On top of a pretty rocky year, we’re heading into another tough time for many of us: the seasonal depression season.
Also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), seasonal depression usually occurs throughout fall and winter and subsides when spring rolls around and the sunnier, warmer days return.
SAD is largely caused by a disruption in our circadian rhythm. The decrease in sunlight this time of year can disorient our internal biological clock, affecting serotonin and melatonin levels, both of which play a big role in regulating our sleep patterns and mood. Symptoms include oversleeping, undersleeping, changes in appetite, mood swings, weight gain, and a general feeling of sluggishness or malaise. Activities you typically enjoy might suddenly seem less interesting or fun to you.
Thankfully, there are several things you can do on your own at home to help fend off these seasonal blues. Here are five ways to show yourself some extra love and care this season when you need it most—because you deserve it!
Exercise is a fantastic way to increase endorphins, your serotonin levels, and find some much needed peace of mind. And don’t worry, you don’t have to venture out to a gym to get the exercise needed to boost your mood.
In fact, it only takes a few minutes to find a suitable video on YouTube from the comfort of your own home. Personally, we’re suckers for a nice relaxing yoga routine or flow. Just follow along, have some fun, and pat yourself on the back for investing in your own physical and mental health. Go you!
A soothing hike or walk outdoors is another one of our faves. Fresh air, some sunlight, nature’s calming sights & sounds—you’d be surprised how re-energizing a simple stroll can be. It’s also a perfect opportunity to catch up on your podcasts or dive into the latest album by your favorite artist.
When it gets dark mega early and you’re not feeling like yourself, it’s easy to give in and let healthy routines slip away. Don’t beat yourself up about it. We all tend to put self care on the backburner when we feel low—which is a shame because that’s when we need our trusty wellness routines the most!
Your skincare regimen is one such routine. Recognize your morning and nightly skincare rituals for what they really are: “me” time. A moment to relax, prioritize yourself, reflect on the day, and embrace beauty and wellness. Remember: A well-rounded skincare routine should consist of at least cleansing, toning, treating and moisturizing.
When you’re having an especially crummy day, we definitely suggest treating yourself to a face mask! After toning, apply your chosen mask and take 20-30 minutes to do nothing whatsoever but relax.
For an easy DIY mask you can make at home, mix 3 drops of immortelle essential oil, (aka Helichrysum italicum) with 1 tbsp. honey and 1 egg white. Or, simply add 3 drops of immortelle oil to 1/2 an avocado smashed. Rinse it away after 20 minutes and follow up with the Grapefruit & Aloe Toner, then moisturize.
As mentioned before, fall and winter can really throw your sleeping rhythm out of whack. You may find you have more trouble falling asleep or waking up. Or, more annoyingly, find you feel tired and lethargic at various times throughout your day.
Consistency is the fix. Pay close attention to how you feel throughout each day and figure out a sleeping pattern that jives with your work and activity schedules. Then, just stick with it. As a guideline, aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each and every night.
Avoiding tv, phone, and other blue light screens right before bed is also a must. Studies show this type of light can have dramatically negative impacts on the quality of your sleep and therefore your overall health. About an hour before you’re ready to shut the lights off, put away all screens. Trust us, you won’t regret it. Instead, try reading a book, doodling, or journaling. You’ll be amazed at how much more rested you feel.
There’s nothing like meditation for pushing away bad vibes. Not sure how? There are loads of helpful meditation apps online that will guide you through the process, step-by-step (our personal go-to is headspace!).
Here are a few more mindfulness exercises to keep your mood in tip-top shape:
- List and focus on three things you’re thankful for today
- List and focus on the things you love about yourself
- Say what the best part of your day was aloud, or a moment that made you smile
- Think of one thing you can do to have a positive impact on your day or week
Make sure to breathe deeply as you meditate on these positive affirmations. If you make meditation and mindfulness a normal part of your daily routine, we’re confident you’ll be beyond happy with the results.,
To make each session even more soothing, diffuse stress-fighting Immortelle oil or your favorite essential oil blend in an electronic diffuser while you meditate
In our opinion, treating yourself to a luxurious bath is always a good call, but especially when seasonal depression rears its ugly head. In fact, studies indicate warm soaks before bed can even help alleviate sleep problems. Deep relaxation, better sleep—yes please!
Want to make your own baths even more restful and tranquil? Just add 10-15 drops of immortelle essential oil in conjunction with your favorite salts and bombs.
Soaking in hot water for extended periods, especially during winter, can really dry out and irritate your skin. To avoid this, opt for warm water over hot water and keep baths to under 45 mins. Follow up your soak with moisturizer and a couple glasses of water and you should be just fine.