might find something helpful in here and also contribute something themselves.
Hello I’m Jo, one half of the Winter Mood Project. I don’t think Chris will mind if I describe myself as the feminine half and the rather more hippy of the two of us. You may notice from some of the posts that I’m a bit of an ageing earth child. I live in ’70s suburbia, with him indoors and our twins A and B, in a fantastic northern city. It’s not the the rural eco-dwelling of my dreams but our place here has Big Windows. I need a lot of light. My sense of well-being is vastly improved by living in a house with big windows and doing lovely research work in an office which is mostly made of windows.
Winter is, at times, troublesome for me because:
It’s dark; I get cabin fever stuck if stuck inside; there’s too much faffing with winter clothing on and off; it’s a battle to get others to come outside; there are loads of muddy outdoor clothes to wash if I do get everyone to come outside; I have low energy levels; I get winter illnesses; there is an excess of the colour grey; I feel cheated that winter is so long while summer is so short by comparison; I miss the sun; Christmas can be more draining than it is uplifting.
This blog isn’t going to be all about complaining but I’d like it to make room for acknowledging what can be truly challenging for some of us and I know that my irritations are nothing compared to the agony many people experience in winter time. We will be writing our own upbeat responses and solutions but letting ourselves acknowledge tricky times. Hopefully this might be appealing, amusing and sometimes supportive to some of you out there in winterworld.
By the time Christmas comes I am always telling myself that this year it doesn’t seem so bad. Then by February I find myself severely lacking in energy, motivation, enthusiasm and pretty much any positive feeling or attribute you care to mention. I know that lots of people experience some kind of dip during winter and I know that come spring everything will start to unfold and seem a lot more hopeful, but at the time it is difficult; I become more prone to making mistakes at work and grumpier with my children.
So although I acknowledge that what I experience is not a full-on mental health problem (I work in a mental health team so that much is obvious) it is nevertheless problematic so along with Jo I decided that I needed a new approach; hence the blog. I am hoping that by taking a step back and re-thinking winter I will learn to enjoy it more and have fewer mood problems. By the end of February I suppose I will know whether it’s helped or not. In the meantime I hope you enjoy reading our thoughts and ideas and chip in with some of your own.