Sometimes in the winter, I can feel a sort of weight on my shoulders. Maybe it’s the short days, the cold, or the sun being on vacation, but the winter tends to put a damper on my spirits. And I’m not the only one. A few people I have talked to have told me they feel the same things in the winter. So to fight this, I looked for natural solutions to my problem.
I discovered that in Ayurveda, there are many ways to combat these feelings naturally, they can even work for those suffering from diagnosed depression. In Ayurveda, it is believed that all matter is made up of five elements – earth, fire, water, air, and ether. They reside in our body in three different parts: Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water).
The understanding is that physical and mental inflictions – including depression and mood changes like mine – are created from an imbalance of these three groups. Depression is typically associated with Kapha imbalance, but Pitta and Vata can also be involved. Kapha depression is represented by a lack of energy, Pitta portrays agitation, and Vata shows anxiety.
Below, I’ve listed some ways I use to combat my mood swings that can apply to almost anyone. However debilitating depression can feel, it’s important to know that the first step to recovery is recognizing the problem. These suggestions are a positive step in the right direction.
Beat Depression Naturally
By creating a sense of routine, we can stabilize some of our imbalances. Wake up early and expose yourself to the sunlight, it’s great for your health. Try to eat at the same time each day, and keep your surroundings neat as that can help manage depressed feelings.
A good night’s sleep is exactly what you need for proper mental recovery and hormone regulation. Going to sleep before 10 is a great idea, and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
Oil massages and using herbal oils on your forehead are two practices that promote deep and restful sleep.
Yoga is very good at managing different types of depression. In fact, and non-competitive exercise that is focused on repetitive motions can help stabilize the mind. Certain movements like the plough, lotus, half bow, and others are very helpful for alleviating depressed feelings. Breathing exercises work wonders as well.
Avoid Certain Foods
Overeating is never advised, but even eating until full capacity should be avoided. You should also try to avoid oily, spicy, and pungent foods. Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal.
It’s important to avoid ice water, and drink water out of copper water bottles. The copped aids in liver and spleen function, which regulate the body’s natural detox functions which could have a hand in your depression. Limit coffee and tea intake and cut out alcohol completely. You can also drink a combination of raw, unpasteurized milk (be sure it is bacteria free and fresh) with ginger, a great way to alter your mood for the better!
One of the best things you can do is eat according to the time of the year. That means eating local, and it’s also a lot more affordable. Increasing your healthy fat and protein intake before the winter also helps fight mood changes associated with season changes.
Two commonly used herbs to fight depression in Ayurveda are Withania Somnifera and Bacopa Monnieri. They can be used topically as an oil or with food. Recommended doses vary between 300-600 mg, but a professional should be consulted first, and make sure you can verify the purity of the source before buying and consuming.
Oils like rose, ylang ylang, cedarwood, marjoram, and calamus have therapeutic properties that reverse sadness, lethargy, and other moods associated with depression. Essential oils also promote healthy sleep and purify the body, so you can’t go wrong!
Next time you’re feeling down, lethargic, or low, try some of these different methods to get yourself back to you!