As a past sufferer of SAD, I know how enclosed one can feel when this strikes, and all I did was move North to Scotland!! The nights were longer here, the winters colder, darker and never ending and SAD hit me like a brick wall every winter for 5 years, until my body adapted to its new living conditions.
The doctor’s answer was Prozac for six months every year. I didn’t know any better as it was 20 years ago and herbal remedies weren’t known. Even the Green Witch didn’t exist.. yet!! This was her beginning and her wake-up call. I figured there had to be a better solution to this dismal situation – remember there was no internet yet, no aromatherapy or herbalism, etc, to speak of, so you just did what the Doctor told you, except Prozac stopped me from sleeping and gave me palpitations, so I decided that was not a solution and swapped the doc’s prescription for my 1st herbal remedy after lots of library visits.
So what is SAD and what causes it?
As the seasons change, our biological clock adjusts accordingly. The people of the past got up when the Sun came up and went to bed pretty much soon after it went down, which meant in the summer they worked long hours but basically hibernated in the winter, which we would probably all like to do, especially some mornings when the bed is cosy and the sun hasn’t got up yet and the rain is lashing off the windows…but we have to work in jobs nowadays.
What is strange is that when it is really cold and the snow comes, we get a new lease of life and want to go out in the cold.. just watch kids who get up, discover it is snowy and off they go: in fact even the sleepiest of teenagers will shake off their duvet to chuck snowballs, no matter how old….but because snow is white, it makes things appear lighter I presume, so it isn’t as bad, but those dull, grey, rainy days are just awful and your body goes on a go-slow!! In Britain, no wonder we get depressed…but what can we do to help ourselves get over the winter blues?
Well, this is where the herbal remedy I first used opened my eyes – the wonderful St John’s Wort. It lifted my moods and helped me not to gain weight over the winter, probably from over-eating because I was so miserable. Women tend to be more vulnerable anyway, and because they tend to be in the kitchen more, the habit of munching on comfort food whilst making meals is so much easier, plus we do the shopping, so can keep those items in stock!
In my bid for self-help, I also discovered Porridge helps, so between the autumn equinox and the spring equinox, I eat porridge every breakfast, topped with maple syrup or fresh cream for added comfort! Oats contain essential B-vitamins to keep your nervous system healthy and are very calming and comforting to you and your body – those people of the past knew a thing or two you know…why do you think Scotland regards it as a remedy in a bowl??
In a previous newsletter, I spoke about Vitamin D and needing more this winter than previously because of the lack of summer – well, if you take your cod liver oil all winter, it will help combat SAD as well as everything else it does.
Another issue in winter is our tendency to hibernate which means little exercise, as if our lifestyles are not sedentary enough these days. Exercise releases endorphins which are feel-good chemicals, which is why some get hooked on going to the gym – they are addicted to the feeling the endorphins produce… so, I make a concerted effort even in winter to walk our dog, even if only for 20 minutes, but that is all that’s needed – you might hate going out at first but then you just feel so much more motivated when you get back that it really is worth it.
Citrine is the crystal for SAD, as it is the sunshine stone so carry some of this in your pocket (and it will boost your finances to boot so you can’t do better than that). Burn the citrus oils round the home – oils such as Bergamot, lemon and grapefruit and with a few simple measures, help yourself combat those winter blues.