Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

7 Tips to Overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

by Cathy Gabrielsen

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 Are you becoming more withdrawn, feeling depressed, anxious, or hopeless?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.

Mary Murphy Blog

Shine like the star you are

Guest blog by Mary Murphy, LifeForce Energy Healing® Master Grad Practitioner

Yes, it is the holidays and you remember the bad ones. The ones where dad drank too much and Christmas dinner became a shouting match between the drunk relatives. But this year can be different because you can choose to be different.

Yes, you choose to be different.

We all wish that we could change other people but the truth is we can only change ourselves. We can set boundaries around ourselves to ensure our own mental health. We can set realistic expectations for ourselves.

That is all we can do. Truly the only thing we are in charge of is me, myself and I. You are the master of your own thoughts, emotions and actions. Christmas and the holiday season is a great place to start creating the life you want.

Let’s begin.

Decide what it is that you love and do those things that make you happy.

Many of us take on a huge amount of the responsibility for our families happiness when really it is an individual thing.

First, we need to set reasonable goals for ourselves. Does our house really need to look like the cover of House and Garden? Will it make our celebration more special?

Forcing your husband or significant other to light up the entire house may not make him happy and consequently you as you fight yet again about the lights. Let each person in your household contribute by doing the things that mean the most to them. You’ll be surprised if you ask your kids what it is that is really meaningful to them. Then let them help.

Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) is not the time to be a martyr.

Secondly, pace yourself. If you reach Christmas exhausted and cranky because you’ve been acting like a frantic elf—stop!

If you meditate—keep your practice up.

It is even more important now to be calm and centered as the rest of the world rushes around trying to get the best deal on the big screen TV the family wants.

Exercise—yes in most parts fo the country it is cold and dark. And we are tempted to put it off till the New Year—then we will get back on track.

Keep up whatever you do for exercise.

The endorphins will help you keep humming along and the exercise will keep you from the frustration of the extra 10 pounds that many gain between Christmas and New Year. It will also help keep your cortisol levels from getting out of whack.

And lastly, don’t spend money you don’t have.

It may be tempting to buy things you can’t afford thinking that this is what will make your family happy, when really it is you that makes your family happy.

Sitting on the sofa, sharing a good book, a Christmas movie, a bowl of popcorn, Christmas caroling in your neighborhood, volunteering in the community, those are things that everyone will remember. Do you remember the gift your sibling gave you five years ago? Bet not.

And, if you can afford it, buy something for someone who might not have a Christmas without you.

One of our favorite activities when my children were school age was to get a family in need and buy gifts for them. It helps put things into perspective. Warm clothes and boots and a single toy for a child in need vs the XBOX that seems so necessary!

The holidays are a special time and needn’t be a time of exhaustion and sadness. Spending time with those we love is the real gift we give each other. Think about the things you really love about the holidays and do those. Let go of the rest. And let go of the past. It is over and done with. Set limits. Don’t put up with bad behavior.

A few years ago I bought myself my own Elsa doll that sings “Let it Go.” When I feel particularly wound up, I get the doll out and play the song over and over until I feel better.

And one last thing…don’t look at instagram again until after the New Year. Comparing your holiday to anyone else’s is a recipe for disaster. Be happy with what you have. Cherish your family whatever size, shape, color, gender orientation, race, religion or political persuasion. Time is short. Enjoy every minute!

Shine on you bright star!

Merry Christmas.


The Power of Discernment [Guest Post]

This is a guest post by Cathy Gabrielsen, one of Deborah King’s Master-in-Training students in the LifeForce Energy Healing® program.

I often feel like a new parent in the weeks or months after giving birth: filled with uncertainties, believing I should know but don’t know. But what I have learned studying Deborah King’s LifeForce Energy Healing is that you must take the time to discern—to distinguish between this and that, to identify what is needed. In the moments of discernment, you will find knowledge, peace, and power.


Trial and error works when dealing with a newborn. As a new parent, you learn to detect the difference between a cry for food and a cry for comfort, to recognize a smile full of joy from a smile full of gas. Discernment brings awareness not only to a new parent or a new healer, but also to everyone: you have within yourself the powerful ability to perceive what you need to know, what direction you need to take.


What can bring immense joy in life is the pause—the moments you take to simply observe, to admire beauty in nature or in the arts, to revel in the presence of love. Discerning is just that: knowing exactly what it is that brings you joy and peace, like a sleeping baby or a healed soul. Discernment is peaceful because discernment is knowing what brings you peace.


Uncertainty, inability, and confusion can deplete all that is good in your body, while pausing to feel the answers can bring power to the mind, body, and soul. Discernment conserves, preserves, and provides power. Energy is powerful and power is in the knowing.

Like you, I am clairsentient; I can feel into people and situations, just by using my body. I recently opened an energy practice. I know how you feel when I am with you. Discernment tells me. I can feel the ache in your joints or the pain in your head. I know I can feel you, and I know that I cannot heal you. But what I can do is empathize, acknowledge, and understand. I can be there to help you heal through discernment and celebrate your joy in knowing peace through the power of pausing.


