Feeling a bit down? Not sure why? You’re not alone! Here’s how to beat the blues with aromatherapy
By Diane Small
While winter is usually associated with family, celebration, and lots of eating, it is also a time of increased sadness. Commonly known as “winter blues,” it happens when our biological clocks are disrupted as the days become shorter.
This disruption is characterised by feelings of irritability as we long for bright, sunny days. However, this irritability has the capacity to transition into mild to severe depression. Otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, it’s due to decreased levels of serotonin in the brain.
Winter blues may also negatively impact our productivity thanks to symptoms such as:
- inconsistent sleep patterns
- difficulty concentrating
- a weakened immune system
- changes in appetite which can lead to weight gain
- loss of libido
- overall fatigue
- a drop in energy levels.
If these symptoms are not addressed, it could lead to a situation where we’re completely out of sync with our natural schedules. And all this can make winter the most draining time of the year.
But luckily, you can beat the blues with aromatherapy. All you need to know is which scent works for what issue.
The Importance of Scent On Your Health
You may not realise it, but a lack of sunlight isn’t the only thing you’re missing in winter. The aroma of the great outdoors is vital to improving our well-being. The simple things we take for granted during spring and summer really boost our mood. Think: the scent of flowers and greenery; the aroma of street food cooking; the saltiness of sea air, and even the coconut scent of suntan oil!
What’s more, it’s commonly known that exercise can raise serotonin levels in our brains. But what with winter weather, it’s getting harder and harder to find the motivation to do that. And the less we exercise, the less we want to exercise!
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way all season long. Along with eating right, exercising, and exposing ourselves to light as much as possible, you can beat the winter blues with aromatherapy, too.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. It’s been used for centuries! When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain. There, they impact the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain.
Studies have shown that aromatherapy might have health benefits, including:
- relief from anxiety and depression
- improved quality of life, particularly for people with chronic health conditions
- better sleep
How To Use Aromatherapy Oils
It’s super easy to use aromatherapy. In order to reap the most benefits, it’s best to inhale the oils so they can directly interact with your limbic system. You can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, or a combination of a few, to bath salts, a bubble bath, in hot tubs or a simple, relaxing hot bath, or use an aromatherapy roll-on as needed.
Aromatherapy lamps, candles and oil diffusers are another popular method of inhalation. You can relax in the comfort of your home or office whilst experience the aromas permeating through the air.
Just take several deep breaths, and visualise a warm beach or summer meadow, and you’ll be feeling a spring in your step before you know it.
How To Beat The Blues With Aromatherapy
As mentioned above, the blues come with a long list of associated issues. These include overeating, over sleeping, and brain fog, amongst others.
Below are some tips on how to beat all the symptoms of the blues with aromatherapy.
But please note: using aromatherapy is NOT a solution for clinical depression. Please see a medical expert to help cope with that.
1. Feeling generally down in the dumps
Feeling really down? These essential oils should help bring back la vie en rose!
Basil, bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, neroli, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang are all known to lift your mood.
Try: This Organic Bulgarian Rosa Damascena Oil, obtained by steam distillation has one of the most valuable and distinct fragrances. Rose oil has healing, beautifying and therapeutic properties.
2. Fatigue/lack of energy
The blues often indicate a lack of energy. But forget the coffee! If you need to pep up, inhale some rosemary, peppermint, lemon, basil, ginger, tea tree or cypress instead. These will revive each of your senses!
Try: This NEOM Scent to Boost Your Energy Essential Oil Blend combines many essential oils together into one magical potion to boost energy in seconds!
3. Feeling cold
If you’re feeling kind of down, you often don’t want to get out of the house. And staying still for hours and hours can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which makes you feel chilly. Of course the best way to solve this is to take a hot bath, But if you do, add cinnamon bark, cardamom seed, clove or ginger oil to the water. A warm, cozy feeling should continue for quite some time after you’ve dried off.
Try: Tisserand has pretty much all your essential needs covered! It’s great for sourcing blends such as spicy cardamon which can be applied to the skin to help with a host of ailments, from coldness to lethargy.
Price: Around $30
Let’s face it. When you’re feeling down, you’re more likely to be irritable. And not just in your mind – you can even get irritated skin! But these oils, when diluted in a neutral oil base, can also help reduce skin irritation caused by central heating: chamomile, marjoram, clary sage and linden berry, celery seed and rose. Add a few drops to your regular skin cream too, and see how you get on.
Try: Shamans Market’s Moena helps to relax the body, especially when you’re feeling angry or irritated. The essential oil is a distant cousin of Brazilian Rosewood and is soothing in many ways.
5. Appetite control
Comfort eating is a common side-effect of the blues. If you find yourself overeating or feeling bloated, try bergamot, juniper, lavender or celery seed oil. Sniff a bit directly from the bottle whenever you feel like eating.
Try: This Alteya Organics Bergamot Essential Oil. A great way to use it is by diluting it with a face or body cream. You can even put it on your pulse points directly as a citrusy perfume.
6. Unfocused thoughts
Head all over the place? I get that way when I’m down. I’m not as focused, and my thoughts are not as clear. To the blues associated with a foggy mind, try aromatherapy. Inhale some sage, myrrh, or spruce oil whenever you feel in a cloud.
Try: To ensure your essential oils aren’t harming Earth, Shamans Market is great. They ensure all their oils are sourced ethically, meaning only sustainably planted woods and flowers are harvested. They create a lot of exotic essential oils such as organic myrrh, too. This oil has been used for centuries to promote mental clarity.
Have you tried to beat the blues with aromatherapy? Let us know in the comments, below!