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The Promise of the Solstice: Harnessing Hope From the Holidays

December 08, 20234 min read

While the bleakness of winter may seem overwhelming, there is hope on the horizon .” - Blake Ausmus

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As winter's chill descends upon us, the impending winter solstice casts a shadow over our days, both figuratively and literally. With shorter days and longer nights, we find ourselves retreating indoors, caught in the grip of colder temperatures. The sun, our primary source of warmth and light, seems to be abandoning us, leaving us grappling with the gloominess accompanying the season. 

As we bundle up against the biting cold, it's easy to succumb to a sedentary lifestyle. The lack of sunlight robs us of motivation, making outdoor activities less appealing. The reduced exposure to sunlight also means a decline in vitamin D levels, leaving us susceptible to the winter blues. Have you considered supplementing your vitamin D intake to combat the seasonal slump? (This is your friendly reminder to do so).

During this time of year, many individuals find themselves wrestling with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that follows a seasonal pattern, most commonly occurring in the winter months. The persistent darkness can cast a sombre tone on our emotions, making it challenging to maintain a positive outlook. Do you find yourself feeling down as the days grow shorter?

As a psychologist, this time of year is routinely the busiest time. However, the reason it’s the busiest time of year has more to do with insurance benefits ending for the year and individuals trying to use their health insurance. Interestingly, though, in the Springtime, there seems to be another influx of people seeking therapy as energy levels perk up enough for us to be motivated to do something about our sad state. 

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While the bleakness of winter may seem overwhelming, there is hope on the horizon—a glimmer of light in the midst of the darkness. Consider the approaching Christmas celebration on December 25th, a time when we commemorate the birth of Christ. Even though historical evidence suggests his birth likely did not occur during the winter season, yet we celebrate just after the winter solstice. Have you ever wondered why?

Symbolically, the winter solstice holds a powerful message of hope. As we approach the shortest day of the year, the sun appears to reach its lowest point in the sky above. For the preceding six months, darkness has seemingly prevailed, gradually overcoming the light. As the autumn months pass by, and as winter approaches, the sun seems to peak lower and lower in the sky as the days become shorter and the night becomes longer. Yet, during those three days following the winter solstice, something remarkable occurs.

On the third day, a subtle change unfolds as the sun rises to a higher point in the sky. It marks the turning point in the battle between light and darkness. Slowly but surely, the days begin to lengthen, and the promise of a brighter, warmer future takes hold. It's a reminder that even in our darkest moments, light has the power to overcome. The longer days translate to more hours of sunlight, just when it is needed the most. The battle continues as the sun spends more time in the sky, giving life and energy to the planet.

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In the grand tapestry of life, the winter solstice serves as a metaphor for resilience and the cyclical nature of challenges. Just as the sun rises higher after its brief descent, so too can we rise above our struggles. Embracing the promise of hope, we can navigate through thedarkness, knowing that warmth will return and life will carry on. 

This Christmas season, with all the lights we display, remember that it is light that gives hope and brightens our days, lives, and future. Let us not only endure the shorter days but also embrace the symbolic journey from darkness to light. In doing so, we find solace in knowing that, like the sun, we, too, possess the strength to rise again after our darkest moments.

Discaimer

Our content is for informational and educational purposes and is not a replacement for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you're facing mental health concerns, please seek help from a qualified professional for personalized guidance. Every individual's situation is unique, so use the information here at your discretion. While we strive for accuracy, the field of psychology is ever-evolving, and our content may not always reflect the latest research. Please prioritize your privacy by avoiding sharing personal information in comments or interactions. Your well-being is our top concern, so use our content for educational purposes, but remember to rely on professionals for your specific needs.


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Dr. Blake Ausmus

Dr. Blake Ausmus, Ph.D. is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta. He is the owner of Sano State Health Clinic and he practices in Calgary and St. Albert.

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