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  • Writer's pictureJessica Montgomerie-Kieft

Using aromatherapy and essential oils to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Aromatherapy has been used to evoke psychological responses for thousands of years by using the therapeutic benefits of essential oils to bring about balance and restoration to the human body and mind. And in the case of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), aromatherapy can be a powerful method to combat these “winter blues” as part of your self- care toolkit.

Essential oils are one of nature's amazing gifts! Obtained from plants, flowers, herbs, fruits and trees these natural by-products carry different chemical components that have their own unique properties, which dictate the therapeutic actions of that essential oil on the human body. These include therapeutic actions such as immune-stimulating properties and sedative or stimulating responses, which are achieved through inhalation or skin application methods of essential oils.

When you inhale essential oil molecules, they enter your respiratory system, are carried into your bloodstream and are circulated to every cell in your body creating a pharmacological response, while also triggering a psychological response through our sense of smell.

The connection between our sense of smell and emotions is unlike any of our other senses, due to the olfactory system pathways opening directly into the brain structures of the limbic system. The olfactory system plays a critical role in the health of the human body; it triggers responses to stimulate or sedate body systems and organs (thalamus), affects the nervous and endocrine systems (hypothalamus and pituitary gland), and influences our psychological response (the limbic system). This direct link between our sense of smell and the limbic system helps to explain why inhaling the aroma of essential oils has a powerful immediate effect on the human body and emotions.

To combat the sluggish effects of SAD, it’s best to look for essential oils with stimulating or antidepressant properties to uplift mood, while also affecting serotonin levels within the body and bringing about balance to your circadian rhythm . These include:

Sweet Orange: This cheerful citrus essential oil will help to uplift mood and energy levels, while simultaneously reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Sweet oOrange also helps to enhance and strengthen the immune system. A great option for when having trouble concentrating or feeling unmotivated at work.

Bergamot: A stand out essential oil in treating emotional wellbeing, bergamot helps to stimulate and energise with its mood-improving aroma while also helping to boost levels of serotonin in the body. This essential oil is also great for regulating appetite, which can be a symptom of SAD.

Lavender: Lavender essential oils acts as an adaptogen which can assist the body in adapting to stress or imbalances, while antidepressant properties help to relax and balance energy. This essential oil is widely used to balance the central nervous system and melatonin production, which is responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm and maintaining a consistent sleep cycle.

Clary Sage: Another favourite when it comes to sparking happiness, clary sage’s antidepressant properties help to eliminate stress and anxiety. This essential oil also helps to boost hormone function and reduce cortisol, to elevate both dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. A great option to help that mid-afternoon slump.

These essential oils can be used in a variety of different ways to become a natural part of your daily self-care routine. One of the easiest and most effective ways is through diffusing essential oils in your home or workspace throughout the day, as inhaling these aroma molecules only takes a few seconds to start having an effect on your body and mind. Try diffusing these blends throughout the day:

Distress and Energising Blend Diffuse first thing in the morning or when you’re feeling tired and unmotivated

  • 4 drops sweet orange essential oil

  • 2 drops bergamot essential oil

  • 2 drops clary sage essential oil

Sleep Regulation Blend

Diffuse late afternoon or before bed when you want to relax and unwind

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil

  • 4 drops clary sage essential oil

If you’re into DIY and would love to make your own aromatherapy products, check out my Instagram for a range of easy to make essential oil skin application products to use as part of your self-care routine.

Guest writer: Jessica Montgomerie-Kieft, Aromathérapie Co

Jessica Montgomerie-Kieft is the creator behind Aromathérapie Co, a devoted Instagram sharing all things aromatherapy. As a clinical aromatherapy student with a passion and focus on women’s health, Jessica shares her favourite ways of incorporating essential oils into your routine though easy to make DIY’s and natural recipes, alongside the why’s and science behind aromatherapy.

Instagram - @aromatherapie_co

Website -

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