Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

7 Tips to Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

by Cathy Gabrielsen

Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Why are you so SAD? Maybe it’s because it’s that time of year—the transition from fall to winter, the death of the leaves and grass, and the onset of bitterly cold weather. Are you becoming more withdrawn, feeling depressed, anxious, or hopeless? Do you have unusual physical aches and pains or find yourself craving comfort foods, like heaping servings of pasta or popcorn? If so, Seasonal Affective Disorder may be the reason. 

Over three million people suffer through the change of seasons. There is not only the wintertime SAD, which is well-known and accepted as a serious condition, but also a summertime SAD, when the end of summer leaves you anxious and sad, with changes in appetite and insomnia. This is known as reverse SAD, when high temperatures and high humidity make you uncomfortable, and daylight is subtly shortening. Summer SAD can lead to major depressive disorder, which affects over 16 million people in the U.S.

Cathy Gabrielsen

Cathy Gabrielsen is a speaker, writer and Graduate teacher of LifeForce Energy Healing® at the Deborah King Center and founder of The Gabrielsen Healing Center.

Wintertime SAD can also be exacerbated by turning the clock back at the end of October. Winter hours can reduce your level of serotonin, the chemical produced by nerve cells that regulates your mood, and also melatonin, the hormone made by the pineal gland in your body that regulates sleep. With less of these mood enhancers in your system, you can wind up feeling depressed or anxious as winter comes roaring. It is natural to think that you should join the bears in withdrawing and hibernating for the winter, or that alcohol or recreational drugs will sufficiently numb the pain. But these are not optimum pathways for managing your inner pain. There are ways to ease the discomfort, depression, and overall negative feelings associated with this yearly time of darkness

Deborah King’s LifeForce Energy Healing® Program cured me of SAD, along with alleviating my anxiety. I took the time to explore and discover why I was feeling seasonal affective disorder and found that journaling provided me with an incredible way to release and heal my negative emotions. I also realized that self-care is vital in healing all types of conditions. Self-care involves taking the time you need to find ways that work for you. I found the best solutions for me were to take a clearing bath or walk in nature, find time for massage or acupuncture, and spend time writing in my journal. Find out what brings you joy, and try the following helpful tips to ease the emotional and mental suffering of the winter blues.

  1. Get outside in the fresh air and move even though it may be cold and dreary out there. Take a brisk “stroll” mid-day or evening and bathe yourself in the peaceful ambience of sunlight or moonlight on snow. Or walk for a few minutes at dawn, intending that you will have a glorious light-filled day. 
  2. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, works wonders! Lightboxes simulate sunlight and are an inexpensive and effective way to naturally stimulate serotonin and melatonin. Spend an hour each day under the lamp, working at your desk or doing the dishes or watching TV.
  3. Create positive new traditions in the winter. Instead of taking your vacation in the summer months, opt to get out of Dodge in mid-winter. It will give you something to look forward to, and if you head to a warm climate, you can soak up the sun.
  4. Stay in the Light. Stay connected with positive people, places, and things. If someone continuously brings you down, then stay away from that person. Watch an uplifting and light-hearted series. Stay in touch with your feelings and do what makes you feel good.
  5. Clear your chakras. Keep your energy field in balance and your chakras cleansed through meditative practices or energy healing. You will feel more energized and open to seeing things in a brighter light. 
  6. Create joy. Listen to music and dance. Use aromatherapy to surround yourself with uplifting scents. Splurge on a mani-pedi or facial and know you deserve to be pampered.
  7. Meditate. Next to using a light box, bringing more spiritual light into your life through meditation is a sure fire way to beat the winter blahs. Ramp up your meditation program, fitting in 20 minutes each, morning and evening. 

If you’ve been feeling out of sorts due to SAD, you’re not alone. There are literally millions of people struggling just like you this time of year. But now you know that there is something you can do to be happy.

Leonid Meteor shower

Leonid Meteor Shower: Catch a Falling Star

Leonid Meteor shower

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket
Never let it fade away…”

This week the Leonid Meteor shower is due to hit Earth on its yearly path, when the orbit of the Earth crosses the trail of space debris left by the Comet Tempel-Tuttle each November. Pieces of the comet, usually no bigger than a grain of sand or a pea, fall toward the surface of our planet and burn up as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, giving us a fantastic light show in the night sky. These burning balls of light are called meteors (or “falling stars”); when a larger one survives its atmospheric entry and crash lands on the Earth’s surface, it is called a meteorite.

This year the peak meteor shower will be from midnight to dawn next Monday, November 18th. If you’re lucky enough to live in a place, like I do, in Ojai, where the night sky is dark enough to see the stars, you will likely be able to catch the heavenly appearance. 

If you trace the meteors of the Leonid shower backward, they would seem to radiate from the constellation of Leo the Lion, from the star Algieba in the area of the lion’s mane. This is called the radiant point, the area in the sky that seems to be the starting point for these particular meteors. In other words, these little specks of a comet that flash so enticingly across the sky come to us as extraterrestrial greetings, or as the ancients saw them, as gifts from heaven—lights in the sky that bring awareness of something beyond our daily existence. 

