Thoughts for Winter and 2017
Winter is the coldest season of the year, and is caused by the Earth’s axis in the Northern Hemisphere being oriented away from the sun. We have moved past the winter solstice, our shortest day and longest night. Christmas means that Winter does not properly arrive in many people's awareness until the New Year's Celebrations come to an and.
In nature, Winter brings the end of a cycle for some, but not all, plants and trees. Some plants die back, and some animals hibernate. Musical meditations on the season include Vivaldi's Four Seasons: Winter overlaying fire and energy on a slow, quiet, icy backdrop. The Stone's old classic Winter looks back at the end of Winter and forward to the Summer. Thomas Hardy’s poem The Darkling Thrush meditates on the sound of a thrush’s song breaking through the Winter dusk. Or for a testament to the human spirit here's Maya Angelou's Still I Rise.
Life is often acknowledged as a play of opposites and it is worth remembering that while we move into mid Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere move into mid Summer.
So what's happening this Winter?
The traditional New Years celebrations throughout the World begin at 10pm on 31st December in Tonga and end at 12 noon on 1st January in Baker Island. So what's happening closer to home at the beginning of 2017? I’ve focussed on forthcoming events in Dorset, and specifically in Swanage.
For us the longer nights and colder weather make Winter a good time to do less, to rest and gather energy for the Spring. Weather has a psychological impact for many people, as does Winter, when the lack of light can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder for some people. More indoor time can aid much needed rest. Whether you live with others or alone, it can be challenging spending more time indoors with others, or with yourself. There can be a sense of less space. If there is time without distraction the mind will search for problems to solve, which can mean finding oneself dwelling on past and present difficulties, or on predicting future problems. Yet time alone can be the most restful and creative time for many people.
With the beginning of a new year many people make resolutions. Setting unrealistic goals, struggling with them and losing confidence in one’s ability to make changes is a familiar cycle for many of us: here are some suggestions to help you create and keep realistic resolutions.
If you are feeling persistently low or anxious this Winter please consider reaching out for help. There is good quality information here on depression and anxiety. Remember that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Counselling offer a safe, confidential place to talk through and address issues that are bothering you, so that you can find a way forward. Have a look at the CBT and Counselling pages on the website for more information.
Please note: If you have felt very low for some time or are thinking about harming yourself, please do speak to your GP or Contact Samaritans.
Many people find being in Nature is very therapeutic, that it helps to put things in perspective, and nourishes the soul. There is also good research on the benefits of exercise for mental wellbeing: walking offers an opportunity to discharge anxiety and shift low mood. Each month I will talk about a walk around Purbeck, an area of outstanding natural beauty, where my practice is based.
Durlston Country Park and Nature Reserve sits at the top of the hill at the South end of Swanage Bay, and is continuous with the South West Coast path. For a two-three mile walk park on Bon Accord Road close to the junction with Newton Road.
On Bon Accord Road, at the end of Newton Road, there is a footpath between the houses that brings you down to a stone road. Walk past many people’s favourite ‘shop’ where donated items are sold from a front garden for charity. Continue along the stone road which winds right. Don’t take the first path to the left, continue another 200 yards and take the second path to the left leading up to the ridge. As you get higher views of the sea appear in front of you, and to the left you can see Swanage Bay. Continue up and over the hill until you are on the path running parallel to the sea, you will be able to see the lighthouse in front of you. For a shorter and flatter walk you can turn left here and walk towards Durlston Castle.
For a longer walk, turn right, through the gate, and make your way along then over to the left onto Round Down. You can sit here and look at the sea, then work your way down to the lighthouse. Walk around the sea side of the lighthouse, and walk down the path keeping the sea on your right. At the bottom, pause to admire the sea crashing, then make your way up the stone steps towards Tilly Whim caves. From Tilly Whim the path flattens out and takes you past an area where there are many sea birds, and occasional sightings of dolphins.
Coming towards Durlston Castle you will see the stone map of the coast and the globe. There are often art exhibitions at the Castle and there is a beautiful film of Durlston through the seasons that runs on a loop. While at the Castle there is a good gift shop and the excellent Seventh Wave Café/Bar/Restaurant selling well cooked local food with daily specials.
Coming out of the Castle walk up the hill, and at the top take the path running down the left side of a large grassed area, you will see the old Swanage Water Tower in front of you and off to the right views of the North end of Swanage Bay and Old Harry rocks. At the end of the path go left across the road, through the field, you will come to a kissing gate on your right which takes you down a path. At the end of the path you will find yourself back at the stone road you started on: turn right, follow the road round to the left past the ‘shop’, and back up the path between the houses to Bon Accord Road.
Location, duration and fees
My Psychotherapy, Counselling and Supervision Practice is based in Swanage, Purbeck, near Poole, Corfe, and Wareham. Bournemouth, Dorchester and Weymouth are within an hours drive.
I also work as a CBT Psychotherapist, Counsellor and Supervisor on Skype or Facetime.
We can work on a time limited or open-ended basis, depending on your needs and preferences.
The initial consultation is free. This is an opportunity to get a sense of how we would work together.
My fees for subsequent sessions are £45 per hour. Some concessions are available for people on low incomes, please ask.
Getting in contact
If you would like more information, or to book a free consultation, please call or text me on
07960 391357 or email me using the short form available by clicking the email button on the right.
If I miss your call, please text me with a good time to call you back. Thank you.