Millions of people living in the Northern Hemisphere suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). Here in the UK, I’ve yet to meet anyone who relishes the fact that it gets dark an hour after we pick the kids up from school.
As we alter our clocks and acknowledge the fact that summer is gone and we have weeks of long dark evenings ahead, many of us begin to feel the urge to hibernate. We get sluggish and sleepy and we resent the lack of light. Sometimes we feel anxious or mildly depressed as the weeks roll by and we wait for spring to lighten things up again.
Here are three simple ways to fend off the blues and nurture your light side:
Make the Most of Daylight
Many people find their spirits lifted by getting outside in natural daylight every day. Going for a brisk walk is ideal. It helps your body keep energised and adjusted to the season. Staying indoors and missing out on the fresh air can lead to feelings similar to jet lag as your body becomes out of sync and sluggish.
Get outside for at least 15 minutes a day, stretch and breathe and make the most of what light there is. Dawn and dusk are good times to spend in meditation, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, it will help to relax your body and lift your mood and keep your body clock in touch with the transition into winter in a healthy and settled way.
Use Spicy Seasonal Scents
Essential oils are a great way to lighten the mood of your evenings, try using warm spicy scents like cinnamon or citrus scents to lift your spirits and bring a hint of sunshine inside.
Aromatherapists recommend bergamot, geranium, camomile and lavender essential oils for contracting the symptoms of SAD.
(CC) FLICKR photo by: 00dann
Bring a Little Sunshine Inside
Candles are an easy way to invite warmth and light into your home on winter evenings. I like to think of candles as mini-suns, after all they possess the same properties as the sunshine we miss so much, just on a much smaller scale. So light a few and enjoy the presence of some natural fire energy to fend off darker moods.
In yoga candles are used in a form of meditation called trataka. Trataka calms and sharpens the mind and improves eyesight.
If you’d like to try this meditation technique for yourself - here’s how to do it...
Trataka Candle Gazing Meditation Instructions
Sit with a candle about a metre away from you at eye level. Make sure the candle flame is steady and away from draughts.
Make yourself comfortable and relax any tension in your jaw and shoulders. Now begin to deepen your breath and gaze steadily at the candle without blinking. Don’t strain, but do focus directly on the flame and watch it with focused vision.
After a minute or so, close your eyes and see the flame with your inner vision. Focus on it fully while you relax and breath deeply.
(CC) FLICKR photo by: MarVin'iz
When the image fades, open your eyes and gaze at the candle again for another minute or so.
Try and repeat the cycle of gazing externally and internally for about 5 minutes. If you practice every evening you will soon notice a calm steadiness of mind developing that will support you through the winter months naturally.
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Try Trataka Candle Gazing Meditation for Yourself
This relaxing guided meditation introduces the ancient practice of trataka or concentrated gazing. The simplest introduction to tratak is gazing at the flame of a candle, and this meditation takes you step by step through a guided session that will help you relax and focus your gaze while enjoying the benefits of stilling and calming your mind.
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