These sparkling lights in the dark night sky are a reminder that “cosmic” consciousness is a living frequency—the original “star dust” of life. When you see the dazzling display of meteors, or when a meteorite lands on earth, you are in the presence of the far-flung inhabitants of the galaxy. Mystics have always used the term “light” to represent consciousness, so it’s as if the meteor shower brings cosmic consciousness raining down on Earth. You are impacted by the vastness of space, which can seed a new awareness in your heart—an awareness that we are connected to a much larger unfolding drama than just what is happening here. 

Since meteors are seen as coming from other worlds, throughout history meteor showers have been deemed sacred and are said to hold supernatural powers. The Orionid meteor shower, composed of debris from Halley’s Comet and originating from the constellation of Orion, is believed by Australian aboriginals to form a mystical canoe that carries the spirits of the dead and sends a message to their loved ones back on earth that they have arrived safely in the land of spirit. The Chumash, the local tribe of my Ojai area, call meteors Alakiwohoch, meaning “shooting star,” which they believed was a person’s soul on its way to the afterlife, while the Wintu of northern California thought of meteors as the spirits of shamans on their way to the afterlife.

Shooting stars have been a symbol of reaching your destiny, but they also have been seen as bad omens. In Christian and Jewish traditions, falling stars are fallen angels and demons. In parts of Asia, a falling star may predict war or death. Usually, however, it’s a good omen; when you see a falling star and “put it in your pocket,” your wish will be granted, since the gods are clearly looking down and can hear your wish.

Shooting stars certainly bring an influx of energy that can be accessed for healing purposes. As can meteorites, when the falling star actually lands on earth. A meteorite can actualize your purpose here, a trusting energy that opens lines of communication and provides the strength to endure on your spiritual quest. Small pieces of meteorites can be used to strengthen the blood and tissues, and to help you merge with spirit while in the physical body. 

It is said that the rare nickel-iron meteorites (less than 1% of all meteorites) in particular help you develop the patience you need while walking the spiritual path, and stimulate the third eye and crown chakras in preparation for spiritual awakening and inner vision. These meteorites were used in ancient times to make weapons that were powered by star energy. They also stabilize “walk-ins” and give them the ability to navigate unfamiliar environments.

Stony meteorites (which make up the great majority of meteorites that have made it to Earth), have been dated to be over 4.6 billion years old, and vibrate at a frequency that is attuned to interdimensional communication with extraterrestrials. They can be programmed to store information and may contain the history of other entities in the solar system. Other types of meteorites (called Pallasites) open your heart chakra so you don’t fear expanding your consciousness beyond your body and can resonate with the universe, while helping those who are empaths to stay grounded.

So if you’re able to be out under the dark sky in the pre-dawn hours next Monday, November 18th, see if you can catch the falling stars and reap the spiritual other-worldly energies that can connect you with your higher self. You can also connect with the love from the stars and the celestial beings who can expand your consciousness and bring you into harmony with the cosmic One. And if you want to converse with ET, here is your opening!

Personal Health Tracking

Stay on Track: A Personal Healing Action Plan

Personal Health Tracking

Healing is a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you are five minutes or five years into your healing journey, it’s easy to get distracted and wander off the path – especially when the world around you is in chaos.

In my book Heal Yourself—Heal the World, I dedicate an entire chapter to teaching you the basics of a Personal Healing Plan. Students often get bogged down with complex concepts, like chakras and mind/body types, and forget that simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference in their personal energy field.

Living a healthy and balanced life is one of the best things you can do to protect and heal yourself. Doing things like getting enough rest and dedicating time to process emotions, eating clean food that nourishes your body, and spending time with people who lift you up (rather than depress you and bring you down), are all things you can do give yourself a leg up on the healing ladder.

All of the practices I write about below will nourish your body, mind, and spirit…if you make them a habit in your self-care routine. Over the years, the number one thing that the majority of my students struggle with is dedicating time for their self-care; this is not surprising considering there are so many things competing for their time and attention. To keep your healing goals front and center (and to see your progress over time), think about adding a monthly activity tracker page to your journal. You can create your own (there is no shortage of fun designs and ideas on Pinterest) or download a copy of my Personal Healing Plan Tracker.

The activities that you include in your Personal Healing Plan Tracker will be unique to you, however, there are some universal basic practices that you should use as guidelines. Think about the practices below and think about how you can incorporate them into your self-care routine and Personal Healing Plan Tracker.

Personal Healing Plan Habit Tracker

Download your free Personal Healing Habit Tracker today

Basic practices for personal healing

Good food

A new day, a new diet (or so it seems). As a general rule, diets are created by companies that want to sell you a product, be it supplements or shakes. The truth of the matter is that the foods that work best for you are completely dependent on your unique makeup.

We are all different, but there are a few basic rules to follow that will point you in a healthier direction:

  • Choose real food that is not processed whenever possible. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store: fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, poultry, dairy, and whole grain bread.


