Bringing the Outside In….By Annabelle Hird, MBACP, Gestalt Therapist.
S.A.D, or seasonal affective disorder becomes a topic that I encounter with clients quite a lot at this time of year, and it really is no wonder as it is believed one in three of us suffer in the U.K. The diminished number of daylight hours and the lack of sun seem to be the biggest perpetrators when it comes to causing the winter blues. Sunlight stimulates the part of the brain that creates serotonin (the happy hormone) and without enough of it our brains start making melatonin (the sleepy hormone) making us want to hibernate.
When I explore this weather-related low mood with the people I work with they often end up talking about how they love spring, because the leaves growing on the trees and the flowers coming into bloom remind them of new life and fresh starts, by contrast to the rather bleak reminder of mortality that winter may give us. It is no wonder then that the pagans used branches of evergreen trees to decorate their homes at this time of year to remind them of the spring to come. Like any tradition that makes you feel good this one has stuck and around the festive time of year homes are filled with Christmas trees and sprigs of holly and ivy and front doors are adorned with wreaths. These decorations have become symbols of Christmas but they also serve as a reminder that new life and new beginnings are just around the corner.
If you suffer with S.A.D. take extra care of yourself during the winter months, try to get outside even for a few minutes in the middle of the day and remember that these feelings will pass. Many find mindfulness helps with managing low mood and a creative mindful activity can feel more accessible than meditation so you might like to try the Bloom Box Club Wreath Making Kit . It is a super useful way of making space for yourself and also creating something that the pagans would smile about!
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