If the combination of lockdown and the clocks turning back has suddenly knocked your mood down a black hole, you’re not alone!
Around 30 percent of Brits suspect they suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or the winter blues, and it’s often triggered by the clocks going back.
We need a battle plan to stay hopeful. So, what can you do to fight those moody seasonal blues??
When I first came to live on a Welsh farm, I was struck by the traditional Welsh ability to hunker down and embrace the dark, cold winters. They know it’s coming – and they get COSY. Welsh woollen blankets, warm fires and big pots of stew, called cawl, are all part of the magic.
You can recreate this in your own home, wherever you are! And being in lockdown means that you are around for the slow-cooking magic that turns leftovers into a gut-healthy treat. Here are 4 natural, healthy ideas for embracing the colder, darker weather:
If you don’t want to increase your caffeine intake, but need something warm and comforting that will lift your mood, treat yourself to an infuser teapot and make yourself some vervain and rosemary tea. Vervain is a lesser known herb that has scientifically proven abilities to boost mood and reduce with anxiety1, while rosemary has been shown to improve brain function and increase alertness.2 Get Me Through the Day Tea contains both, along with peppermint to calm your tummy and mugwort to fight off any potential cold bugs.
The nice thing about being home during lockdown is you can put on a pot of Welsh cawl (aka stew) in the afternoon, have it simmering all day and ready to eat by suppertime! Cawl is easy, gut-friendly, and smells mouth-watering as it cooks. It’s a great way to use up leftovers, so it’s budget-friendly during these tough times as well. You’ll find a recipe here. Customise the concept to suit yourself! Chuck any meat leftovers (with bones if possible) into a pan full of water, simmer for a few hours, strain the meat out, chuck in roughly chopped veg to cook in the broth for an hour or so, and then add the meat back in at the end. Eat with crusty bread and enjoy!
Scent your home
Since we’ve got to stay in, it might as well smell delightful! Fragrances are known to be a direct route to boosting mood. But home fragrancing candles have been shown to release toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air including acetone, benzene and toluene, which are known carcinogens. These are the same chemicals found in diesel fuel emissions and are known to cause allergies, asthma attacks and skin problems.3 A safer alternative is to pop some essential oils into an essential oil burner. It smells delicious and has positive health benefits as well. Natural Clean Essential Oil has bergamot, grapefruit and lemon essential oils, which boost mood and lessen anxiety.
Create a routine
Setting regular times to wake, eat, exercise and sleep helps to adjust your internal circadian rhythms. Like animals or children, our gut bugs appreciate regularity and structure! While our master clock is controlled by the sunlight, other lifestyle choices we make either align with, or disrupt our natural rhythm. Research shows that having a routine can benefit mood and mental health, as well as physical wellbeing.4