  • Drink plenty of pure water. You need about a quart a day just to replace the water that your body loses by breathing!


  • “Nonfoods” should be avoided at all costs. Think: processed foods in boxes or bags that have preservatives; canned items, especially tomatoes, that do not specifically say BPA is not used in the lining of the can; genetically modified and foods that are microwaved – your body doesn’t recognize these “nonfood” items and doesn’t know what to do with them.


  • Chemicals and pesticides are a problem. Whenever possible, opt for organic. (Note: you should also be mindful about the personal care products you put on your body. In the United States, lotions, fragrances, deodorants/antiperspirants, makeup, and hair styling products do not go through any regulatory approval process. Your body absorbs 60% of everything you put on it and I doubt you’d be okay with absorbing 60% of the lead in your signature red lipstick – no brands will be mentioned, but a quick Google search will reveal a Mother Jones investigation.)


  • Use of nicotine, alcohol, recreational and prescription drugs increase the body’s toxic load.


  • Opt for small frequent meals that contain protein if you are over 30 years old and/or are stressed; every two hours is ideal.



Your body’s health is dependent on moving it. And you don’t need to start training for a marathon to get enough exercise: studies have shown that walking briskly every day can reduce a woman’s chance of getting diabetes breast cancer, and heart disease.

Here are some tips for exercising to support your body:

  • Exercise that requires focused and conscious movement (Quigong, T’ai chi, Pilates, yoga) give your muscles and brain a workout.


  • Go outdoors for part of your exercise. If you’re a gym or class fan, that’s fine but changing it up every once in a while (go to an outdoor yoga class or walk in the park instead of on the treadmill) will help you connect to nature.


  • Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise every day. Build it into your Personal Healing Plan Tracker and do your best to check off those boxes. Even a quick walk during your lunch break, taking the stairs, or parking further away from the building count.



There are so many benefits to meditation that I’m always surprised that not everyone does it. It puts you in the present moment, relaxes your body and mind, washes away your stress, bolsters your intuitive abilities, and even makes you look and feel younger (take that expensive wrinkle creams!). Twenty minutes morning and evening are ideal.


Sleep is one of those things that everyone struggles with at some point in their lives, be it getting too much or too little.
How much sleep do you need? Just like your diet, this also depends on your individual makeup. If you wake to an alarm clock, try going to bed ten minutes earlier each night until you wake up before the alarm rings.

You should also be conscious about using light-emitting devices before bed (sorry, turning on the dimming feature on your iPhone doesn’t make it an exception). Electronic devices have a higher concentration of blue light vs. natural light – and this impacts the levels of melatonin that your body produces. In short, you’re playing Russian roulette with your body’s natural circadian rhythm clock – and this can have devastating health effects beyond just not being able to fall asleep.

Connect with other people and creaturesContemporary Western culture – especially American culture – is extremely isolating. In contrast to American culture where children are expected to move out at 18 (and if they don’t, are considered unsuccessful), in many other parts of the world, such as Southeast Asia and Russia, it’s normal for entire families to live together, even when children are grown.

And while technology has allowed us to connect with family and friends that live far away, when you are out with family and friends put the phone down! How many times have you watched two people sit at dinner completely absorbed in their phone? It’s no surprise that we feel disconnected, alone, lonely, and isolated; we are social creatures and have an innate desire to be part of a community.

If you live alone (as many people do these days), consider adding a pet to your life. We need physical contact as well as social, and I’ve never met a dog that didn’t jump at the chance to sit on their owner’s lap.


The world we live in is extremely chaotic, which results in instability and stress on society. Don’t ignore atrocities, but don’t be consumed by them either. For example, watch Seinfeld or The Big Bang Theory instead of the six o’clock news when you come home from a long day. Laughter is good for the body and the soul; it relieves stress and boosts immune functioning.
As much as possible, go to bed happy.

Challenge yourself

We all have bucket lists – and if you don’t, whip out that journal of yours and get planning! Keep in mind that your bucket list doesn’t have to be exotic and crazy, like skydiving or hiking Machu Picchu. Some of my students have confided that their number one bucket list item was to overcome an eating disorder or free themselves from a particular medication.

Essentially a bucket list is a set of goals you would like to achieve in your lifetime. By identifying long-term goals, you can begin identifying obstacles that sit in the middle of your path (either right now or in the future). A bucket list that you plan and work toward will challenge you and magnify your own personal healing power many times over.

For a complete guide to building out your Personal Healing Action Plan, check out Chapter 15 of my new book Heal Yourself—Heal the World. If you haven’t ordered your copy yet, you can pick a copy up at your favorite bookseller (or Amazon). The book also contains detailed guidelines and ideas about journaling, an activity that is crucial to healing. And you don’t have to put pen to paper to benefit from journaling — there are many other options available too.

You can set up a blog on your computer or tablet that can be purely for you, or if you are brave about sharing your journey, make it available for others to read. Another powerful way to record your thoughts and feelings is by vlogging: making a video of yourself speaking. Many people are more comfortable talking than writing. You can set up your smartphone or computer to video yourself speaking.