Seasonal Affective Disorder: World Mental Health Day 2022

As the clocks go back, the days and nights get darker, and weather gets colder, it’s not unusual to feel a change in your energy levels and mood. Sometimes called ‘winter blues’, our bodies naturally respond to the weaker and briefer sunlight we experience, which affects our ‘body clock’ and prompts a slowing down.

Although the ‘winter blues’ can be felt by many, the term ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD) is often used to describe the experience of a smaller number of people for whom the seasonal change in mood causes more serious distress and disruption to their ability to function.

The signs and symptoms of SAD varies for different people and season, but if you have SAD, you might experience:

  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling down and tearful
  • Feeling agitated, angry or agitated
  • Not wanting to socialise
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Losing interest in physical contact or sex
  • Symptoms of depression or suicidal feelings

If you are struggling with these symptoms and think you may have SAD, then we can help with a range of different treatments and therapy approaches available, that we can tailor to suit your mental health needs.

We offer all new clients an initial consultation to explore your concerns and consider the approach to therapy that is likely to be most helpful for you.

An approach based on Cognitive Behavioural principles would be likely to consider the thoughts you have associated with seasonal changes to your mood and explore how these relate to your emotions, considering ways to re-evaluate these thoughts and to develop alternative, usually practically-grounded, ways of responding to the mood difficulties you are experiencing.

A more exploratory approach to therapy would be likely to explore the meanings and associations these seasonal changes to your mood have for you, understanding the difficulty they represent in a personal way, and exploring the possibility of developing ways of being through the darker period of the year that feel more helpful and healthy for you.

We know that this autumn and winter in particular, many people are facing significant financial pressure and we understand that the cost of ongoing, weekly therapy may not be a commitment that feels possible at this time.

Here at The Retreat Clinics our therapists are highly experienced and skilled in short-term therapy and brief treatment programmes, as well as in longer-term work. Our initial consultations ensure we understand your budget and can carefully consider with you what we can offer that is be a good fit for your financial budget, as well as your mental health needs.

All of our therapies are available at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.

If you would like to find out more please get in touch by using the form below, or emailing or