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Well being - help with keeping your mind healthy

Dr Brenda Dawes-Burritt (Psychologist)

2 January

Everyone can feel sad at this time of year. The trees are bare and the pavements are slippy. If you are feeling depressed you are not alone. Everyone else is too. People you pass on the street. People you see at seasonal parties who seem to be laughing and cheerful. On one level they are all wounded and emotionally shrivelled like you. Do not feel alone.

All our animal spirits retreat at this time of year. They are waiting for growth and rebirth with spring. But that is months away. We know there are days and weeks of dark evenings, bitter mornings and the inconvenience of snow, frost and snow to come before then. And that is part of who we are. We are seasonally affected.

Our near neighbours (in evolutionary terms) the bears sleep through this period of the year (but not in England since they were killed off generations ago by our ancestors). Many species, such as bees, actually die off leaving only a single lady queen to carry them through the bleakest part of the winter. It is a trite modern phrase to describe ourselves as worker bees, but perhaps there is something here to remember. Do not expect to be happy during winter. Just focus on that little germ of life - the spark which is you - and be ready for it to return with the lengthening days after the worse of the freezing nights are over.

Until then, remember that your body is telling you to eat fatty and sweet products for a reason - it wants to be warmed up by an extra layer of fat. And sherry is very effective at helping the evenings pass.

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