No matter how many cups of hot chocolate, cozy blankets, warm fireplaces, or over-sized sweaters you have, the winter blues can be hard to avoid.
Although the winter blues are very common, if you find yourself suffering from significant changes in mood leading to depression at a certain time of year (often fall/winter), you may be dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD mood disorders usually cause:
- Increased stress
- Increased feelings of hopelessness
- Increased cravings for sweets
- Increased weight gain
- Increased fatigue and oversleeping
- Decreased energy and motivation
- Decreased concentration
- Decreased interest in social activities
The most common treatment for SAD is bright light therapy.
However, Dr. Norman Rosenthal (the first contemporary researcher to study and record the symptoms of SAD), reducing stress levels is an excellent way to ease the symptoms of SAD. It is well-known that massage therapy helps relax both the body and mind; massage softens tensions held in our muscles and balances our endocrine system, which is responsible for the release of hormones and therefore affects our emotional state. Massage increases the body’s natural production of serotonin, the feel-good hormone that affects mood, sleep, behavior, appetite, and more. Increased serotonin can help improve many, if not all, of the above mentioned symptoms of SAD, making massage therapy a treatment option worth looking into.
In addition to massage therapy, aromatherapy can also be an effective treatment for the symptoms of SAD. There are a wide variety of essential oils perfect for relaxation and mood-boosting, such as sandalwood, sage, basil, chamomile, lemon, peppermint, jasmine, and orange.
Consider adding massage therapy into your regular routine now for stress reduction and well being.