Beat the January blues and take a walk in the woodlands

Forest Enterprise Scotland is urging people to take a walk in the woodlands following the winter holidays to encourage exercise and promote healthy living.

As the holidays end and reality sets back in, some suffer from the January blues, also known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). According to the NHS, SAD is a type of depression that affects people throughout the winter months, particularly in January and February.

The short winter days reduce our exposure to natural daylight and can affect our intake of vitamin D. By exposing our palms and face to sunlight for as little as 20 – 30 minutes a day we can boost our vitamin D levels which helps combat SAD.

Although unproven, there are many ways to overcome SAD, with regular exercise being at the top of the list. Seven out of the ten largest forests in the UK are in Scotland*, all of which the public can visit and make use of.

Exploring the great outdoors provides multiple benefits, including physical exercise opportunities, reducing symptoms of poor mental health and stress, improving mental wellbeing, and enhancing community engagement across different social groups. 

Colin Peacock, Community and Visitor Services Manger at Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: “Getting out and spending time in Scotland’s beautiful greenspaces is a great way to clear the mind, boost energy levels and promote more positive thinking. Most people associate being outdoors with summer, yet winter is a great time to begin enjoying the wonders of the woodlands. The air is crisp, and the stunning evergreens stand out against the drape of the winter backdrop. A brisk walk over crunching leaves is a great way to start the day.

“Scotland is full of multipurpose woodlands; some have smooth paths, perfect for long distance walks or jogging, and others have more natural pathways which can create more of a workout for your legs. If you fancy a strenuous walk, head out to the hills and wander along the slopes. If you’d rather take it easy, you’ll also find plenty of woodlands on level ground.

“A healthy mind is a happy one, and studies have shown that spending time within greenspaces can really help reduce mental fatigue and beat the January blues. There’s no time like the present to make your New Year’s resolution and get outdoors more.”

For more information on your nearest greenspace or to find out more about how woodlands can help improve health, please visit  


Notes to editors

  1. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of the Forestry Commission and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  2. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  3. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6508 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.