The winter solstice can mark a low point for people with seasonal affective disorder but BACP member Maureen Slattery-Marsh says it provides an opportunity for reflection.

Today, December 21, is the winter solstice in the UK which marks the 24-hour period with the fewest daylight hours.

For that reason, the winter solstice is sometimes referred to as the shortest day, with each day becoming a little bit lighter from now on.

Maureen, chair of BACP’s Spirituality Division, said it offered a chance for calm amid the hectic holiday period.

She said: “In the natural world, the solstice marks the time when the sun is at its highest or lowest point, where we honour our relationship with light and dark and our potential for transformation.

“Solstice brings us a celestial invitation to stand in stillness awhile and reflect on the course of the past year before crossing the threshold of the next.

“The bluster of busyness accompanying winter festivals such as Yuletide, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa can often side-line our response to this celestial invitation.

“However, even creating momentary interludes of calm and stillness usually bring us a benefit of well-being.

“It does take a bit of courage to reconnect with our inner being and allow space to experience our feelings without resisting or judging them.

“Many of us can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter period and solstice time can mark a low point.

“I have been learning to breathe more deeply through my difficult feelings trusting that these too will pass and that I will regain greater equilibrium between desolation and consolation.”