Ayurveda Remedies For Winter Depression

Long nights, short days, sweaters, warm clothes, and chilly weather make many of us sick and depressed. This depression which surfaces especially in winter is a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is often called winter Time Blues or Winter depression. 

The exact cause of this depression is as of yet unclear. But yet few scientists believe lack of exposure to sunlight is the reason for this disorder. The symptoms of winter depression are a tendency to over eat, craving for carbohydrates and sweets, and weight gain.

Had our ancestors observed this change in humans? 

The answer is yes. Have they recommended any remedies? Yes, they have recommended simple and effective natural remedies to overcome Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

They have laid down explicit guidelines about diet and lifestyles which have to be followed according to seasons. The winter season is marked as Hemanta Ritu and Sisira ritu in Ayurveda. Hemanta ritu starts from mid-November and ends in mid-January. 

This falls in the southern solstice which is called visarga Kala or dakshinayana in Ayurveda. Sisira ritu starts from mid-January and lasts till the middle of March. Sisira ritu falls in Northern solstice which is called Aadana kaala or uttaraayana.

Ayurveda tips for winter 

The response of the human body to this season is very well explained in Ayurveda. People will have increased strength and their digestion capacity is increased. This is marked by increased hunger. 

These symptoms are caused by increased body fire which is supported by vata. Vata inside the body increases in winter because of cold and dryness which is prevalent in the outer atmosphere.

The wintertime depression is noticed mostly in persons who have vata as a major constituent in their Prakriti or body constitution. The cause for this type of change is longer nights of winter.

  • Light therapy: is recommended by doctors for wintertime blues. Exposure to artificial light may cause headaches, Irritability, Eye strain, Inability to sleep, and fatigue. Exposure to sunlight and if sunlight is not available sitting near the fireplace is the remedy suggested in Ayurveda.
  • Keeping the home well lit with lights: it helps to reduce the intensity of depression.
  • Moderate exercise like yoga: it is another remedy for winter depression. Ayurveda recommends oil massage (abhyanga) to the body and head (moordha taila.). Indulging in a sexual act to keep the moods elevated and to keep the body warm is another strongly suggested ayurvedic remedy.
  • Meeting friends: the friend who is kind and understanding boosts morale and brightens up the day. Spending time with friends on the beach helps to expose your body to sunlight and keeps your spirits high.
  • Other ways: relaxing with meditation, massage, light music, and laughter helps to a great extent.

The following ayurvedic tips help to prevent and reduce the intensity of the seasonal disorder of winter, the wintertime blues.

  1. Expose yourself to sunlight as much as you can. In absence of sunlight sitting near the fireplace is very helpful.
  2. Massage your body with vata balancing herbal oil (abhyanga). Never forget to apply oil on your head (moordha taila.).
  3. Then remove the oil by taking a hot water bath. A mixture of flours of yellow gram (channa), green gram (moong), fenugreek seeds (methi)  in equal proportion is the best herbal scrub which can be used to remove the oil. This mixture prevents the washing of natural oil from the skin.
  4. Consume hot soups.
  5. Use vata balancing foods like wheat, oil, corn, black gram, and jaggery.
  6. Tickle your taste buds with sweet, sour, and salt tastes
  7. Always use hot water for all daily routine activities.
  8. Use thick blankets and sheets made of cotton, silk, and wool.
  9. Always wear footwear.
  10. Indulge in the sexual act.
  11. Spend your leisure time with friends and relatives whom you like.