The clocks have gone back in the UK and the nights are well and truly drawing in, so this is my quick natural guide to surviving those darker nights for those of you who (like me) still yearn for summer. This post is admittedly less exciting than Max Brooks Zombie Survival Guide – but I hope it to be more practical in the long term providing there is no Zombie apocalypse.
Caffeine; I really struggle to stay up to a reasonable hour when it is dark and it is actually an hour later than it was yesterday at the same time – daylight saving is completely barking mad, so I will have a cup of tea/coffee later than I would normally, but even better, if you have any Matcha, try drinking a cup around 6pm, this should give you a caffeine boost enough to keep you out of bed until at least 11pm – wild times. Matcha has more caffeine than Tea and it is released slowly over time, so is perfect when you need a sustained, healthy caffeine boost with all the additional benefits of green tea.
Aromatherapy: Bergamot is my ‘go to’ oil for this time of year. Created from the rind of oranges it is warm, spicy and instantly boosts any mood. Pop a few drops into an oil burner or a drop or two direct on your radiators to instantly uplift the room. A bath with a combination of Bergamot and Geranium is also very mood lifting, and will leave you feeling positive and energised. Always go for citrus based oils when you want an energy boost and a general mood up lifter. A few drops of citrus oils also work well when cleaning your house, they cleanse the space and leave your halls smelling clean.
Walking: I believe it is so important when the days become shorter to make the time to get outside, it boosts Vitamin D production, gets your muscles and cardiovascular system working and keeps you in touch with the world. Don’d be put off by the rain, I love walking my dogs in light rain, as I almost always have the park to myself and as long as you wrap up, who cares if you get a bit damp. Look out for fallen branches, beautiful leaves and feathers to bring home.
Candles: Light as many and as often as you can! I keep glass jars to use as tea light holders (they also look lovely with seasonal flowers and foliage grouped together) and also wine bottles are great for holding long traditional candles. You can also pick up old saucers and side plates from charity shops for keeping larger church style candles on. Old cups and saucers also look pretty with a tea light inside – again they are abundant at charity shops.
Eat a Prawn Salad with Chilli: I know it is tempting to stop eating salads in winter, but they are so good for you and with some seasonal adjustments such as shredded cabbage and carrots can still be very tasty. Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be one of the number one triggers of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) so make sure you are eating plenty of prawns, eggs, sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon through the winter and autumn months. Add chilli or a chilli dressing to your salad if you need warning up a bit.
Bach Flower Remedy: Mustard Flower is the one to go for if you just cant shift the winter blues. Dr Bach describes the mustard mood;
“Those who are liable to times of gloom, or even despair, as though a cold dark cloud overshadowed them and hid the light and the joy of life. It may not be possible to give any reason or explanation for such attacks. Under these conditions it is almost impossible to appear happy or cheerful”.
Carve a Pumpkin, Light a Fire, Raise a Glass…..for me there can be no better remedy to survive the darker nights than to embrace them. Mark the seasons, make the most of every celebration with friends and family and take the time to see the beauty of the dark.
Happy Halloween All x
Images are Edmund Dulac and Edward Robert Hughes – Night Time with her Trail of Stars – this hangs at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, it is breathtakingly beautiful in the flesh, if you ever get a chance to see it.