It’s not uncommon to be dealing with a dose of winter blues, this time of year. This depression, which surfaces especially in the winter months is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter depression. These human body responses are well explained in Ayurveda.
Beat the Winter Blues With Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda, SAD is most noticeable in people with vata dosha. One remedy recommended here is light therapy. If exposure to sunlight is not available, choose to sit fireside. Other good remedies for beating the seasonal blues are: indulging in moderate exercise, like yoga, oil massage (abhyanga) to body and head (moordha taila.), listening to relaxing and uplifting music, wearing warm and bright colors, spending time with good friends who help to lift your spirits.
In terms of diet, no more coffee and salads, it’s time to change it up with warm soups, especially homemade broths, hot herbal teas, stewed fruit. Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Warm, home-cooked, soothing foods cooked with easy-to-digest oils such as ghee or olive oil are ideal, avoid deep-fried, leftover food, and cold foods which diminish our digestive fire. If you can, look to meditate daily. Meditation can help to enhance clarity of the mind. When you sit down for meditation, remind yourself that there is nothing to achieve, no end goal. When one is experiencing SAD, our thoughts become heavy, limiting and negative. Look to clear your mind of all the racing thoughts, raise your consciousness and lighten your heart. Focus on remaining present and clearing your consciousness, the rest will follow.
In regards to pranayama, focus on your exhalation. Try gently breathing in through the nostrils, deep into the belly, while mentally counting. Then, exhale and see if you can draw the breath out longer without forcing, to twice the count of your inhalation.