Please DO NOT DELETE this page.

Blog //
  • Wellbeing

How to beat the winter blues

25 June, 2018
Beating the winter blues

Australians are a lucky bunch, not having to worry about months of darkness when winter rolls around. Unfortunately, there are still a small portion of antipodeans getting a mean dose of SAD in the cold season.

What is SAD?

Seasonal affective disorder - signs and symptoms of depression that arrive with the dark and colder months.

What causes SAD?

Shorter days and less sunlight impacts your natural circadian rhythms, as well as your melatonin production. Melatonin is prevented from being produced in the light, so is generally secreted at night.

The symptoms of SAD are what you’d expect from someone chronically tired:

  • Hypersomnia (sleepiness)
  • Over-eating and craving for carbs
  • Low energy levels
  • Lack of concentration
  • Slow thinking
  • Increased anxiety and irritability
  • Depressive and destructive thoughts

 How can I manage SAD?

You can always prepare for better mental health by taking care of your mind, body and your diet. Here are a few winter-tips to keep your spirits from sinking:

  1. Work on your sleep hygiene – your sleeping habits and environment are at the core of sleep hygiene, and just like any processes, they can be worked and improved on. Some quick ways to sink into better sleep are
    1. Setting up a regular bed time
    2. Only using your bed for sleep
    3. Making sure you’re getting enough exercise during the day
    4. Avoiding stimulants before bed (or as early as late afternoon)
    5. Keeping a diary of your sleep performance
  2. Think optimistically optimism has demonstrable mental health benefits. Being hopeful and confident in future success allows you to maintain motivation, adjust better to adversity, and improve relationships. If you’re a classic cynic or are struggling to see the light in the darker months, you can
    1. Reword your thoughts (instead of ‘I failed’, you can think again and replace it with ‘it didn’t work out well this time, but this will help me for next time’)
    2. Take inspiration and support from those around you
    3. Keep a diary of your day, noting your successes, and how you plan to use what you’ve learnt to improve
  3. Eat healthy winter foods food impacts mental health, which means you have the chance to eat your way into a cold-proof mindset. Try shopping seasonally for your fruit and veges this winter with
  • Oranges
  • Mandarins
  • Kiwifruit
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Kumara

Plenty to work with there to make a citrusy fruit salad or a simmering winter stew!

  1. Get plenty of exercise – the cold can make it harder to get motivated and take longer to get warmed up, but exercise is a fantastic antidepressant. If you’re looking to reach your workout goals in the winter, try
    1. Minimising any discomfort from cold where it relates to your exercise
    2. Spend more time warming up
    3. Organise team or group activities
    4. Set small, achievable goals to work towards

By making healthy habits in the winter, you’re preparing yourself for the following spring and summer!


How common is seasonal affective disorder in temperate Australia? A comparison of BDI and SPAQ estimates

Seasonal affective disorder - Health Direct

Seasonal Affective Disorder: why you feel under the weather - The Conversation

Beat the Winter Blues - National Institute of Health

Seasonal affective disorder: Can winter really send you into a case of seasonal depression? - ABC News

Do you have the winter blues? - NHS UK

All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified medical practitioner. CBHS endeavours to provide independent and complete information, and content may include information regarding services, products and procedures not covered by CBHS Health Cover policies.

1911_CBHS Skyscraper Banner-07

Suggested Articles

  • Olga Gallant and Amber Gallant

    How Best Doctors helped Olga’s daughter

    Olga G approached Best Doctors when her middle daughter Amber was given a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.
    • Membership
    26 February 2020
  • Corona virus

    Department of Health – Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

    The Australian Government, Department of Health is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Find out more about novel coronavirus on the Department of Health website.
    • Membership
    • News
    25 February 2020
  • Mental Health Reform

    Member Insider - Government Mental Health Reforms

    In October 2017 the Australian Government announced it would introduce changes to make it easier for insured people to access higher benefits for psychiatric care. These changes commence on 1 April 2018.
    • Wellbeing
    25 February 2020
  • A person eating healthy

    Eat your way to better looking skin

    You don’t need to spend big on fancy-sounding products to get glowing, healthy skin. You can eat your way to fabulous-looking skin with simple, nourishing food.
    • Nutrition
    23 February 2020

What Our Members Think

I joined as a CBHS member in 1978. Through many health events and challenges CBHS has always been there for me and my family. Their exceptional service over this time has always been appreciated.

- Jenny J

What Our Members Think

I've not long joined CBHS from another fund, but so far I've been impressed by the super helpful and friendly staff, the higher claim limits and rebates at a very competitive premium, and how easy it is to lodge manual claims through the app. Thanks CBHS - you've won me over! 😃

- Jessica B

What Our Members Think

What I love about CBHS is their customer service - friendly staff and always ready to help and email you the information you ask about. Keep up the great work!!!

- Linda S

What Our Members Think

I love CBHS as its so so easy to lodge a claim and whenever i need a question answered friendly consultant is one phone call away. The phone back option instead of waiting is brilliant!

- Rachel N

What Our Members Think

I have been with CBHS since I began at CBA 15 years ago...Now I have three beautiful children, one who has a disability. Our top extras cover has been really essential for his early intervention. I do love the ease of claiming online.

- Annette E

What Our Members Think

I am relatively new to CBHS and am loving it already. I worked for a CBA subsidiary a long time ago but was still eligible to join. So much better that the for-profit funds - our premium is only a little more and we pay a lower co-contribution and get great benefits. I am loving the massage rebate for my partner and gym rebate for me!

- David G

What Our Members Think

I'm extremely happy with CBHS! I have been a customer for about six years. I think the price is reasonable. And i would refer you to my family and friends any day. Thank you CBHS!!!

- Karen W

What Our Members Think

Love CBHS as I never have to doubt that they've got my back when I need it. Been through other insurers who have limited options or limits, yet cost the same or more.

- Mark F