I know what I am not; I am not special, gifted, or different. I am just like you. What makes us unique are simply the choices we make. I choose to discern, and have felt all the knowledge and clarity it brings. I am a LifeForce Energy Medicine Practitioner and Coach. I know I can feel, and I am there with you as a guide, divinely inspired in directing you to heal yourself. I know you will.


For those who need some help with discernment, I find the following steps helpful:

  1. Pause. (What is a pause? Simply quieting your mind and silencing your space.)
  2. Ask yourself the question.
  3. Pause. (Not for just a second! If you really want answers, you will take your time.)
  4. Listen. What do you hear in your mind, heart, and soul?
  5. Feel. What do you feel in your mind, heart, and soul?
  6. Know. Believe that what you hear, feel, and know is your truth.
  7. If you didn’t hear the voice of your soul, pause again.
  8. If you did not feel the truth in your body, pause again.
  9. If you heard, felt, and knew, but still didn’t believe, then pause again.
  10. If you heard, felt, and knew but still didn’t acknowledge your power, then Google the word “denial” and pause again.
  11. The answers, the knowing, the peace, and the power are in the pause.
  12. Like a crying baby, you may not know you need help. You may need a guide, a coach, or support. Get what is needed, and be sure to take the time to heal.

About the Author

Cathy Gabrielsen is one of Deborah King’s Master-in-Training students in the LifeForce Energy Healing® program. As a 32-year-old mother of two toddler boys, she had to battle breast cancer. Not being able to lift or cuddle her boys during her treatment, Cathy realized that the health care system didn’t support young women with cancer by providing in-home care for their children. She began a non-profit, called Cuddle My Kids.

You can learn more about Cuddle My Kids at cuddlemykids.org.


A New Look at Your Eyes!

Submitted by Nancy Neff – Certified Energy Healing Practitioner and Deborah King Center LifeForce Coach

Although I’ve always been healthy and fit, eating well and exercising to maintain my physical and emotional self, like most people I considered my eyes to be in a separate category from the rest of my body. I knew shedding excess pounds could help with heart disease or diabetes, or that getting regular exercise or time outdoors could help with depression. But I used to think there was nothing I could do to change my “bad eyes”—my mother’s constant lament about my nearsightedness when I was a child.


Yes, I grew up wearing glasses that seemed to get thicker every year, as I retreated further into my books and away from interacting with people. I was so worried about my vision getting even worse that I practiced walking around the house with my eyes closed, memorizing the location of the furniture. Those thick eyeglasses were eventually replaced by thick hard plastic contact lenses, which I wore for decades. Then I learned that it was possible to improve my eyesight. Wow! You might as well have told me I had wings and could fly.


In working with a behavioral optometrist to gradually improve my vision, I sometimes struggled with too-weak glasses that caused me to strain, get a headache, and feel tired. I learned that strain meant I was doing something in an inefficient way. Seeing clearly is supposed to be easy! I found that if I gave an image a second or so, it often cleared up. Since I was used to rushing through every task I took on, this was a real exercise in patience for me.


I made a pivotal change in improving my visual health and function when I started to study energy medicine. I had been focusing only on the mechanical aspects of vision improvement, like wearing increasingly weaker glasses (or none at all when it was safe), shifting my gaze from near to far periodically when reading or at the computer, blinking enough, and resting my eyes whenever they felt tired. Now I also started to pay attention to how my visual system was feeling. I let myself really enjoy the everyday miraculous act of seeing, inviting the rich colors of my environment all the way in with no lenses to block them, being more aware of depth and the interplay of light and shadow.


I’m also more aware of how my eyes are an intrinsic part of me, and that anything which helps my body and my attitude to be healthier will help my eyes as well. Many people disregard simple health practices that would help their vision, like staying well-hydrated (the eyes are mostly water), or good posture (a cramped neck or shoulders can restrict the blood flow to the small capillaries that nourish the eyes), or getting enough rest. The eyes heal and regenerate during sleep, and you ignore your body’s messages of fatigue at your peril.


Vision varies with your current level of happiness (or not), your level of fatigue, and your surroundings (out in nature vs. in a cramped hectic office). If you experience momentary visual blur, it is not necessarily cause for stronger glasses; maybe you just need a meal, or to get up from your computer and go for a walk! Take a moment to check in with your body and your eyes to see what they need right now before jumping to the conclusion that your vision is declining.


Like pain in the body, visual blur is simply a signal from your system that you need to change something. Maybe it’s a belief, like “Since my mother’s vision declined when she was in her 40s, mine will too.” To paraphrase Henry Ford, if you believe your eyes are going to get worse, they probably will! Deborah King, spiritual teacher and master healer,  tells us that limitation or wrong beliefs exist first in the human energy field, which surrounds us; if they stay in place long enough, they can become a problem in the body. The eyes are actually an extension of the brain: the inside back of the eyeball, the sensitive retina that receives the light rays and images to decode, grows out of brain tissue as the human embryo develops. So I believe that if you can change your mind to have a more positive uplifting attitude, you can change your vision for the better.


