The Winter Solstice – There is still light out there

The seasons have changed and we find ourselves here on the shortest day of the year, with many areas of the Northern Hemisphere with a handful of hours of light at most. Now, I know for some of us, the prospect of night rides, runs and walks is a bonus – empty trails, less wildlife around and clearer focus, with only a head torch beam, providing tunnel vision ahead.

However, for many of us, it can be a challenge

We can feel more isolated. Cut off from the communities and activities that may be part of our coping mechanisms or structurally, an important part of each day. Long nights and mornings under artificial light, with work (for us 9-5ers) being the only glimpse of daylight, it can be a frustrating and lonely time of the year. That and rain, sleet, snow, gales……. especially when you live in parts of the UK that doesn’t get snow, so its just freezing dampness and winter is a muddy grey experience…

Not like the picture postcards

Well, the team at Trash Free Trails asked me to create something for the Winter Solstice around My Black Dog, a mental health charity I am both a volunteer and trustee for. I was honoured to be asked, as both Trash Free Trails and My Black Dog are important to me for many reasons and both play roles in balancing my mental health – from maintaining and protecting the trails and wild spaces I chose to spend my free time in, to helping people feel more understood and less lonely when they need someone to listen.

More on My Black Dog after the video

My Black Dog is a charity that offers free peer to peer support for anyone struggling with their mental health. I know this time of year many of our coping mechanisms and outlets may be harder to utilise and therefore, knowing there is someone to speak to is important.

My Black Dog’s volunteers are people who have their own lived mental health experiences, they understand how it feels, they get it, they’re just like you. Every night of the week, the free anonymous online chat service is there if you want let off some steam, talk about what’s going on in your life or simply have someone ready to listen

I’ve been on the volunteer team of My Black Dog since June, which has been an honour to be able to speak to a so many different people on the online chats. I can vouch that the volunteer team are some truly great people.

“When you don’t know who to talk to, talk to someone who gets it”

For more information on My Black Dog visit My Black Dog | Free Online Mental Health Chat Support

Please be aware My Black Dog are running shorter hours over Christmas 2021. If you are in crisis or need immediate support, please contact Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen