You can treat seasonal depression with these 5 simple tools

Woman with tea and blanket in winter cozy

We recently passed the Autumn equinox, which signals the transition from summer to fall and winter.

Although there are a lot of beautiful environmental changes this time of year, many people also experience Seasonal Depression, which can be devastating for many people. 

In the medical world, we call this SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder

It’s a variety of symptoms that accompany the cold weather, and it includes depression, lethargy, and a desire to isolate yourself.

As cold weather rolls in, we need to prepare ourselves for these negative feelings.

Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to prepare yourself for the onslaught of fall and winter.

Here are 5 essential tools to help you cope with the cold:

 

Tea

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”

-Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

 

Nothing is more comforting than a hot drink on a cold day, so now is the perfect time to stock up on tea in preparation for winter. 

There’s an ongoing debate about whether coffee or tea is the superior hot beverage, but as far as combating seasonal depression, tea has distinct advantages.

Tea is an all-encompassing category for a variety of beverages with a variety of health benefits. 

Green tea, for example, gently caffeinates you and helps your digestion. 

One step beyond that, there are nearly infinite types of herbal teas that all offer some great health benefits. 

Echinacea supports your immune system, ashwagandha reduces stress, and chamomile helps you sleep well.

On the frigid days to come, you’ll be glad you have a cupboard full of wonderful medicinal beverages. 

When you start to feel dreary, you can just heat up some water and make yourself a delicious cup of comfort and vitality. 

If you don’t know where to start, look for tea blends with peppermint, lemon balm, or rosemary in them. 

You can find a lot more info about tea varieties online, but hopefully, this information will help you get your tea collection started. 

 

Essential Oils

If you have a problem, chances are there’s an essential oil that can fix it. 

Essential oils concentrate the aromas and therapeutic benefits of a wide variety of plants into a convenient medium.

You can apply some oils directly to your skin, sniff the oils in the bottle, or use a diffuser to spread them around your home in water vapor.

If you need a bit of extra warmth to get through your day, clove and lavender oils are perfect.

Clove, in particular, evokes memories of Christmas for a lot of people and helps invigorate you in the morning. 

Lavender is better for the evening and, in addition to its warmth, also helps you relax to get a restful sleep. 

Peppermint is another fantastic wintertime essential oil. 

It helps clear your sinuses, supports respiration, and adds a little pep in your step as you venture into a gray windy day.

Just like with tea, there are hundreds of different essential oils, so you can always do more research to find the perfect oils and blends to suit your needs.

 

Candles

Denmark is one of the coldest countries in the world, so the Danish people have had to find ways to deal with their harsh winters. 

Over time they developed Hygge, a catchall term to describe different tools and practices that help you find comfort even in the middle of a blizzard. 

Hygge comes from many things, and one of the simplest is candles. 

Candles add delightful warmth and energy to your environment. 

Their soft comforting glow staves off the cold darkness and creates simple magic that will carry you through the cold.

Tea lights make great starter candles because they’re cheap and versatile. You can buy them in bulk and fill your house with tiny dancing lights. 

There are also larger, more elaborate candles that can be great centerpieces on your mantle or windowsill.

Scented candles take things up another level, giving you both comforting light and enticing aromas. 

Chances are you already knew that candles make winter a bit more comfortable, but it’s always nice to have a reminder.

 

Plants

During winter, you’ll be inside with your windows closed a lot of the time.

This can diminish the air quality in your house and cause health problems.

When you’re already feeling low because of SAD, any additional stressors like poor air quality can create a maelstrom of malaise. 

So we need to find ways to maintain good air quality inside our homes. 

Air filters are an option, but we can also turn to mother nature for air purification. 

House plants are a great way to clean the air and add a bit of natural beauty to your home. 

Snake plants, for example, are both low-maintenance and great at filtering toxins from the air. 

These plants can thrive with minimal sunlight and attention, and they filter out toxins like formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene.

Mother nature blessed us with many plants that make perfect cold-weather companions. 

In addition to the air filtration, some cold-resistant plants are also extremely colorful. A splash of vibrant pink flowers will make you feel better when it’s cold and gray outside. 

It’s no secret that places with more vegetation have cleaner air, so bringing a bit of nature inside your home is a great way to make yourself feel better. 

Furthermore, the routine of caring for your plants provides a wonderful calming routine and a sense of control over your environment.

You might be surprised at the level of emotional connection you can have with houseplants.

Which would you rather do, come home to a bleak empty apartment, or come home to a living terrarium of comfort and bliss that you created for yourself?

Friends

Spending time with people you love is always beneficial, but it becomes extra important during winter. 

Seasonal depression, unfortunately, puts many people into a state of hibernation, causing them to withdraw from friends and family. 

When we’re feeling down, it’s often hard to muster up the energy for social interactions. 

This is a cruel situation because social interaction with people you love can be a fantastic cure for feelings of depression. 

As a highly social species, humans benefit physically, mentally, and spiritually from socializing.

It doesn’t have to be a big party or anything like that to give you immediate health benefits. 

Having a humble game night with close friends, or simply sharing a cup of tea on a Saturday morning can fill your heart with warmth and stave off some seasonal depression symptoms. 

Perhaps these benefits are the result of our mirror neurons. 

Mirror neurons activate both when we perform actions and when we see other people perform actions. 

For example, if you watch someone pick up a glass of water to take a drink your mirror neurons can fire, letting you subconsciously experience drinking water yourself. 

Many neuroscientists theorize that mirror neurons helped humanity become more social and empathetic by allowing us to subconsciously inhabit someone else’s life in a small way. 

Applying this to medicinal socializing, one can infer that when we see people enjoying themselves in a social environment, our mirror neurons act out that same sense of enjoyment in our own brains. 

So when you socialize with friends, you’re also hosting a miniature version of the social setting inside your brain.

This might be a part of the healing process. 

You not only experience your own social satisfaction internally but also that of the people you socialize with. 

All speculation aside, it’s well documented that people with strong social connections tend to be healthiest. 

Although seasonal depression can make socialization difficult, it’s important to stay connected to your friends and family during these cold winter months. 

 

Stop the SAD!

It’s a tough world out there, and winter makes it even worse. 

Hopefully, this article has helped you find some simple ways to stave of the sadness and have a warm cozy winter with your loved ones. 

If you know someone who suffers a lot from SAD, consider sharing this article with them. 

You might just turn their world into a winter wonderland.


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