Mindfulness in Nature Workshop Sunday 24th July 2022

SUNDAY 24th JULY 2022


We had a fabulous relaxing and informative day. The weather was kind-not too hot-with a cool wind creating movement  through the trees.

A variety of mindfulness practices connected us to the healing power of nature, with great participation from the group.The Tai Chi section, and drumming amongst the trees proved very popular and terrific fun to do.








The day ended with the creation of a fabulous mandala, just using natural items nearby.






Come and join Claire and Dawn for our next wonderful day on Friday 9th September 2022 in a quiet and private setting, offering a unique and rustic feel among the woodland and fields.


Dawn Harding 07585 558101






Coping with The Winter Blues-SAD

Coping with the winter blues

Winter is tough for many people. Short days, with a lack of sunlight, are a long way from the colours and warmth of summer, often leading to seasonal depression, or S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

 What causes it

SAD sufferers seem to have difficulty regulating seratonin, a neurotransmitter which regulates mood, digestion, sleep, sense of wellbeing, happiness.

The Science behind it

Lack of sunlight reduces seratonin levels – associated with depression and increases melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain in response to darkeness, regulating sleep patterns. (such as with Jet Lag)

Reduced levels of vitamin D- produced by sunlight reacting with chemicals in the skin, contributes to  fatigue, quality of sleep

Sufferers have difficulty regulating circadian rhythm or body clock which adjusts to seasonal light/ dark cycle. 

How does it differ from clinical depression?

A symptom of Clinical depression- is decreased appetite, whereas seasonal depression shows increased appetite

How it affects you

The main symptoms are : feeling sad, low mood, low energy, affecting normal daily life. Tiredness and hunger are also common.

Recent studies  compare SAD with hibernation, increased appetite, and need to sleep more. winter depression may have been the norm to survive the winter months. Our ancestors may have chosen to shelter from the winter weather in caves, sleeping more, but they could have suffered from poor nutrition, and a lack of vitamin D from sunlight.  Research indicates that there are biological similarities with hibernation ,the human body is not designed to survive months living off body fat in the way that bears can, for example.

How to treat it

  • Spending as much time as possible outside, particularly on sunny days.
  • Increased vitamin D – best source is sunlight, supplements, diet, SAD lamp.
  • Healthy diet
  • Exercise outdoors
  • Counselling
  • Anti-depressants
  • Lift your mood with something you enjoy

Useful tips:

Listen to your body. If you need to rest more, cosy up indoors, that’s fine. Do what you need to do.

Counselling can help to view short, dark days with a different perspective. Relating differently to your personal experiences of SAD can help to find your own, individual way to cope. You may even find you can embrace winter!

Try bringing some holiday activities into your day, even for a short time- maybe look at a favourite photo during a coffee break. Lifting your mood by doing something you really enjoy- singing along to a song on the radio, or dancing to a favourite holiday tune.

What would you enjoy on holiday? Curling up with a good book,  cooking colourful meals such as stir fries, or a spicy curry?  Having time to chill out, or maybe to try a new form of exercise?


When the weather is grey, but bringing colour into your life can give you a break from the endless gloom of winter and lift your mood. Wear something colourful for fun, brighten your make-up, paint your nails, wear comedy socks! Take advantage of the wonderful memories of light and warmth to remind yourself how good you feel in summer. Take photos for some happy memories to look back on in winter.

Useful links:

More about Seasonal Affective Disorder 


Melrose S. (2015). Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depression research and treatment, 2015, 178564. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/178564


Beating the Winter Blues

The aftermath of the festive season. Tired decorations and wilting trees consigned to the recycling centre and exhaustion from the effort of keeping the peace between family members, or from travelling miles to see as many relatives as humanly possible.

For some, being single at this time is a pleasant relief, but for others it can be a lonely and desolate time of year.

Building time for yourself into each day is so important for your self-worth, fading the ‘merry-go-round’ of festive frenzy to a distant memory.

Try to slow down, and to be mindful of everything you do – focusing on one thing at a time and doing it well, and slowing your breathing, can bring a sense of calm and achievement to daily chores.

Exercise can be a really good way to bring balance back into you life: physical movement is as good for your mind as your body.

Sharing problems with someone you trust, who has been through similar circumstances and will not judge you, is so important for your self-esteem and to feel that your are not alone.

A close friend, family member or a qualified counsellor can be really supportive.

Claire Ballardie Dip.Couns. MBACP

Find out about counselling with me

beating the winter blues

Counselling and Reiki in Market Lavington – Devizes – Wiltshire

I offer psycho-therapeutic counselling in a private setting, in the village of Market Lavington, near Devizes, Wiltshire.

As an ‘older’ therapist, my work is founded on my own life experience, which led me understand the value of having someone to talk to when life gets too much to cope with alone.


Therapy room
Therapy room

As an Integrative therapist,  I use a holistic approach, to improve your physical and mental health, taking into account how traumatic events impact on our whole being.  When we feel emotionally stressed, this has an impact on the body. Bodily symptoms and feelings are invaluable in exploring the causes of distress. Once sense can be made of how we feel in the present, progress can be made into looking forwards with more positivity and joy..


I offer Psychotherapy and Reiki, as required, which can have a positive effect on the body’s energy, releasing tension and stress.





I have both indoor and outdoor facilities, with options for outdoor therapy, with the healing qualities of being in nature and around animals.

  • FREE introductory phone call (20 minutes)
  •  On-line  sessions on Zoom 
  • Face-to-face counselling









wiltshire-counselling-reiki-wiltshire-counsellor-reiki-wiltshire-counsellor- reiki