Soon after the time change and it starts getting darker earlier and longer you might have a touch of winter blues.
The classic symptoms of the winter blues are very similar in nature to those of other depressive mood disorders:
- A change in sleep patterns — sleeps too much or too little
- Low energy levels
- A craving for sweets and starchy foods
- Feelings of sadness
- Less activity
- No pleasure in normally highly-anticipated activities
- Feelings of confusion
- Possible mood swings
Fortunately, some symptoms can be minimized by doing a few simple things for your health.
1. Get your daily dose of sunlight.
Get as much natural light as possible between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Get outside and go for a walk, or at least sit by a window. Open the curtains, pull up the shades, and spend time in the sunniest room in the house.
2. Eat foods containing tryptophan.
Many who suffer from seasonal depression may experience decreased levels of serotonin, the brain’s neurotransmitter. Tryptophan is an amino acid known to be a precursor of serotonin, so eating foods that contain it may increase your body’s production of serotonin, thus making you feel better. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, spinach, bananas, seafood, milk, and egg whites.
3. Get your daily dose of prayer and bible reading.
There is a verse in the Bible that gives counsel to those struggling with depression. It says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). God knows what you are going through and longs for you to talk to Him in prayer. You may have heard the expression, “Confession is good for the soul.” It’s true.
God offers protection of our thought life too. When dark, depressing thoughts crowd in on us, the Bible says: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things” (Philippians 4:8)
4. Get moving.
Getting your heart rate up and breaking a sweat is a sure way to raise serotonin and endorphin levels – this is especially beneficial if you do it in the morning. Even better, exercise in the sun or near a sunny window.
5. Use essential oils.
Essential oils can be powerful mood-lifters and are perfect to help combat the winter blues and re-energize you, especially when combined with the above.
This is the time of year to use your citrus essential oils.
Citrus Bliss, Elevation, Wild Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, and Bergamot are all energizing and mood elevating oils that help uplift the spirits when the winter blues set in.
Here are some of the ways I like to use these uplifting oils:
- Diffuse them in the air.
- Add them to my bath water.
- Rub them on the bottom of my feet.
- Put 2-3 drops in my hands and rub them together, cup my hands over my nose and b r e a t h e d e e p l y!
- Put 3-4 drops of lemon, orange, grapefruit or bergamot in my water bottle.
Other easy ways to add citrus oils to your daily routine are adding a drop or two to your dish water when you are washing dishes, keeping a citrus oil in your purse to use as a hand-sanitizer (they are powerful natural germ killers), mixing a few drops of lemon, lime,grapefruit or wild orange with water in a glass spray bottle and using it to clean and sanitize surfaces or spray in the air to neutralize odors.
6. Take a Winter Vacation
Save up your frequent flyers miles and vacation time for the winter months, not the summer months. If you can’t stand the cold, a February trip to Florida or a warmer climate can be just what you need to make it through the brutal sleet ‘n’ snow season.