Plant Therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder
“Just because our Alberta winters are famously bitter doesn’t mean that you need to be.”
Winter. There’s a reason why folks call it bleak. Despite all the holiday festivities and winter activities, winter can actually induce depression in around 2 million Canadians every year! In fact, 10% of all depression cases are attributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D. So with stats like that, what are we poor Canucks to do?
Seasonal Affective Disorder
It’s no surprise that cold weather leads us to stay indoors more often than during the sunny summer months – it’s not like there are pool parties to attend or softball games to take part in. This reduction in sunlight exposure and physical activity are both major contributing factors to this condition. Without precious Vitamin D found in sun rays to keep our serotonin and melatonin levels up, our everyday functions begin to suffer, like sleep, appetite, energy, and mood. Common symptoms are:
– Increased sleep or insomnia
– Decreased motivation
– Frequent crying and heightened stress
– Anxiety and social withdrawal
– Sadness and guilt
– Increased appetite and weight gain
Sure, you can go for common remedies, like light therapy, exercise, psychotherapy, vitamin supplements, and antidepressant medication, to combat these effects, but not all treatments work for everyone and some can be pretty bank-breaking. Recently, though, research has shown the benefits of a new, inexpensive therapeutic treatment that can have pronounced effects on your mood in the winter months – and lucky for you, it’s an excuse to bring home some more plant pals.
It’s simple: surround yourself with a mix of bright and beautiful plants and take pleasure in the practice of tending to your indoor garden. That’s it!
The benefits of keeping plants in your home are plentiful. Not only are they pleasing to the eye, but many plants, such as Spider Plants, Peace Lilies, and Devil’s Ivy, are also very effective air purifiers, keeping your home environment fresh and invigorating. By surrounding yourself with beautiful greenery and engaging in the meditative practice of caring for plants, you can help combat depression during those cold, grey winter months safely and naturally!
Plant Therapy: How-To
S.A.D can make it difficult to be productive, so having a workspace full of lush, vibrant plants can help transform your environment into a bright, summer-esque retreat. Curate a lovely variety of hanging planters and potted plants, and set them up in a sunny corner of your living and working spaces to add a little vitality and freshness. You’ll be amazed at the difference colourful blossoms and pops of green can make in your home!
If sunlight is limited in your home, or there just aren’t enough sunny hours in the day, there are many plants that can still thrive in low-light. Consider picking out some Snake Plants, Philodendrons, Pothos, Ivy, Rex Begonias, and Anthurium. They’ll brighten your home and brighten your mood, as well.
If you’re worried about your black thumb interceding on your therapy, essential oils derived from a variety of plants can also have major mood-enhancing effects. All you’ll need is a simple diffuser filled with water and a few drops of the plant oils of your choosing to bring a fresh, invigorating scent into your home, while also triggering an increase in your brain’s production of serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Some popular oils that can help S.A.D are:
– Bergamot: for lifting your spirits and brightening your mood
– Frankincense: for calming the mind and increasing your ability to focus
– Lavender: for easing tension and helping you relax
– Basil: for soothing tension in the body and mind
– Citrus blends: for increasing energy and motivation
Just because our Alberta winters are famously bitter doesn’t mean that you need to be. If the season’s weighing you down, pick yourself back up again with some new plant pals to boost your mood and your mind all winter long!