Winter blues and Aromatherapy

What are the winter blues?

As the days get shorter and the nights become longer our body goes through seasonal changes that can result in low feelings –  commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). 

Defined as a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, it is estimated that as many as 1 in 15 people suffer from S.A.D on a regular basis during the winter. For many, the feelings may not feel so extreme, but few of us can deny that we are not quite so positive in winter!

What contributes to the increase in winter unhappiness:

60% – dark mornings, 58% – cold weather, 25% – financial worries due to Christmas, 23% – general stress, 18% – loss of sleep and 14% – loneliness. 

The main theory as to why is due to the lower levels of sunlight entering the eye, causing a decrease in hormonal levels in the body. Light decreases the level of the sleep hormone – melatonin, helping us to energise and wake up. In winter, our bodies create more melatonin, leading to increased lethargy and depressive tendencies.

Self help throughout the winter

There are many ways in which you can reduce the effect of S.A.D throughout the winter. 

Try to get outside everyday, absorb as much daylight and sunlight as possible to boost your levels of melatonin to keep lethargic tendencies at bay!

If you are unable to get out, as much as you would like – try to sit near windows – this will still provide an opportunity to absorb natural daylight. 

Take regular, but moderate exercise. Energy levels are depleted – even if ever so slightly, so do not over exert and use more than the reserves you have got. 

Eat a well balanced diet. We often crave carbs in winter to increase calories intake, which increases our body temperature. But eventually, the crash follows and then you feel more tired and cold. The cycle starts again. Winter warming soups and stews, vegetables and oily fish all help to naturally increase the body temperature without the increased calories of carbs. 

Winter is a time to shed anything that is burdening you, rest, reflect and recharge. Don’t take on any big projects or start anything that needs intense focus or effort. Remember – save those reserves until they are bigger!

 

Essential oils and the symptoms of the winter blues

Essential oils are made up of lots of different chemical constituents, all that have differing effects on the body.  These complex compounds can help affect your hormone production, brain chemistry, and stress levels all in a positive manner. 

To support the lower feelings that are being experienced, we look to use essential oils that invigorate and stimulate the system.

The chemical effect – 

Monoterpenes – Balancing to a person with unstable emotional states or struggling to move on. Oils include Lemon (95% monoterpene), Grapefruit, Orange, Lime, Pine, Cypress, Juniper, Black Spruce. 

Sesquiterpenes – Calming to the nerves and help to alleviate anger and fear and inflamed emotions. Oils include Chamomile that is over 50% Sesquiterpenes.

Alcohols – Supports feelings of protection and courage. They cans stimulate the mind and clear mental chatter. Oils include Rosewood (90% alcohol), Geranium, Sweet Thyme and Palmarosa.

Phenols – Stimulating to the mind to encourage new, fresh thoughts and can support self-esteem and belief. Oils include Cinnamon, Clove and Oregano. 

Aldehydes – Nurturing to the mind and have a calming effect on the mind and the emotions. Oils include Lemongrass (70% aldehyde), Melissa, Eucalyptus and Litsea.

Ketones – Emotionally sedative and calming and cleansing for a hyperactive mind. Oils include Fennel, Sandalwood, and Peppermint.

Esters – Encourages renewal and growth and promotes feelings of warmth such as love and kindness. Oils include Lavender (50% Esters), Geranium, Myrrh, Frankincense.

Oxides – A cooling chemical that eases fraught feelings and aids clarity of mind. Oils include Eucalyptus, Ravensara and Rosemary. 

The emotional effect – 

Happy – Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Lime. 

Warming – Cinnamon, Ginger, Black Pepper.

Fatigue – Sweet Basil, Lavender, Petitgrain. 

Cognitive function – Rosemary, Peppermint.

Irritability and moods – Sweet Marjoram, Chamomile, Mandarin. 

Aromtherapy supporting blends

Diffusing – 

Uplifting blend for S.A.D

3 Drops Lime Essential Oil

3 Drops Ylang Ylang Essential Oil 

3 Drops Frankincense Essential Oil 

 

Stress-Free Mind

3 drops Frankincense 

3 drops Lavender 

 

Massage – 

Immune Support Massage Oil

50ml Carrier oil

5 Drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

5 Drops Lemon Essential Oil 

5 Drops Rosemary Essential Oil 

5 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil 

 

Rollerballs –

If you want to have continuous support with you throughout the day no matter where you are, put together a rollerball.

Negativity

10ml Carrier Oil

10 drops Lemon Essential Oil

10 drops Bergamot Essential Oil

5 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil

5 drops Grapefruit Essential Oil

 

Low mood

10ml Carrier Oil

5 drops Eucalyptus Globulus Essential Oil

5 drops Ravansara Essential Oil

10 drops Cedarwood Essential Oil

10 drops Patchouli Essential Oil

 

Clearing the mind

10ml Carrier Oil

5 Drops Cornmint Essential Oil

5 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

10 Drops Lemon Essential Oil

10 Drops Basil Essential Oil

  • Always buy your oils from a reputable supplier who can offer advice and help along your journey.

  • Essential oils are not  intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease.

  • Do not replace medical treatment with essential oils. If you are taking medication and you would like to try out the impact of essential oils, contact a professional.

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