Usually around this time of year the dark days and chill of winter begin to weigh on me, I curse the cold and long for my summer garden. Blue Monday is a name given to the third Monday in January which is reported to be the most depressing day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Monday_(date)). Luckily there are many natural alternatives out there to bring the light back in to our spirit and in this post I’ve listed a few of my favorites.
Herbs support the body in a natural way and can be used to bring the body’s systems into balance. A well known herb is St. John’s wort which is a wonderful tonic for the whole body and an excellent nervine which has the therapeutic ability to calm the nervous system and support a healthy mood. It has been called the herb of the sun and signals the time of midsummer which is also when its healing properties are at its strongest. Energetically its sunny disposition can be used to dispel the darkness and protect against evil spirits. It is important to get your herbs from reputable sources as some forms have been found not to be pure, recently a bulletin was released about the adulteration of St. John’s wort supplements. A true specimen of the plant should naturally produce the characteristic red color in the preparation and should not contain dyes to make it look that way and the best tinctures are made from the fresh flowering tops of the plant, harvested during the proper time when the healing properties are strong in the plant.
Another favorite herb of mine to use is Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis, or “Melissa’s Geist” (Melissa’s spirit), as my Oma called it. Melissa’s uplifting aroma and therapeutic properties help to gently calm and uplift and the same time. Using herbs can be a great way to naturally support your body but some do carry contraindications, especially St. John’s wort which can interact with some medications. It is best to consult a qualified healthcare provider when considering the use of herbs. The studio provides wellness consultations which can help you find the best holistic health support options to choose from.
Aromatherapy can be an easy and fast way to positively affect the mood due to the body’s smell receptors being directly linked to the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain. Many studies like this one have been done to show that inhalation of certain essential oils can help to regulate moods. Some of my favorites include lavender and uplifting citrus scented oils like lemon, orange, and bergamot. I have a fun aromatherapy workshop coming up on January 21st, Banishing the Winter Blahs, where we will be making a nice uplifting blend for you to keep. There are still a few spaces left for anyone interested, registration is required.
There is a strong link between exercise and the mood and researchers have found that people on a regular exercise program show not only physical improvement but mental and emotional health improvements as well (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx). Exercise need not be strenuous as a simple walk in nature can work wonders and connect you to the earth and your natural cycles.
Rest and Relaxation
Don’t push against the natural cycles of nature, we are meant to slow down and rest in the winter. Recharge yourself and allow the energy to be stored. There are many ways to incorporate relaxation techniques into your lifestyle which can include meditation, yoga, getting a massage, or a Reiki session. Far Infared Heat Therapy is a great way to relax wrapped in warmth and gain many health benefits. The far infared sauna here at the studio provides the same heat as the sun without the harmful ultraviolet rays, perfect for the dark days of winter.
By incorporating natural healing methods into your lifestyle you are investing in your health and well being and you are surely worth it! Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup so to be able to give your best to others you must first honor yourself. I’ll soon be sitting down with a cup of tea, sifting through the seed catalogs, and dreaming of the return of Spring.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.