As the days grow shorter and autumn leaves begin to envelop the pavements outside our homes, we may have mixed feelings about the approaching winter season. For many, winter signals the busy preparation for the festive season: endless lists to be written up, cards to be sent, family to coordinate, and high expectations. However, for others, wintertime brings with it a looming sense of stillness, quiet, perhaps even loneliness. Atlantic storms blow in from the West, and darkness seemingly engulfs the entire day. It can be as though summer never happened at all…

Sadly, many people don’t leave their thoughts and distractions at the yoga studio door. And so they are not able to focus on the yoga.

What Does Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Mean?

If you find yourself dreading the long nights and cold weather while experiencing low energy and feelings of sadness or depression for most of the day, nearly every day, during the winter period, you are not alone. You may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons and starts and ends at about the same times every year.

Symptoms of SAD


  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • feeling irritable
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • suicidal thoughts
  • low self-esteem
  • tearfulness
  • feeling stressed or anxious
  • a reduced sex drive
  • becoming less sociable
  • be less active than normal
  • feel lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleep for longer than normal and find it hard to get up in the morning
  • find it difficult to concentrate
  • have an increased appetite

SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter.

While Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subset of depression, it’s helpful to keep in mind the differences between both. Symptoms of SAD happen at a particular time of year. They usually start in the autumn or winter and improve in the spring. Low mood and other symptoms experienced seasonal depression are normally much more intense than those experienced non-seasonally.

I have grouped today a collection of easy, but effective, techniques to alleviate your symptoms and uplift your soul that I call GLEAM.

While some people may only have mild symptoms, for others, the symptoms can be severe and debilitating, having a big impact on their day-to-day life and making it hard to stay positive. You may be tempted to simply “ride out” the symptoms of SAD, knowing that once springtime comes around your symptoms will lessen, but it is always encouraged that sufferers seek professional medical advice. You will be informed on what treatment options are out there for you, including light therapy, medication, and counselling. You can also try home remedies and lifestyle changes, like making sure to get enough exercise and prioritising time spent outdoors. I have grouped today a collection of easy, but effective, techniques to alleviate your symptoms and uplift your soul that I call GLEAM. You don’t need to schedule any appointments or make any specific purchases to get started. You just need a quiet, comfortable spot and your lovely self!

Gratitude, Learn, Exercise, Awareness, Meditation,

G – Gratitude. Practising mindful gratitude is strongly associated with mood boosting and greater happiness. Relishing the good times may improve your health, resilience, and relationship with those around you. Read more about it below.

L – Learn… Endeavour to learn one new thing every day, no matter how big or small, from a coach, book, or podcast. If you are learning, you are growing. [Research supports this].

E – ExerciseHonour your body and move every day. [The benefits are indisputable]! A short walk is better than nothing at all.

A – Awareness… Do you know what practices and habits you carry that do not positively serve you? Without awareness and acceptance, you cannot change. Awareness is a crucial starting point.

M – Meditation… Take a quiet breath not only to reduce stress to increase energy, but also to visualise your goals and the steps to get there.

‘G’ for Gratitude: count your blessings

The practice of gratitude is recently gaining more and more recognition as a brilliant tool to help ground yourself and encourage a more positive mindset. Gratitude is a powerful aspect of mindfulness, where you take a quiet moment to connect with your consciousness and be thankful for all that you have, temporarily setting aside thoughts of what you do not have. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, being grateful also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

“Gratitude is a way for people to appreciate what they have instead of always reaching for something new in the hopes it will make them happier or thinking they can’t feel satisfied until every physical and material need is met. Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack. And, although it may feel contrived at first, this mental state grows stronger with use and practice”.

Over time, when you become accustomed to inhabiting this positive and uplifting mindset, you will develop a stronger, more resilient attitude towards adversity. Your relationships with others and your personal emotional wellbeing may improve. As the Roman philosopher Cicero put it over 2,000 years ago, “gratitude is the mother of all virtues”. When we appreciate the good in our life, we have more of it. Being aware of your blessings opens yourself up to receive more of them. Life may radically change for the better.

I often enjoy reminiscing about the brighter days of summer, especially in colder, quieter months. I go to my favourite spot and get comfortable, close my eyes, and enter a different world. I recall the warmth of the glorious sunshine on my face, the sights, smells, and sounds of life and the energy all around. I ask myself: what were the best parts of summer past? Was it an afternoon at the park with friends, an evening spent gardening alone in the back, or a sunglasses day out in town with family? What about summer in general do I recall so fondly? A warm and positive childhood memory? The bright early mornings or the chime of an ice-cream truck not too far in the distance? I remember the families, friends, and couples I saw spending time together, enjoying the best of the weather and everything that came with it. The summertime experience is something I am always grateful to be part of. 


No matter how dull you may feel during the depths of wintertime, GLEAM is a handy way of reconnecting with the positive, bright, and energised light we have within us. I really believe that we all come into this world with our soulful light shining bright. Life sometimes deals us bad hand and we can forget what a miracle we are in terms of our creation. It’s tough, but it’s our job to try everything we can to fill our daily lives with positive energy and good vibes, despite the environment around us. So, like the summer sun, GLEAM your light!

If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate GLEAM in your daily life, book your twenty minute free consultation with me. I’d be happy to help you rediscover and strengthen your beautiful light within!


Give it a GO!


With love and sunshine,

Gosia Wojciulewicz