Five Ways to Schmooze Your Winter Blues
By Sarah Villafranco, MD
Posted in Blog, on February 26, 2015
Well, here we are, at the end of February, and it’s still the dead of winter. In November and December, we are excited to see those first white flakes, and to feel the cold nipping our noses. But now? After a brutally cold winter for many of us, with the bud-laden months of March and April just around the corner, snowstorms and frigid temps are a bit less charming. A lot less charming. We may find ourselves inexplicably irritable, perhaps a bit sad, sluggish, more inclined to overeat and drink, feeling less social, and spending more time than we’d like to admit watching bad TV. Sound familiar? You may have a case of the Winter Blues. But, don’t worry. It’s normal, and it’s completely curable. (Trust me – I’m a doctor!) So, here are a few ideas to help you spring out of your blues, even before the weather starts to change.
1) Essential oils
You don’t have to be an aromatherapist to treat your winter blues. Whole Foods has a selection of basic essential oils, or you can order top quality oils from websites like Eden Botanicals, Ananda Apothecary, or Mountain Rose Herbs. Purchase just a few oils for an olfactory first-aid kit to chase away the doldrums and land yourself back in the light. Here are my top recommendations for safe, inexpensive essential oils (and some ways to use them), plus a few extra special oils at the end for those who want to branch out.
- Orange & grapefruit: these citrus oils are uplifting in a simple and timeless way. The act of peeling an orange or grapefruit is something we have all been doing most of our lives - since the days when your grandpa bit the orange to get it started for you. Can you remember ever peeling and eating an orange and feeling sad at the same time? When you inhale the scent of a grapefruit, don’t you feel healthy and cheerfully alive? To use, you can put a few drops of the essential oils on the floor of your shower, far from the stream of water so they can vaporize slowly. If it’s not shower time, place 2 drops on a tissue and inhale deeply ten times. Also, you can just eat a grapefruit – take a moment to sniff the peel with intention. (Note – do not use citrus oils on the face or sun-exposed skin – they can cause serious rashes.)
- Lemon & basil: these two work beautifully together to lift your mood and increase mental clarity. These may be used in a diffuser together, especially if you are trying to get a specific task done and need to focus and energize. If you don’t have a diffuser, use the tissue method above. And, again, you can get the same effect from crushing a fresh basil leaf with some lemon rind and inhaling deeply.
- Lavender: I know. You’ve heard enough about lavender. I remember when I moved to Colorado and I wouldn’t get a Subaru because everyone had a Subaru. Well, there’s a reason everyone has a Subaru out here – they work. (I love mine!) And, there’s a reason lavender is so popular – it works. It’s an instant anxiety reducer, and is one of very few oils that can be used undiluted on the skin. This is a great oil to keep in your bag and use in moments where you feel like you’re going to blow your fuse at work. (Plus it will calm everyone around you – bonus!) I also keep this one in the kitchen, and apply it directly to burns and insect bites.
- The Extras: Rose, frankincense, & ylang-ylang (pronounced “ee-long”). These oils, if you invest in high-quality ones, are really expensive. The good news is that a little dab’ll do ya. Used after a shower diluted in an unscented base oil, or in diffusers, these three are powerhouses for eliminating negativity, inspiring confidence, calming the nerves, and encouraging self-love. (And these three are really lovely together, by the way.)
So pick a few and experiment! Or, if you’d rather let us do the chemistry, try these Osmia goodies, featuring the oils listed above: Posso Natural Perfume Oil, Ylang Spring Soap, Lavender Shea Soap, Linden Rose Hand Cream, Lemon Basil Ginger Soap, and Night Body Oil.
Music, like scent, is evocative. And we often get stuck in musical ruts – either listening to the same thing all the time, or putting it on in the background without any real thought. Try using a music app or site you haven’t used yet, like Spotify or SoundCloud. Make new playlists. Find artists that you used to listen to in other periods of your life. Type in things like "Mood Booster Playlist" and find songs that make you feel alive, or make your toe start tapping. (Try our OO Groove playlist on Spotify or the DJ called #root.access on SoundCloud – can’t get enough!)
Because we really are what we eat. (I eat a lot of bananas – see?) It’s so cliché, and so totally true. If you eat junk, you feel like junk. Focus on fresh vegetables, spicy salsas, and healthy grains like quinoa and brown rice. We like to say things like “I don’t have time to cook!”, but I made this dish tonight in about 8 minutes, and I could eat it every single night. Simple, nourishing, perfect. Even my kids would love this one.
A few times a week, give yourself permission to slip into a bath and forget the bad TV. Do it before bed, and brush your teeth first, so you can get perfectly sleepy and slide under the covers without having to wake all the way up. Need products to season your tub? We’ve got you covered.
If you follow us on Instagram, or read our blog, you’ve heard me say this word a lot. It comes from two words: endogenous (meaning “from the inside”) + morphine (a pain relief drug). Yep, you can be your own dealer. How? Exercise. Come ON people. Walking briskly for 20 minutes a day is enough to alter your internal chemistry. How can you ignore this medical fact? Try combining this with the music part above – soon you’ll be strutting down the streets of NYC – or on a treadmill if it’s icy - singing and dancing your way out of the gloom!
So hang in there, lovelies – we are almost out of the cold months. And, until then, try a few of these and let us know how it goes! Or, share your own tips for chasing away the winter blues!
With love and warmth from us to you,
Sarah and the Osmia Crew.