Just yesterday, it was announced that the government is to provide an additional €84 million for mental health services next year.

As today is World Mental Health Day, we want to help to eradicate the stigma surrounding conversation about mental health even further. Earlier this year, we broadcast a very special show on the morning of Darkness into Light 2018 from 2.50am-5.50am, and we want to make sure that conversation is continuing daily.

The clocks will be going back an hour on October 28th, meaning brighter mornings for a time and much darker evenings.

The expression we’re used to hearing constantly is “it’s so tough when you get up and it’s dark out, and you get home in darkness”, and we couldn’t agree more with that statement or variations of it: it’s not easy, and it can lead to all of us craving some much-needed Vitamin D and fresh air as we begin our winter hibernation.

But, it’s important to remain optimistic and positive during these months, and not allow our hobbies and pastimes to take a back seat.

With this in mind, we decided to talk to the experts to get some advice on this for both us and you.

We spoke to Martina Breen, director of the Dancing Soul and a psychotherapist, trainer and spiritual director who has offered the following advice on how to maintain a level of positivity as the literal darkness creeps in.

1.Acceptance

“Some people actually welcome the darkness and that coming in and I think the first thing is to accept that, the seasons do change”, she begins.

She recommends that we all think about what we like to do and advises that this is the perfect time of year to take up a night-class and to start expanding on some extra skill or hobby.

2. Plan your wardrobe

Sometimes what we’re wearing can affect our mood, she says, and many hate being too warm with extra layers.

“I can’t stand being in more clothes and being too warm. With the heat up on the inside, and then you’re going outside and you’re cold”.

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We couldn’t agree more- is there anything worse then feeling all sweaty at work after freezing your way through the morning on your commute?

3. The importance of getting outdoors

“It’s really important that we get outdoors and we actually get natural Vitamin D from the environment.”

Vitamin D supplements can also help to keep people’s moods up.

4. Nature and Hibernation

Remember that it’s okay to not keep at the same pace all year. Martina tends to work from a nature and spiritual perspective and says, “nature has a really rapid part of growth. There’s the part when it’s in full bloom and showing itself off to the world in summer and then it starts to wind down. Then it goes into hibernation for couple of months. We, as beings on the planet, we try and defy that. We try and stay at the same pace for the four seasons and go, go, go and then give ourselves grief when our natural body cycles have actually slowed down. We could actually learn a lot from nature.”

5. Make plans, for you.

Not only are the months of October, November and December a good time to start planning those little trips for 2019 with friends and making plans, Martina recommends that we recognise what we have achieved this calendar year already and to think about what we would like to have happen next year.

“It’s a great time to do a vision board […], what would I like to happen next year?”

“We can tend to spend a lot of our time looking at what we haven’t done and roads not taken, rather than roads taken. Winter time can be a time to really give yourself a little bit of slow-down-space. It’s darker earlier, your body clock wants to go to bed earlier – give in to it.”

6. Journalling

Martina advises on bringing a journal to bed and jotting down what you’ve done today and what you’d like to do tomorrow. “If you’re feeling down, or have those winter blues, or if you’re suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, (S.A.D), writing things down and how you feel and what’s stirring you up and what’s not; writing it down can be so beneficial… and take up mindfulness”.

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Stay tuned to iRadio.ie and our social media channels at the same time next week, when Martina will have advice for any of you who may be going through a break-up.

Find out more about Martina, her work and the Dancing Soul here.

Need help now? Click here for a full list of helplines and services that are available to you.

Missed our special and unique documentary about why we supported Darkness into Light 2018? Catch up below.