For some, the shorter daylight hours and colder temperatures of the fall and winter seasons can cause feelings of depression and general malaise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Besides frequently feeling melancholy, symptoms of SAD can include: a depressed immune system, lethargy and low energy, sleeping problems, loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy, changes in appetite, weight gain, agitation, and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can last from the beginning of the fall season all the way to spring, greatly affecting the day-to-day lives of those who suffer from it. Fortunately, we have the power of essential oils and you can, too! Essential oils can help ease the affects of SAD, giving us the uplifting, energizing, and calming energy that our body, mind, and spirit needs during the long winter months. Read on for our list of 13 essential oils for seasonal affective disorder.
Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
During the darker months of winter our bodies experience several physiological changes. The reduced sunlight can disrupt the body’s biological clock, also known as circadian rhythm. Often, we experience a decrease in serotonin levels, the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that affects mood and feelings of wellbeing. Additionally, since our bodies naturally produce melatonin when it is dark, the increase in darkness during times when we can’t go to sleep can play havoc with the natural balance of our systems, as well. Studies have found that it is likely a combination of all of these things that factor into what causes seasonal affective disorder. So how does one combat these natural changes? Many of those that experience SAD use light therapy, vitamin D supplements, and/or antidepressants to help them through the winter months. However, aromatherapy is becoming increasingly popular, and it can have remarkable antidepressant and therapeutic effects. We love using essential oils for seasonal affective disorder! Aromas deeply affect our brain’s ability to think and feel. They can energize us or take us to a more quiet, restful place. Much has been written on this topic and there is no denying that surrounding ourselves with the aromas of essential oils can help lift us up when we are feeling down and help our bodies regain the balance that we need, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Best Essential Oils for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
In her book, Awaken to Healing Fragrance, Elizabeth Jones references a study that shows the antidepressant benefits of citrus oils. She states that the results support the concept that human depression is based on homeostatic dysregulation and citrus oils improve the homeostatic balance better than antidepressant drugs. As one explores deeper into the world of aromatherapy, it won’t take long to discover similar conclusions being made more and more in the scientific community regarding essential oils and their remarkable ability to combat depression. So which are the best essential oils for seasonal affective disorder?