Without pointing out the obvious, it’s dank, dark and downright miserable outside right now. Whilst the gloom of winter throughout December is brightened by the sparkle of a thousand Christmas lights, January’s endless grey is a tough hue to bear; not even Farrow & Ball could it pull off!
The winter months can bring a cloud of melancholy to even the most positive of spirits, but for some it’s a more than just a dip in mood, it’s a perennial winter of discontent. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that the NHS estimates affects one in 15 people in the UK during winter months. Symptoms include lethargy, apathy, having trouble sleeping, mood swings, carb and sugary food cravings and generally feeling low and well, sad.
If you’re battling the winter blues, here are some top tips to give your mental health a boost…
TIP 1: Let there be light
A key trigger for SAD is lack of light. When we are exposed to sunlight, it activates our feel-good hormones. Whilst swapping a British winter for three months in the Caribbean isn’t an option for most of us, getting outside in the natural light is more beneficial than hiding under the duvet.
If the grey skies are not hitting the spot, try Light Therapy. It involves sitting in front of, or under, a light box that artificially stimulates bright sunlight helping to re-set the body’s circadian rhythms. Just 30 minutes regular use can have a positive impact on your mood.
TIP 2: Create a sleep routine
The urge to stay in bed and hide away from the world is tempting, especially at the weekends, but regulating your natural circadian rhythm is vital to instilling a sleep routine that ensures you see daylight as much as possible. Getting into a regular sleep/wake routine will help to keep your body clock on track, which in turn will make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep and start the day feeling rested.
Try to go to sleep before 11pm, avoid caffeine for at least six hours before bed and avoid bright lights and screens late in the evening. Create a bedtime ritual using our Sweet Dreams collection to help you sleep well and start the day refreshed.
TIP 3: Stay active
Exercise benefits not only your physical health but your mental wellbeing, too. It stimulates the release of endorphins, which combat low mood, so try to work out, or at least try to keep moving, for at least 30 minutes a few times a week to improve SAD symptoms. If you struggle to motivate yourself to get active, a quick spritz of our naturally supercharged Energy Mist will re-energise a lethargic body and mind.
TIP 4: Eat well
You may be screaming out for comfort food, but unfortunately, consuming an entire packet of chocolate biscuits will only make matters worse. Beat the carb cravings by making sure you stock up on healthy snacks, such as, seeds, nuts, bananas and avocados that fill you up but release energy slowly. Nourish the body with warm soups, broths and herbal teas and reduce your caffeine intake.
TIP 5: Cheer yourself up with aromatherapy
Aromatherapy harnesses the natural fragrances of the essential oils in aromatic plants to help enhance and balance your mind, body and overall wellbeing.
The benefits of these amazing oils range from helping you sleep, balancing and calming the senses to giving you a much-needed pick-me-up. Our sense of smell is linked to the deepest parts of the brain governed by your basic instincts, thoughts and emotions. Use in a bath or shower, as a massage treatment or try vaporising in our Aroma Spa Diffuser.
Have fun experimenting with your own essential oil blends – citrus oils, such as Orange, Lime and Grapefruit are energising, while earthy and warming oils, such as Nutmeg and Sandalwood are supportive. Ginger revitalises and Basil helps soothes nerves and anxiety, whilst clary sage will help balance moods.
For a quick and easy-to-use option, our Wellbeing collection offers a range of pre-blended 100% natural pure essential oil solutions, such as De-Stress, Sweet Dreams, Energy and Happy in a choice of sprays, roller balls and bath, massage and diffuser oils.