To many people this time of year brings an all-time low. It gets colder and darker and our energy plummets. This is believed to occur because the hormone serotonin decreases when there is less light.
There are plenty of ways how to bring energy and joy back into life as the nights get longer (and actually start creeping into daytime…).
- Enjoy the season; This is a time to go indoors; light candles, buy flowers, make your home cozy; this is your space of retreat. Experience the bliss of sitting in the warmth of your home with lit candles, watching the cold darkness outside.
- Pamper yourself: Take warm baths, create a home-spa; rub, buff, peel and moisturize! Go for a massage.
- Un-clutter: Go through ”all that stuff”; pictures, books, papers, clothes. Use this indoor-time to clear your living-space and allow yourself the joy of uncluttered living. Believe it or not, but this is a great boost for serotonine-levels in the brain. Clutter creates stress.
- Meditation: Take time out each day for yourself, 10 minutes is enough. Light some candles, put on relaxing music, lie or sit comfortably, close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Really bring the breath all the way down into your belly. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about the timing. These minutes will feel longer than they are… Great energizer!
- Get outside EVERY day: Even for only a little while. Your system needs day-light and exercise in order to function. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like. Just get out there and walk or jump around for a while. It will boost your energy-levels and you will feel great! (then you can crawl onto your sofa with a steaming cup of tea and a good book, or movie…BLISS!)
- Herbal teas & natural remedies: St Johns wort, Lemonbalm, lavender… Stay clear of too much stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sugars.
- Aromatherapy: Of course. Essential oils are a great help to help with emotions and stress. They also work directly with the hormonal system. Use uplifting oils in a burner or on a tissue to inhale. Great scents for winter are: Citrus-oils (orange, mandarin, lemon, grape…), Lavender, Ylang-ylang, Geranium and/or whatever you prefer. Remember; essential oils are strongly concentrated and only a few drops are needed to have an effect.
- Thought-patterns: When you feel yourself thinking negatively, change your thoughts, think of uplifting things.
Remember: This doesn’t just happen by itself. You are responsible for your well-being. No matter how difficult or un-attractive it might seem to exercise, for example. Just do it and you will notice what an incredible change it makes!
In the times when people still lived in harmony with nature and seasonal changes, this was a time for togetherness and preparation for the hectic spring/summer season. Bedtime came earlier because of the dark.When we remember the rhythm of the seasons and allow ourselves to fit into this rhythm, we handle seasonal changes better. Once spring comes again there will be an explosion of action and energy…then we need to be rested.
For ideas on how to use essential oils, see earlier posts under the “aromatherapy” category.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged bath, candles, citrus, clutter, cold, darkness, day-light, energy, exercise, geranium, herbal teas, lavender, lemonbalm, Massage, meditation, positive, seasons, serotonin, St Johns wort, thought-patterns, winter blues, ylang-ylang
Stress is around all the time in different disguises and usually we don’t even notice them until they grow into improportionate monsters that we are completely incapable of handling. At this point you need some serious help. But we can do a lot by ourselves…it doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of time – actually, these measures might probably save you both time and money!
Here are the stress-symptoms and what you can do to change that specific symptom, which over time will help you to handle the stress.
- Head-aches: Drink more water – 1 glass/hour is easy to remember. Or keep a 1/2 l. bottle with you at all times and make sure you drink 2-3 of these. Get some fresh air. Reduce your intake of coffee, try drinking water or herbal tea in your breaks. Peppermint-tea is an excellent “pick-me-up” when energy is flagging, it can also help with head-aches and nausea. Essential oils: Either as inhalation from a tissue or by rubbing a drop mixed with some veg. oil or non-perfumed cream into your temples and the base of your skull. Keep with you essential oils of Peppermint (mentha piperita), Lemon (citrus limon), Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis), Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus). Citrus oils and eucalyptus or “minty” oils help to revive energy and sharpen the mind. Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) can be very helpful with head-aches but due to its calming properties can be difficult to use in the work-place since it might relax you too much.
