Ahhh the seasons are a’ changing and the cool, crisp, chill of winter is in the air.
But while some are invigorated by a shivery cold snap, others can struggle to balance their mood, and succumb to the winter blues – or in an extreme case – seasonal depression.
While seasonal affective disorder (SADs) is relatively rare, affecting about 1 in 300 Australians, according to Professor Greg Murray, director of the Centre for Mental Health at Swinburne University – winter can still be a time of stress for many.
The days are shorter and darker amping up those groundhog vibes, and the lure of those golden Australian beaches is tempered by grey glass seas. And don’t even get us started about the triple whammy: when cold, rain, and wind hits, making going outside seem all the more threatening and unappealing.
What if we told you a solution to help you de-stress without the… well… stress? Aromatherapy candles are an inexpensive tool that can help boost your mood and ward off those winter blues.
Let us explain how.
Before we get started, we should clear something up: aromatherapy candles are a little bit different from the scented candles you normally find sold at major beauty or fashion retailers.
They have two main differences. Firstly, they contain essential oils. It can be just one or a combination of oils used, but “essentially”, this is the beautiful, scented, element that’s released when the wick is lit and the wax starts to melt.
Secondly, they are usually crafted with all-natural ingredients, such as botanical wax or animal wax.
Soy, which is what we use to make Raw Beauty Box candles, is a popular choice as it holds and distributes scent very well.
The purpose of aromatherapy candles is simple: to stimulate the senses or have a physiological, healing effect.
They go way beyond just being an “aromatherapy stress relief candle”. Depending on which one you pick, essential oils can help create energising environments, help improve memory, and even reduce congestion – which is perfect as winter also equals flu season.
Those are just a few benefits of aromatherapy candles off the top of our heads. Honestly, you would be surprised by how powerful essential oils can be.
While these miracle oils have seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, they are by no means new; in fact, they were first recorded being used in China during the reign of Huang Ti, the legendary Yellow Emperor, between 2697-2597 B.C.E.
That brings us to our next point – just how can aromatherapy help when you’re feeling down?
Using aromatherapy candles for depression can be an incredibly effective tool. But, we should add, if you are seriously struggling with your mental health please reach out to your GP or medical health provider for further support.
They also should not be used to replace a current depression treatment plan without first consulting your doctor. They should really be used as a complementary treatment.
A study conducted by Keville and Green (2009) reports that imbalances of psychological wellbeing such as depression can be improved with the use of scented candles and oils.
The research, which looked at 30 other studies, concluded: “Aromatherapy improves sleep quality and reduces stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in adults and elderly people.”
Scent is a powerful thing because it’s not only linked to mood, it is also closely related to memory. This is due to the olfactory processing system, which distinguishes smell, and takes up some prime real estate: it’s located close to the memory hub in the brain.
Scent-memory recall can be extremely beneficial to health. A study published in 2016 in the journal Brain Science found “odour-evoked memories” can elicit positive emotional states, lower stress AND reduce inflammation, which the study authors said, “is the basis of the majority of disease states and premature death”.
It is important to know what scents you enjoy and which complement your environment. Learn how to choose the perfect scented candle for your home to balance mood and emotions.
So, with all that said, what should you be buying?
Below is a list of the best essential oils when it comes to warding off the winter blues and aiding relaxation:
- Lavender: Aides relaxation and better sleep.
- Ginger: Enhances concentration, soothes stress.
- Bergamot: Increases mood and reduces anxiety.
- Grapefruit: Aides relaxation and balances mood.
- Chamomile: Aides relaxation and better sleep.
- Peppermint: Promotes mental clarity and reduces stress.
- Orange: Alleviates anxiety and boosts mood.
- Rose: Improves mood and relieves anxiety.
- Ylang Ylang: Aides relaxation and soothes inflammation.
- Lemon: Improves mood and soothes anxiety.
Sandalwood: Improves mood and focus.
The ones we’ve bolded are the ones recommended for combating depression, as listed by Healthline.
Also, we should mention, that combining essential oils may also help depression, according to a 2008 study. So, if you come across an aromatherapy candle with two or more of the above scents – you should give it a red hot go.
Encouraging self-care is what Raw Beauty Box is all about. Treat yourself or a loved one today. Give the gift of wellbeing and support.
If you or someone you know is in need of support, please reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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