They say time flies, and it is very true. I have been writing this column for well over a year, so we are going past several important dates for the second time, such as World Mental Health Day, and World Menopause Day, which both occurred in the past couple of weeks.

This coming weekend sees our clocks going back once again, signalling the longer, darker evenings ahead, something which affects many people in a negative way.

Last year I offered some tips on how to help yourself if you are troubled with seasonal affective disorder, sometimes called the winter blues. At the time, a couple of you asked me to explain more about why it happens. The annual ritual of putting our clocks back, might seem inconsequential to many. However, from a therapist's viewpoint, it opens a window into the intricate world of our circadian rhythms and mental well-being.

These rhythms influence not only our sleep-wake cycles but also various physiological and psychological processes. When we turn the clocks back, we disrupt this delicate balance. Suddenly, darkness descends upon our evenings, altering our exposure to natural light. Our internal clocks grapple to keep up, potentially causing imbalances in our mental health. As a therapist, I often witness the repercussions, as clients may experience mood swings, fatigue, and other symptoms, which can, in some cases, be severe.

Quite simply, your body is craving sunlight. Whenever possible, get yourself outdoors during sunlight hours. You may not feel inclined to in cold weather, but if you make the effort, you will reap the benefits. Are there any times when you could wrap up warm and get yourself outside in daylight? Lunch time at work perhaps? Perhaps you could get off the bus a couple of stops early and do some extra walking.

As I have pointed out before, our minds cannot always tell the difference between imagination and reality (think about how you jump when you watch a scary movie). So, have a think about it, just imagining seeing a blue sky can put you in a more positive frame of mind. Blast out some summer tunes in the evening on YouTube, to alter your mindset.

This time of the year can also make us crave carbs, so try to plan ahead with your eating and ensure you are not overdoing it with too much carbohydrate rich food. It will make a difference; you will feel energised and be more inclined to keep moving.

Keeping up our social connections is very important. You might not feel inclined to go out in the cold to meet that friend for a coffee, but you will feel much better if you do.

At this time of the year, it is so easy to let things get on top of us, a little forward planning for the dark months ahead could make all the difference.