As winter blows in it tends to bring with it looming clouds that shroud our world in darkness. Because we can go for days (or even weeks!) without seeing a ray of sunshine, our Vitamin D levels start to drop, and so do our moods. Many people who live north of the 37th parallel find themselves slipping into a funk during the winter months. This lack of sunshine and Vitamin D deficiency can even lead some people to suffer from what has been called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or rightly abbreviated as SAD. But instead of just enduring this, give one of these herbal remedies a try to usher away those gray winter days.
Instead of pouring another cup of coffee or opening another can of soda to get your caffeine boost, turn to green tea instead. Not only will it deliver the caffeine you need, but it also contains L-theanine. This amino acid works with the caffeine in the tea to not only help boost your mood but it also keeps you from crashing later, like you would if you were running on just coffee, soda, or energy drinks. It helps to relax you without making you tired and it helps you deal with stress. It has even been noted to aid with increasing your attention span!
St. John's Wort
St. John’s Wort is flower power harnessed in a pill! Hypericin, the main ingredient, works to stabilize the levels of serotonin in your brain to enhance your mood. It works in much the same way as medications like Zoloft and Prozac do, but with reportedly fewer side effects. While this is a natural substance, make sure to read over the label and talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any possible drug interactions, especially if you’re taking a serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Bergamot is a powerful essential oil known to kick depression right in the shins! Its citrusy smell works to lift your mood and ease pain, anxiety, depression, and sadness. Simply rub the oils into your hands, cup your hands over your nose, and breathe it in. You should feel any tension and winter blues melt away.
SAM-e is a naturally occurring compound in the body, but if you're running low on it, you may start feeling down. SAM-e helps to break down brain chemicals like serotonin, which is responsible for maintaining a balanced mood. Taking SAM-e supplements daily will help your body regulate serotonin levels and help your mood stabilize.
Fish oils contain Omega-3 essential fatty acids that support brain health. This is an especially great supplement to take if you’re someone who doesn’t consume much fish. It works by softening cells, which then allow the serotonin to be more easily passed from one cell to another.
You probably know that lavender smells great and is popular for relaxation since it’s often found in lotions, candles, and laundry soaps. But did you know that you can take lavender orally as a mood booster? You’ll find it in tea and it's also in oil that can be taken by mouth as well. Just be sure that you get the oil that’s meant for consumption, as some are not safe to ingest. It’s rumored that lavender can actually work just as well as benzodiazepines, such as Xanax and Klonopin.
So skip the blues this season and try some of these natural remedies. You don’t have to feel down just because of the way the earth is tilted. Get back to the you that you love to be in the summer time! As with any supplement, even though they’re natural, make sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before you begin any of them. You want to ensure they will not interact with any medications you’re taking or exacerbate any conditions you have!