It’s been a long winter this year. Here in Minnesota, winter can arrive in October and hang around until early May. And I’m so tired of February with its record setting snowfall. Seriously the shortest month? 28 days feels like about 4 months, and I was gone for one week of it!
No wonder we get the winter blues. In fact the further north of the equator, the more likely you are to feel the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder. Women are four times more likely to have the winter blues than men.
Turn Up the Lights
One way to combat the winter blues is to increase your light. Open the curtains and sit by a bright window. Turn on more lights in your home. Consider a light box for 15-60 minutes a day. You can get a light box without a prescription, but it’s a good idea to consult a health practitioner before using one.
Check Your Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies are linked to depression and other health issues. Most of us simply aren’t getting enough Vitamin D. Getting out in the sun isn’t easy in the winter, so choosing a quality supplement may be the best option.
Getting outside to shovel snow is one way to get some exercise and sunlight all in one. I know it can really be a challenge when it’s 50 below zero windchills, and the streets are coated with ice. Even a short walk outside is beneficial. Yoga may be helpful.
Try Some Essential Oils
The chemicals in essential oils can trigger physiological responses enhancing mood. There are many essential oils to choose from that can be helpful with the winter blues. Fragrance an entire room by using a cool mist diffuser, or simply open a bottle and breathe in the fragrance for several inhalations.
- Jasmine: The warm floral aroma of jasmine is powerfully uplifting and relaxing.
- Bergamot: Bergamot is relaxing, uplifting and invigorating.
- Frankincense: Frankincense calms and uplifts the mood while increasing energy.
- Patchouli: Patchouli is stimulating and strengthening.
- Ylang-ylang: Ylang-ylang has a relaxing, sedating and calming effect on the nervous system, creating a sense of wellbeing and relaxation.
Consider Your Diet
When I’m feeling down, I could eat half a loaf of toast. Processed carbs and sugars may give a temporary lift, but the let down feeling quickly follows as your blood sugar takes a nose dive, so it’s best to avoid them as much as possible. Try working cold-water fish like salmon and tuna into your menu a couple of times a week. If you don’t like fish, a high-quality fish oil supplement may help. Increasing your veggie intake is always a good idea. A healthy diet most definitely improves mental health.
See a mental health professional if you are feeling seriously depressed or have suicidal feelings.
Have you tried essential oils for the winter blues? Which essential oils have helped you the most? Comment below or continue the discussion on Facebook.