For those of us who love Spring and Summer with their warmth and long hours of sunlight; the cold, snowy days of Winter, with limited hours of daylight, can be challenging to our emotional balance. There is even a name for these Winter Blues-Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The Winter Blues involve feelings of sadness, depression and loss of energy. We feel sad and depressed. Sometimes our sleep is erratic. The good news is that the simple use of essential oils and aromatherapy can be of tremendous relief…with no side effects! And more good news is that the ‘shortest’ day is behind us.
Which oils are best suited to help lift your spirits, clear your mind and stabilize your emotions? What are the best methods to use them?
Citrus oils are a good choice to boost the spirits. Oranges and grapefruits look like orbs of sunshine, don’t you think? First a word of caution: Do not put any citrus oils directly on your skin as they can be dermotoxic, especially when you are exposed to sunlight. Dilute the citrus oils in a carrier oil, like jojoba. You can use the oils undiluted in a diffuser. Examples of citrus oils are grapefruit, sweet orange, bergamot, tangerine and lime. They are especially good for winter as they have anti–viral properties. Citrus oils are cooling and have strong uplifting qualities.
Warming oils like black pepper, ginger, cinnamon leaf and clove bud generally blend very well with the citrus oils, and can synergistically enhance their benefits. These oils also must be diluted before using on the skin.
Aromatherapy Recipe for SAD:
Try making a blend of 4 drops ginger essential oil, 6 drops sweet orange essential oil, 4 drops grapefruit essential oil and 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil in a base of jojoba oil. Fill a 15ml amber or cobalt blue bottle with the carrier oil and add the essential oils. Cover securely and rub the bottle between your palms to disperse the oils in the carrier and warm the oil before use. Play and come up with your own blend! Just be sure you don’t exceed 20 total drops of oil in 15 ml of carrier oil. Fewer is fine! Essential oils are powerful.
How to best use the oils/blends?
You can use a diffuser to fill your space with healing oils (a nebulizer is the best form of diffuser). Direct Palm Inhalation– apply 1-2 drops of oil to the palms, rub together gently and inhale deeply. This is an excellent quick and easy method of exposure to the anti-microbial and other therapeutic uses of essential oils. Citrus oils and warming oils are NOT suited for bath oils , as they can be dermotoxic, causing rashes. The oils that are generally considered mild and safe for bath are lavender oil, clary sage oil, rose oil, geranium oil, frankincense oil, sandalwood oil, eucalyptus oil, and conifers (cedar oil, fir oil, pine oil, pinon pine essential oil, spruce oil, and juniper oil). It is very important to mix the oils with salts or an emulsifier such as milk or sesame oil. Without salts or an emulsifier, drops of essential oils will float on the water and then get directly on the skin. Combined with the heat of the water, this can cause dermotoxicity, especially if the oils are of a heating nature.A generally safe dose is 5 – 10 drops, mixed with 1/2 to 1 cup of salt or emulsifier.
Surround yourself with the healing, aromatic powers of therapeutic grade essential oils to beat the Winter Blues!