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Winter blues

The festive period is behind us. We have said goodbye to friends and family and the colder winter months are upon us. The days can be grey and dark as we wait for Spring to bloom and for many this can be an incredibly tough time of year.

Our bodies need sunshine. Not only to make us feel happy but to provide us with a good dose of Vitamin E. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) also referred to as the winter blues can affect so many bringing low mood, disinterest, tiredness, depression, anxiety, increased appetite and immense sadness.

The mental health charity MIND states that in Northern Europe an estimated one in ten suffers with SAD. In countries near the equator you rarely hear of this condition.

 

Sunlight affects our internal body clock and produces the hormones melatonin and serotonin. Serotonin is known as the happy hormone and if we have lower levels in our body it can affect how our nerve cells communicate leading to SAD symptoms.

During the winter months it is important to try and get outside as much as possible. There may not be the warm sunlight that we have in the summer months but walking in nature is a boost for our mental wellbeing. Any exercise releases endorphins into the body bringing increased energy and positivity.

A possible solution to help with the darker gloomy days is to look at wake up lights that gradually create a brightening light, like a sunrise to naturally wake you allowing you to feel energised and ready for the day. At bedtime they can create a fading sunset helping you to sleep and relax you. A light box or lamp which mimics natural sunlight may help as well. You sit in front of the lamp for a period of time each morning to help with symptoms.

Essential oils can be wonderful for improving your mood and can be naturally uplifting.

I refer to Bergamot oil as sunshine in a bottle. Inhaling the oil brings a smile to your face and transports you to a warm sunny climate. It calms, relaxes and restores. It can help a racing heart and is a natural antidepressant bringing balance to the body.

Neroli oil is described as the rescue remedy of essential oils. The aroma is divine. It provides emotional support. It is calming and balancing and a favourite of mine to treat anxiety.

Sweet orange oil brings positivity and courage. It brings happiness, brightness and light. It can increase serotonin levels.

Peppermint oil is energising and stimulating. It combats fatigue and aids focus.

The oils that I have mentioned so far are calming, uplifting and also energising but with SAD it is also important to feel protected and grounded.

Vetiver oil is one of the most grounding oils that I have used. It provides support to the nervous system and also provides gentle sedation bringing restoration and calmness.

Frankincense oil is deeply relaxing and deepens the breath in times of stress and anxiety. It improves focus and concentration too.

Patchouli oil is calming to mind, body and spirit. It is incredibly beneficial to those suffering with depression.

Cedarwood oil boosts emotional strength and stability. An oil to provide support and strength during difficult times.

You can use essential oils in so many ways. Inhalation via a personal aroma inhaler. Electrical diffusers. Oil burners. Relaxing in an aromatic bath. Spritzing your bed linen. Room sprays to create a subtle aroma. Massaging the body using oils and lotions. Essential oils have powerful physiological and physical benefits which can induce calm, balance, restore, uplift, focus, ease muscular aches and pains and a wealth of other properties.

 It cannot be claimed that essential oils are a cure for serious illnesses. Please seek professional advice before using them and with pregnancy and the elderly. Never ingest essential oils.