Analysis: Are there any bright sides as clocks set to go back?

The clocks are set to go back this weekend, adding darker evenings to a growing list of reasons to be gloomy at the moment.

Five year old Dougal MacAllister, whose grandmother set up the "Shine Bright Scotland" campaign.
Five year old Dougal MacAllister, whose grandmother set up the "Shine Bright Scotland" campaign.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today set out a roadmap for a five-tier system of Covid-19 restrictions, including the possibility of some local authorities going back into a near-full lockdown.

Yesterday National Clinical Director Jason Leitch warned Scotland to bin all hopes of a “normal” Christmas, and to get on with preparing their “digital” alternatives.

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Against a backdrop of rising Covid-19 cases, uncertainty and exhaustion after months of restrictions, the Scottish winter risks being even gloomier than usual.

To counter this, a number of charities and other groups have come up with campaigns to bolster morale during the winter season.

A grandmother in East Lothian is urging neighbours and friends to light a candle in their windows on November 1, a move which she is calling “Shine Bright Scotland”.

Alison Johnston, 58, from North Berwick, wants people to “create some light in our darkness” in the face of a difficult winter, inspired by Scandinavian nations and the concept of “hygge”.

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“I know just how tough it was for so many people even though the spring of this year brought some of the nicest weather we have enjoyed,” she said.

“The thought of plunging into the dark of a Scottish winter with so little to look forward to is depressing for very many people.

“We want to encourage people to embrace the winter brightness of Scandinavian countries and create some light in our darkness.”

The Red Cross is asking people who are feeling lonely, or who have noticed that someone else seems lonely, to reach out to the British Red Cross Covid-19 support line on 0808 196 3651.

Volunteers will then help with practical loneliness support – such as group sessions – or just a friendly chat and a listening ear.

Edinburgh-based psychologist Professor Ewan Gillon has launched a series of free lunchtime webinars run by his company First Psychology Scotland to give people advice on managing their mental health during the pandemic.

The first webinar focuses on maintaining mental health while working from home, while others look at staying connected during a potential winter lockdown and coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Public Health Scotland has urged everyone to make sure they are taking vitamin D supplements as the last vestiges of proper sunlight begin to fade. They recommend a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day, especially for those who don’t eat a lot of vitamin D-rich oily fish or eggs.

The Viral Kindness Scotland campaign, which was launched in March to support people through the initial lockdown, has now been re-launched in line with the advent of new Covid-19 restrictions.

Initiatives includes a 24-hour helpline provided by Glasgow-based contact centre go-centric, and has 120 businesses signed up to help others.

Not all low feelings can be countered by a vitamin D tablet or a candle. If you’re worried about your mental health talk to your GP, or you can contact Samaritans on 116 123 or [email protected]

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