Another thing I’ve learned from my energy medicine studies and healing courses is that maintaining a positive, grateful, optimistic attitude about my vision is essential to my seeing clearly. Clear visual focus requires mental focus, paying attention to what I’m looking at. Try looking at the world with the joyful curious eyes of a child to whom everything is new. Seeing is a gift, every day. The eyes have it!

Written by Nancy L. Neff – Certified Energy Healing Practitioner and Deborah King Center LifeForce Coach


Read this inspirational story about giving

Two Brothers – Author unknown

Once there were two brothers who inherited their father’s land. The brothers divided the land in half and each one farmed his own section. Over time, the older brother married and had six children, while the younger brother never married.

One night, the younger brother lay awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “My brother has six children to feed and I have none. He should have more grain than I do.”

So that night the younger brother went to his silo, gathered a large bundle of wheat, and climbed the hill that separated the two farms and over to his brother’s farm. Leaving the wheat in his brother’s silo, the younger brother returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

Earlier that very same night, the older brother was also lying awake. “It’s not fair that each of us has half the land to farm,” he thought. “In my old age my wife and I will have our grown children to take care of us, not to mention grandchildren, while my brother will probably have none. He should at least sell more grain from the fields now so he can provide for himself with dignity in his old age.”

So that night, too, he secretly gathered a large bundle of wheat, climbed the hill, left it in his brother’s silo, and returned home, feeling pleased with himself.

The next morning, the younger brother was surprised to see the amount of grain in his barn unchanged. “I must not have taken as much wheat as I thought,” he said, bemused. “Tonight I’ll be sure to take more.”

That very same moment, his older brother was also standing in his barn, musing much the same thoughts.

After night fell, each brother gathered a greater amount of wheat from his barn and in the dark, secretly delivered it to his brother’s barn. The next morning, the brothers were again puzzled and perplexed. “How can I be mistaken?” each one scratched his head. “There’s the same amount of grain here as there was before I cleared the pile for my brother. This is impossible! Tonight I’ll make no mistake – I’ll take the pile down to the very floor. That way I’ll be sure the grain gets delivered to my brother.”

The third night, more determined than ever, each brother gathered a large pile of wheat from his barn, loaded it onto a cart, and slowly pulled his haul through the fields and up the hill to his brother’s barn. At the top of the hill, under the shadow of a moon, each brother noticed a figure in the distance. Who could it be?

When the two brothers recognized the form of the other brother and the load he was pulling behind, they realized what had happened. Without a word, they dropped the ropes to their carts and embraced.


“It’s all about Perception” by Barbara Sinclair

When our kids were young, my friend, Mary, and I would often remark, “It’s all about perception”. Meaning – their perception vs. ours. While we viewed discipline as teaching life lessons, they likely saw it as cruel and unusual punishment. I’ve thought a lot about this lately and how perception fuels much of how we live our lives, both in relation to others and to ourselves.

It’s impossible to know just how someone else (especially a child) is interpreting our words or our actions unless we ask them directly. The tone of our voice might imply something totally contrary to what we intended. Maybe we’re tired or distracted and were just stating a fact, but the other person perceives that we’re angry or annoyed.

The science of Ayurveda is a great place to begin to understand why we all feel things so differently.  A study of the three doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) around which Ayurveda is based, will reveal how we might have a different reaction to the same situation such as a boss making a cutting remark. The vata type would likely be hurt and overly sensitive, but the hurt feelings would soon dissipate. The pitta type might explode in anger (or at least be seething inside). The kapha type would probably “take it” but would never forget it! If you’re curious what your dominant dosha is, here’s an easy quiz you can take.

Since studying Ayurveda, I’ve learned that before I cast judgment on someone’s reaction, I do a quick “dosha assessment” and then usually have an ah-ha moment. My perception invariably changes and any possible misunderstanding tends to evaporate. Imagine how many relationships would be smoother if each person took the time to understand their partner’s unique constitution. I’m not making excuses for bad behavior here, but rather showing how a modification in our perception might change a potentially uncomfortable situation.

Then there’s the perception we have of our self and what’s happening around us that’s out of our control. If we can shift how we look at disappointment in our lives and instead see it as an opportunity for change and growth, we can move forward, instead of staying stuck in old patterns of negativity. A rainy day can go from a “ruined day at the beach” to a glorious chunk of time to burrow in, read a book, watch a good movie or do some clutter control.  Likewise, if we always see ourselves as depressed and stagnant, chances are our perception will become our reality. Sometimes just bringing this into our awareness is enough to help make that shift towards a more positive outlook.

How do you feel perception influences your daily life? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Guest Blog Post: Barbara Sinclair is a visual artist and holistic health coach living in New York City. “Studying energy medicine in Deborah’s 21st Century Energy Medicine Program has greatly influenced every aspect of my life, both personal and professional.” You can learn more about Barbara and read her blog by visiting her website at https://barbarasinclair.com/.