Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be very common at this time of year, it can include symptoms of not being able to get up in the morning, not being able to complete tasks or even start them, overeating, lack of energy and withdrawal from friends and family.
Scientists have not found one specific cause of SAD, but it has been most strongly linked to reduced levels of serotonin, an important “feelgood” neurotransmitter. Serotonin is a hormone that help to stabilise the mood, feelings of wellbeing and happiness. You can increase your serotonin levels though exercise, bright light, massage, and foods that convert the amino acids into serotonin.
As much as some of us would love to hibernate like our good friends the hedgehogs, it’s not that easy or affordable!! We need to fight these circadian rhythms that tell us to sleep as soon as the sun goes down.
Researchers have found that SAD can actually increase our sensitivity in the olfactory system (Sense of smell) particularly in our right nostril which is connected to our right side of the brain. Therefore, we should embrace this hypersensitivity by looking at curing our SAD-ness with aromatherapy!
These Citrussy oils are great ‘feel good’ oils helping to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. They are particularly effective for mood enhancement and boost both serotonin and dopamine levels.
Black pepper is the only essential oil that has been shown to significantly increase adrenaline levels on inhalation. This is great for SAD symptoms of being lethargic or not being motivated to complete tasks. However, maybe avoid if you have high anxiety levels.
Ginger is a lovely oil to use in these winter months, especially if you are suffering with SAD as its holistic health properties include stimulating optimism and initiative, increasing determination and inspiring action. It also helps to boost confidence.
Of course, aromatherapy isn’t the full solution to curing SAD symptoms. We need to really focus on self-care and taking time to realise that these feelings are taking over our day. These symptoms are stopping us from working, living and loving to our full potential, so we need to fight back!
Other self-care ideas can include gentle exercise, baths, massage, meditation, taking a break, and talking about your feelings to others because I’m 1000% sure you are not alone.