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Wintering: Mental Health During the Darkness of Winter

Well my friends… here we are, in the middle of January. The depths of our winter. The darkness seems pervasive. Grey skies, vacant trees. My whole being is craving the warmth that sunshine brings. I miss being able to step outside without being buried in multiple layers. My hands are tender and red and cracked from the brisk air. I miss the light. Our collective energy feels low, mundane, and bleak.  


Winter provides an opportunity to be slow, to hibernate, to turn inwards. Winter is nature’s way of communicating a need for rest and restoration. With this organic shift towards the indoors comes a provocation of emotional experiences that can feel heavy and intense. Many people feel an escalation of depression and sadness. A desire to isolate upsurges, creating feelings of seclusion. Energy and motivation are limited.


If you are experiencing the inner darkness of winter, you are absolutely not alone. Our mental health can feel depleted during the winter. Seasonal affective disorder is real. “Wintering” is real. Your body and mind are having a normal response to this seasonal shift. You are allowed to feel sad, unmotivated, sleepy, and lonely.


You are also allowed to seek support! You do not have to “winter” on your own. If you have been considering therapy, this is your sign to reach out to someone for support during these dark months.


Attached below are a few resources if you are feeling the intensity of this winter season:


Questions to consider related to wintering:  

  1. Notice what comes up for you when you spend time alone. What types of discomfort, questions, and emotions arise when you have time to slow down?

  2. What does being slow mean to you?

  3. What does rest look like to you?

  4. Who can you reach out to for support when you are feeling down and isolated?



  • Wintering: a beautiful memoir on the importance of rest and retreat during difficult times




Philly Local Resources:

If you are ever in a mental health crisis, you can reach out to 988 to get support.


Interested in starting therapy with me?

Emily Powell Counseling Services

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