- Stiffness/pain in neck, back & shoulders: Move! Pay attention to your posture, get a new chair at work which allows you to sit up straight, or get a big ball to sit on. Every hour, take 2-3 min. to exercise; shoulder-rolls, knee-bends, back-stretch, neck-stretch…Shake your body loose, go out and breath some fresh air, or open a window. Rub your neck and shoulders. Start paying attention to your body! Listen to what it tells you.
- Irritation & mood-swings: Breath. Use a short and simple breathing-exercise to get you grounded and relaxed: Sit on a chair without crossing arms or legs. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing; take deep breaths all the way down to your stomach. Try to make each breath as big and deep and slow as possible. Breath in on the count of 4, breath out on the count of 4 – like waves on a beach. Very quickly you will feel your breathing slowing down and your body relaxing. The tension in your head will disperse and you get more energy and balance. This will help your mood. Essential oils in the work-place: Any citrus-oil will help, Black-pepper (piper nigrum), Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) followed by a citrus or Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis). At home, where you do not need to stay mentally sharp you can use: Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica), Geranium (pelargonium graveolens), Rose (rosa centifolia).
- Indigestion: Check your eating-habits. If you spend a lot of time sitting still, you need less food. Eat smaller meals and avoid heavy foods such as; bread, pasta, deep-fried foods, heavy sauces, sweets and cakes. Stay clear of pre-processed foods. Fill up on salads, vegetables, lean meat, fish or chicken. Sauces based on yoghurt are fine. Drink water or green tea, nothing else. Snack throughout the day on fruit, vegetables and nuts. After a meal, take a walk. Even 5 minutes is enough. This way your energy-levels will stay consistent through the day, your blood-sugar won’t spike. You will not suffer from indigestion in any form (farting, burping, feeling swollen, cramps, pains…) and you won’t gain weight! Herbal teas for digestion are really useful; there are some already blended from different herbs, also good are: peppermint, fennel, cumin, rosemary. Nettel-tea and green tea is good to drink during the day .
- Sleeping problems: Usually the problem is overload in the head; constant chatter, thoughts churning, anxiety attacks – or a mix of all these. Sleep is a habitual thing, you need to get good sleeping-habits. First of all food: Make sure you have 3 hours to digest your last meal before bed-time. Don’t drink alcohol in the evening; it might help you fall asleep, but the moment it starts breaking down in your system your sleep will be destroyed. When your body needs to break down, or digest, it is working hard and this does not induce nor help sleep in any way. Make your evenings calm; relax, read a book, lower the lights, take a bath, drink a calming tea such as; chamomile, hops, lavender or a pre-blended herbal tea. Stay clear from bright lights, coffee, black tea, sugary snacks, television. Get to bed early; around 10.oo pm. Create a dead-line for your working day; every evening you stop all action at say, 8 o’clock. If you are worried about forgetting things; write it down. Keep a paper and pencil by your bed and write it down as it arises, then you will, mentally, be able to let it go . Use breathing-exercises or other relaxing techniques once you are in bed. Bring a hot bottle to bed. Keep your bedroom cool and dark – use your bedroom only for sleep and love. Essential oils: Lavender (lavandula augustifolia), Ylang-Ylang (cananga odorata), Roman Chamomile (chamaemelum nobile), Marjoram (origanum majorana), Frankincense (boswellia carterii), Rose (rosa centifolia), Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora), Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides). Use on a tissue beside your bed, in a bath before bedtime, in a diffuser during the evening. If you keep to this habit, you will find that you start sleeping better.
That’s it for today: If you have any questions or problems, please tell me and I will answer you.
Posted in Aromatherapy, Lifestyle, Stress
Tagged Aromatherapy, citrus, essential oils, foods, habits, head-aches, herbal teas, indigestion, Lifestyle, mood-swings, pain, rose, sleeping, stiffness, Stress, tips, vetiver, ylang-ylang