The changing of the seasons is upon us. For some, the cloudy skies, early darkness and colder weather can be a little gloomy; any changing of the seasons causes a little emotional turmoil. If the departing of the sun and cold mornings have got you down, or even if you have a more serious depression issue, here are a few natural remedies to lift your spirits.
Keep warm. You may remember the series of articles I wrote on the three dosas – vata, pitta and kapha. This is the season for Vata (cold, dry, quick – elements of air and space). It means getting cold easier, which can lead to getting tight and dry in the muscles, feeling empty and full anxiety. So keep warm, oil the skin more regularly, eat rich foods (before 4pm) and if you tend to get cold easily in general, protect yourself from the wind.
Exercise. We have found that depression can often be caused by the shutting down of an organ or system, particularly the kidneys and brain. Maybe it isn’t getting the proper nourishment it needs and its luster starts to fade. Less energy is reaching the area and therefore less vitality in the emotions. Exercise is an excellent way to get the circulation into these or any malnourished organs to return the feeling of vivacity and spirit.
Windhorse. This is a Tibetan principle that is based on caring for your environment (including your body) and receiving uplifted energy in return. I have seen this principle at work so many times, it really feels quite magical. Clean your room. You’ll notice you don’t feel so down or anxious. Find the one area of your house that has the most clutter and organize it. Just that one spot. It doesn’t have to be an all-day cleaning spree. Just take 30 minutes or however long it takes to clear that one spot. How do you feel after? I can almost guarantee you will feel like a new person. This principle works so darned well, I even whimsy that your car runs better after you clean it! Do not get overwhelmed with some big picture of reorganizing your whole house, or cleaning every room. That may cause more depression if you’re already there. Choose one room or one messy spot and start there.
Don’t sleep in. What?! Yep, I said it. Sleeping after 8:00 am can cause lethargy. Those doshas are also associated with time of day. The kapha (elements of earth and water, heavy and slow qualities) time of day is from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. The longer into this period you get, the heavier and slower you will feel. You will be less motivated to get up and do anything. You will likely be tempted to lay about more. Getting up at 6:00 or 7:00 am is ideal to put some spring in your step.
Appreciation. It is easy to see everything that is wrong. Very easy. Take the time to notice things that are beautiful, things that make you feel happy, things you are grateful for, things that are special. Don’t become one of those weirdos that ignores everything wrong in the world and only thinks about positive things. That’s weird. But when you are feeling down, stop to remember something you appreciate.
Friends. Reach out to your friends. Tell them about your favorite book or show you’ve watched. Tell them what you realize you appreciate in life. Ask them how they are doing. Ask them if they want to come over and have tea and help you clean that messy spot in your house, or offer to go help them with theirs. Or just put on a comedy and laugh together.
Now, some of these things may sound more like an advice article, but these are all based on Ayurvedic principles for healing. My job is to put them in language everyone understands.