• Julian & Michaela

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Winter can be a difficult time of year for some people and this year it is being made all the more challenging by the lockdown and the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic.

Seasonal changes affects us to an extent which is not always fully acknowledged as we become as a society increasingly detached from the rhythms of the natural world.

Our ancestors who lived much closer to nature were perhaps more accepting of seasonal change. They incorporated it into their annual rituals, folklore and frequent festivities – some vestiges of which still remain, but in forms which are increasingly remote from the changes in the natural world and the weather which gave them birth.

Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway with their concept of hygge are also better able than us to adapat to the austerities of the cold months, finding joy in the comforts of coziness, conviviality and the simple pleasures life has to offer.

These ideas are not alien to us either. It was novelist, Charles Dickens, who in the Victorian era helped to establish many of the customs which have become an integral part of the British Christmas.

Ultimately it’s about developing an attitude and a state of mind which helps to nurture our sense well-being, even in adversity. Rather than lamenting the loss of the summer, or dwelling on what is absent from our lives, we can benefit by tuning in to the pleasures which winter can bring.

Below are some useful tips which might help with that and see our Facebook page for many other useful resources to increase mental well-being:

  • Julian & Michaela

We have launched. a new Facebook page to complement our Whitley Bay Therapy website and to expand upon the range of topics and links offered by our blog.

Rather than duplicating the content of our website, which is aimed mainly at people considering coming for counselling sessions, we hope our Facebook page will appeal to anyone with a general interest in mental health and well-being.

The page will reflect our professional interests and experience and will focus on topics such as managing anxiety and stress, coping with grief and other life losses and nurturing self-compassion and self-worth.

We are looking forward to using the page as a way of recommending useful resources such as websites, books, videos and podcasts, as well as sharing some practical techniques and strategies, which may help to improve mental health and wellbeing. To follow our Facebook page CLICK HERE.

Gavin was suffering from intense feelings of anxiety about Covid 19 when he first started counselling sessions with Michaela at the beginning of lockdown.

Michaela and Gavin worked together over the telephone for several weeks, exploring his fears and anxieties and gradually helping him to find ways of coping.

Turning to his abilities as an accomplished artist Gavin found an original and creative way of working through his feelings and responses to coronavirus. His solution was to create a visual account of his experiences in the form of a pictorial diary.

Now, as lockdown is being lifted, Gavin’s graphic diary provides a fascinating account of his journey, which you can see here.

If you look closely, you will notice that many of the earlier pictures show dark and disturbing scenes, including nightmares and images of fear and despair. However, as time progresses and Gavin begins to feel more in control and more mentally robust, the pictures begin to convey a lighter, more positive mood – showing humour, a sense of hope and a closer connection to family and nature.

Gavin has given his permission for us to share both his pictures and his story, in the hope that they may encourage someone else to explore and discover different ways of dealing with anxiety. Gavin also feels that it is important to encourage open and honest discussion of issues relating to our mental wellbeing.

As well as being a creative and cathartic experience for Gavin, the visual diary provided him with an ideal way of reflecting on his progress and demonstrated how far he had come in his therapeutic journey.

Despite its many challenges, lockdown provided Gavin with an opportunity to reconnect with an aspect of himself which he says he had neglected for many years. For him this was his artistic, creative self.

We can’t all be as talented artists as Gavin, but perhaps we can find our own unique ways of expressing our creativity – helping us to push through our fears and anxieties and arrive at a more positive place.

Many thanks to Gavin for sharing his story.