The December just gone was a record breaker. It was the darkest December since 1956, with less than 27 hours of sunshine across 30 days. That’s 38% less than the national average for this time of year. January hasn’t been all that much better, so as if it wasn’t normal to feel a little bit flat at this time of year, there’s even more reason this time around. Commonly referred to as the January blues, feeling low or perhaps even having SAD, here we take a look at some of the holistic measures we can take to help beat the January blues.
Spa recommended ways to help beat the January blues
Aromatherapy is one of our favourite ways to address all manner of issues, using it at home, in skincare products, diffusers and incorporated into massages and other spa treatments. You can even get aromatherapy rollers so you can add a little of a particular oil or blend to your wrist throughout the day. A qualified aromatherapist is the best way to target particular feelings with aromatherapy but some particular suggestions for the dark winter days and the January blues include:
- Sweet orange: perfect for brightening the mood and perking up the body.
- Lemon: This zesty oil is antiviral, anti-bacterial and immune boosting, but it’s also invigorating and uplifting - perfect in the working week.
- Lavender: Known for its relaxing properties, lavender helps to sooth and calm, aiding a good night’s sleep and helping to ease anxiety.
Light is one of the biggest contributors to our low mood in the winter months. It’s one of the ways in which our bodies generate Vitamin D??? And with less of it at this time of the year it’s little wonder that it can get us down. While there’s no substitute for sunshine, and some of us will have the good fortune to head off to warmer climates for a while, an alternative closer to home are treatments and products that help give us a little more ‘daylight’.
You might opt for daylight bulbs and light therapy lamps at home or visit a spa with dedicated therapies. For example, the Sun Meadow treatment room at K West Hotel and Spa, which has specially designed UV lights for light therapy treatment.
Vitamins and supplements
Continuing our point about Vitamin D, vitamins and supplements are a good way to boost any deficiencies that you might have that affect your mood. You should consult a doctor before adding these to your diet. Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish such as herring, sardines, trout, mackerel, salmon, and eggs, and three portions a week is a good target. If you don’t like fish then you can supplement your diet with omega 3 or cod liver oil capsules. A lack of folate, vitamin B12 and magnesium are also all linked to low moods. You get these from whole grains, pulses, dark leafy greens, nuts, dried apricots and dark chocolate.
A healthy diet is pretty much the key to everything, but there are certain mood boosters that can help you feel your best at this time of year as well. Omega 3 is believed to be a powerful influencer on mood. Harvard Health says:
“omega-3s can easily travel through the brain cell membrane and interact with mood-related molecules inside the brain. They also have anti-inflammatory actions that may help relieve depression.”
You can supercharge your diet with omega 3 from oily fish and eggs, avocados, nuts and seeds. You can also include cold pressed olive oil, hemp seed oil, flaxseed oil and rapeseed oil in salad dressings or drizzled over steamed or roasted vegetables!
Endorphins from exercise are an excellent way to help balance your mood - information that will no doubt come as no surprise. If you go outside and make the most of the natural light that is available to us then all the better!
Epsom salt baths
A great way to relax and enhance your mood is to take a bath in Epsom salts containing magnesium stearate which is absorbed through the skin. Recommended essential oils to add to the experience are lemon, grapefruit, lavender and rosewood.