What are your coping mechanisms?

The days are getting shorter and darker in the Northern Hemisphere. I’d love to know how you are coping with the darker days - I know they can be tougher both mentally and physically.

I’ll share what I’ve started doing.

  • I have decided to start speaking to a therapist.
  • I’ve added in quiet time in my mornings - something I’d trying to do each day. Maybe it’s just taking time to play with the cats, or have my cup of tea while checking on the garden or a wee bit of meditation. Just some me time.
  • I’m making plans to get outside when I can - I have warm, waterproof layers I intend to use - I’ve just made a plan to go fossil hunting soon and go on a wreath making class. So nothing too intense or overwhelming but should give me a few hours out of the house and away from any screen.
  • Exercise/move regularly - It may be some quiet yoga, or it might be a more intense form of exercise but I’m trying to keep moving.

I still have days where I want to curl up and sleep, read or just knit - I spent most of Sunday knitting. So I’m trying to listen and slow down where I can - I’m learning to know the difference between needing rest and knowing when I should move to improve my mood.

Something I did want to mention there is a #help-for-the-holidays channel on the MoT Slack. Please feel free to join and chat.

So how are you coping?


Personally I love the darker days, because the light attracts bugs (wink). I don’t like it when the sun shines in my face during the weekend at 7 am. I prefer to sit in a darker room, with a bit of light not to much. So most of the times my curtains are closed. Same for using Dark Theme on all websites :wink:

I also prefer going to the office when it’s dark. So you don’t get the feeling you miss to much of your current day. (I prefer to leave at 6 am)

In the evening, when it’s sooner dark. I’ll sit in the sofa with a blanket & hot chocolate just a few hours sooner then during the summer period, which makes me able to get 2 hot chocolates during that time!

Gotta make the best out of it :slight_smile: … perhaps this is my coping mechanism :confused:


For a long time I thought it never affected me, but over the last few years I realised that shorter daylight time during the day does influence me. Living in the north of Scotland doesn’t help

Some of the things I do:

  • Take a longer walk with the dogs at lunchtime during the week, work schedule permitting :dog2:
  • Even longer walks in the weekend, ideally in a new place :mountain:
  • If weather allows, light the fire basket, and sit outside with some mulled wine, chatting :fire:
  • Making it cosy inside with candles :candle:
  • Taking more time for cooking. Trying new recipes, and paying extra attention getting the right nutrition :man_cook:

I’m loving all of these. I need to light our outside fire too. I’m a fan of mulled cider, I think I might need to do this!


It’s great you’re reaching out to talk about this!
For me:

  • Prayer
  • Finding beauty in all the little things. I also have cats and I’m so thankful to have them and I try to recognize the beauty in all their different personality traits, etc. When I’m outside I try to completely unplug and notice my surroundings, it’s amazing what you notice when you’re present :slight_smile:
  • Playing board/card games with my wife during Saturday breakfasts, sometimes during dinner
  • Reading/listening to a good book or throw on a good podcast
  • Listening to some calming music or something to put me in a good mood
  • Calling up friends to talk
  • Board game design
  • Cleaning and/or house projects

Hi, I tend to take a while to start up in the winter times.
To help with this, I got the following:

  • I have an SAD alarm clock with a sunrise setting. I’m not sure I would be able to wake up with this, although:
  • I also have a dog who will starve to death if she doesn’t have her breakfast at 6am, so I am always up by 6.15 at the latest.
  • I also have been trying to cycle into work and I do kettle classes as well to try and keep my activity up.
  • Lastly, I have a wood stove in the living room, so I quite like having quiet evenings with the fire going.
  • Lots of light. I’m the person who always turns on ALL the lights in the room and still complains that it’s too dark. I try to get as much outside time during daylight as I can - whenever possible I just disappear for an hour or two at midday with my dogs. I also bought a light box - haven’t really started using it on a daily basis but it’s definitely on my todo list :smiley:
  • Exercise. I’ve started doing The 5 Minute Kitchen Workout - A step by step guide - YouTube in the mornings and it’s made such a huge difference to both my mood and my physical condition.
  • Creativity. I’ve started practicing violin again (after not touching it for like 15 years).
  • Limiting screen time in the mornings and evenings. That’s such a hard thing for me to do. But when I make myself give up on screen time I do notice a difference in my mood and sleep quality.

I really need to get back into reading rather than just watching TV at the end of the day.


Likewise, I totally need to do this too!

:bulb: I should wrap up the book I want to continue reading in wrapping paper that looks like a TV remote control. :thinking:


Last year, I built a light box, it uses 150 watts, so I’m not going to use it and it put me off SAD lamps a bit.
So I am going to suggest vitamin C, yes you guessed it 30 seconds in the microwave on toast

Have also got a good supply of the other vitamin beginning with a C, but some people have control issues, so I’m not going to spell it out, also it gives some of us a headache, so beware. As someone who grew up and spent most of my life living almost inside of the tropics, England is bl____ depressing and I still don’t understand why people don’t rebel about how your energy bills double each year, and just move to a place without the cold problem. This year the distraction I am going with is a home automation project, and rather enjoying building a useless thing from scratch , that probably wont work reliably, and spending loads of money and time on a thing that I can buy off a shelf for 50 bucks. But it keeps me engaged.

And of course you can always drop into the testers google-hangout video-call channel or just search for the regulars on twitter and engage until someone drops in, it’s occupied most days, and you definitely don’t have to talk about software testing either, nor in fact do you have to talk.


It took me ages to work that one out. Ha Ha.
I watch about 1 hour of TV per week, so I struggle to find the remote :joy: