ARE DARKER, COLDER DAYS KEEPING YOU DOWN?
Winter carries with it the promise of holiday cheer, but the colder, darker days can be tough for many people. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression typically experienced in the colder months. It results from the change in the seasons. To help beat the winter blues, there are a few things that can be done to keep spirits up.
1. GET FRESH AIR EVERYDAY It may be more difficult when it’s cold outside, but getting fresh air is still one of the best things for mental health during the winter months. Studies show that simply being outdoors can lift moods, though the mechanism isn’t yet quite understood (Sour Mood Getting You Down? Get Back To Nature - Harvard Health). Making sure to spend a little time outdoors everyday can have a positive impact on how one feels.
2. LOOK INTO PHOTOTHERAPY Mayo Clinic acknowledges phototherapy as a valid option for helping treat SAD. A light therapy box is used in proximity of the individual needing assistance. It is believed to directly influence chemicals in the brain linked to mood (Light Therapy - Mayo Clinic) as well as circadian rhythms (Wu et al, 654), both of which can influence how people experience depression.
3. POWERFUL SCENTS When inhaled, essential oil constituents possess the unique ability to bypass the conscious brain and directly impact the deeper areas that control emotion. This makes them simple and ideal options for assisting in the treatment of SAD. Essential oils can also be coupled with either phototherapy or exposure to nature through diffusion or the use of a personal inhaler to help maximize the effect either has on mood. Healingscents offers a variety of aromatic options that may be helpful in aromatherapy treatments for SAD.
Citrus Twist is an invigorating blend of blood orange, pink grapefruit, tangerine, and lemongrass. The bright citrus notes help to brighten and revitalize low spirits while the calming, lemony scent of the lemongrass helps to bring peace. It is the perfect blend to diffuse during darker days or carry with in a personal inhaler for when an extra mood boost is needed. Try diffusing for an hour morning, noon, and night or add to a personal inhaler.
The deep, woody aroma of Santalum album is ideal for helping to ground and center anyone struggling with emotions that may be trying to get away from them. It is a great choice for facilitating inner peace. Apply one drop of Healingscent’s 10% sandalwood essential oil dilution to the inside of both wrists as a personal perfume when overwhelmed.
Also known as “may chang,” litsea cubeba is another essential oil rich in the lemon-scented aldehyde citral, making it reminiscent of lemongrass. It’s a slightly sweeter option with a similar safety profile. It could easily replace lemongrass in any recipe and helps to instill a profound sense of serenity. Diffuse 4 drops coriander seed, 3 drops atlas cedarwood, 2 drops litsea cubeba, and 1 drop Roman chamomile.
Pink grapefruit is a beautiful, sparkling aroma that is a prime candidate for helping to uplift anyone who is feeling down. The oil is a bit of a paradox, adding both tart and sweet notes to a blend and pairs beautifully with other bright citruses. It also adds a lovely note to more floral blends. Add 6 drops of pink grapefruit, 6 drops of lime, 4 drops of frankincense, 2 drops of rosemary, and 1 drop of geranium to a personal inhaler.
This gentle, woody essential oil brings the healing elements of the forest inside to help soothe and calm. It’s a good option for incorporating into aromatherapy treatments when one is unable to find time to get outside and experience nature. More mellow than some of the other conifer essential oils available, fir needle useful for helping one find their center. It is also a helpful oil for easing the anxieties that spin out of control and often accompany gloomy days. It is especially nice when paired with citrus and other wood oils. Diffuse 4 drops of fir needle, 3 drops of grapefruit, 2 drops of sandalwood, and 1 drop of litsea cubeba.
"Sour Mood Getting You Down? Get Back To Nature - Harvard Health". Harvard Health, 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature. Accessed 16 Jan 2019.
"Light Therapy - Mayo Clinic". Mayoclinic.Org, 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/light-therapy/about/pac-20384604. Accessed 16 Jan 2019.
Wu, Mann-Chian et al. "The Effects Of Light Therapy On Depression And Sleep Disruption In Older Adults In A Long-Term Care Facility". International Journal Of Nursing Practice, vol 21, no. 5, 2014, pp. 653-659. Wiley, doi:10.1111/ijn.12307.