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Navigating the Winter Blues: Tools and Tricks for Survivors of Suicide Loss

Updated: Feb 15

The winter season can be particularly challenging for survivors of suicide loss, as the shorter days and colder weather can amplify feelings of grief and sadness. However, incorporating specific tools and tricks into your daily routine can make a significant difference in navigating the winter blues.

Woman looks over a body of water from a snow-covered porch

Image by Arek Socha/Pixabay

I've found multiple ways to improve my winters after losing my father to suicide. I used to dread the winter and even the first signs of autumn and cold weather, it felt like foreshadowing, like my darkness was lurking right around the corner. For almost 10 years now, I have experienced meaningful joy in winter time and even if I get down for a few days, it isn't weeks or months anymore.

Allow me to walk you through some of the strategies I employ, from light therapy to meditation, specifically for supporting those who have experienced the profound loss of a loved one through suicide. Those who aren't survivors of suicide loss may also find helpful tips and tricks in the following strategies.

Happy Light Therapy: Illuminating Your Days

  • During the winter, sunlight exposure decreases, impacting both light levels and circadian rhythms. Investing in a happy light, or light therapy box, can help regulate your body's internal clock and alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

  • Position the light box where it can mimic natural sunlight, preferably in the morning. Spend around 20-30 minutes exposed to the light each day to boost your mood and energy levels.

Aromatherapy: Diffusing Essential Oils for Emotional Support

  • Essential oils can play a crucial role in changing moods and promoting emotional well-being. Consider using scents like lavender, chamomile, or citrus blends, which are known for their calming and uplifting properties.

  • Use an essential oil diffuser in your living space to create a peaceful atmosphere. Experiment with different blends to find what works best for you and your emotional needs.

Herbal Teas and Cacao: Warming Comfort for the Soul

  • Embrace the soothing benefits of herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, or ginger. These teas can provide comfort and relaxation, promoting a sense of calm during the winter months.

  • Cacao, rich in antioxidants and known as a natural mood enhancer, can be incorporated into warm beverages. Enjoy a cup of hot cacao to indulge in its comforting and mood-lifting properties.

Mind-Body-Based Modalities: Nurturing Your Spirit

  • Explore mind-body-based modalities such as reiki, acupuncture, polarity therapy, massage, and network chiropractic care. These holistic practices can provide physical and emotional relief by balancing energy, reducing tension, and promoting overall well-being.

  • Choose the modality that resonates with you, and consider incorporating regular sessions into your self-care routine.

Building a Support Network: Connecting with Others

  • Reach out to friends and chosen family members for emotional support. Share your feelings and experiences with those you trust, allowing them to provide comfort and understanding.

  • Consider establishing a weekly call with a close friend. This dedicated time can serve as a safe space for expressing your honest feelings, and in turn, reciprocate the gift of listening for your friend. Mutual support can strengthen your connection and provide a valuable outlet for both parties.

Establishing Routine: Providing Stability in Grief

  • Grieving can make life feel chaotic, so establishing a daily routine can offer a sense of stability and predictability.

  • Plan your day with a balance of self-care activities, work, and social interactions. This routine can act as a foundation, helping you cope with the challenges that winter and grief may bring.

Mindfulness Meditation: Cultivating Inner Peace

  • Meditation can be a powerful tool for managing grief and promoting emotional healing. Take a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness meditation, focusing on your breath and being present in the moment.

  • Consider using guided meditation apps or attending meditation classes that specialize in grief and loss. This can provide additional support and connection with others who understand your journey.

Nutrition: Fueling Your Body and Mind

  • A balanced diet is essential for both physical and mental well-being. Make sure to include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and flaxseeds, which have been linked to improved mood.

  • Stay hydrated and limit the intake of stimulants like caffeine and alcohol, as they can affect your sleep and overall emotional state.

Therapeutic Support: Seeking Professional Help

  • Winter blues and grief can be overwhelming, and it's okay to seek professional support. Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief and loss, providing a safe space to express your emotions and receive guidance.

  • If the cost of therapy is prohibitive, please check out for therapy on a sliding scale, wherever you are located. If you're in Asheville, please check out

Surviving the winter blues after a suicide loss requires a holistic approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of well-being. By incorporating tools such as happy light therapy, aromatherapy, routine, meditation, nutrition, herbal teas, and cacao into your daily life, you can take proactive steps towards healing and finding moments of joy amidst the winter shadows. Remember, it's crucial to reach out for support when needed and prioritize your mental health during this challenging season.


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