Finding Joy in Simple Things (Joy in January Project)

A few years ago, I heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (commonly known as SAD) during a time when I myself, seemed to be experiencing symptoms of mild depression with no known cause. My search for answers and a possible solution lead me to discover that SAD is more than just an excuse not to get out of bed on a cold morning.

At the risk of sounding like I am qualified to give you any clinical information, I feel that I need to very briefly establish what SAD actually is, according to the now well-accepted medical theories:

SAD has similar symptoms to depression, except that it tends to occur with seasonal variations. Winter SAD is most common. Those with SAD usually have the following symptoms: appetite change (either craving carbohydrates and sweets, or loss of appetite), lethargy, insomnia, anxiety, and avoiding social interaction.

Research suggests that a lack of light is mainly to blame, which then causes upsets to the body’s bio-rhythm and causes chemical imbalances to occur.

If you’ve ever felt apathetic and blue in winter, but energised in summer, you may have SAD.

Treatment for SAD varies from light therapy to iodised air, medication, vitamin D. But, as you know, I am a perfumer, not a doctor, so my three-day prescription will include happy thoughts, aromatherapy and laughter. And all the side effects of my treatment are positive!

Living in Australia, our winters tend to be very short (around 3 months, and still including plenty of sunshine), so I don’t profess to know what its like to live in an extended period of cold or darkness. But I have had SAD several times in the past, and still have a tendency to feel those symptoms coming on during the darker part of winter.

For me, SAD seemed to lift once I shifted my perspective. I didn’t want winter to beat me into a lonesome corner where life would be all but taken away from me for a period of time. Life is too short to be hibernating for that long. So I began to draw up a list of things to love about winter, and here it is:

  • Spending more time than may be necessary in huge tracksuit pants
  • No-one can see my expanding waistline
  • Hot cocoa with marshmallows
  • Wooly coats
  • Hugging other people wearing big fluffy coats
  • Long soaks in the tub
  • No sunburn
  • Early nights
  • Move nights on the couch
  • Warm fires and heaters blazing
  • Listening to the rain on the roof

 

 

The list of things to love about summer may be way longer, but for everything there is appointed a season, and, if there was no winter, there would also be nothing to love about summer.

Yes, I am sitting here in an air-conditioned office while its sweltering outside, but I am thinking of you, my northern hemisphere friends, and sending you my sunshine. x

 

As part of the Joy in January project, we are offering a 5ml vial of both our Frangipani and Freedom eau de parfums each day. To be in the draw, just post a comment or your story in response to this, or any of the other blogs participating (listed below). Dont forget to include you email and name if you want a chance to win.

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35 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Simple Things (Joy in January Project)

  1. As a fellow SAD sufferer I totally agree! Finding the joy, get moving and remembering like all seasons – it too shall pass!!! Great blog post!x

  2. Your list of things you love about winter made me grin ^^

    Especially: Hugging other people wearing big fluffy coats

    Thank you for helping raise awareness of SAD!

  3. I agree that a conscious effort towards a change in attitude helps to beat the winter blues. Reveling in the feeling of cool air and warm clothes on your skin on those crisp mornings instead of moaning about it really does work, for me anyway.
    I actually like to wear cool and fresh fragrances on such days instead of warming ones.

  4. I would love to add aromatherapy to my light therapy regiment to combat SAD. Thank you for your generosity and please enter me in your drawing.

  5. I like your winter list! I also enjoy time spent reading with an enormous and furry cat on my lap. 🙂 Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity.

  6. Hi Liz,

    I love your list of things to love about winter! Great idea-positivity :)! It does help you appreciate all seasons that way. Thanks for spreading the joy!
    Charna

  7. OK, I agree with your entire list except I don’t get the rain on the roof because I live in an apartment building. We just had movie night last night. I do love a good warm snuggle on the couch when it’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside! Brrrrrr!!! Thank you for the draw!

  8. Actually, winter is my favorite season; i have fairly bad allergies, and it’s best when plants aren’t busy wind-pollinating. (The allergies make everything worse – I’m more likely to get colds, get tired more easily, am miserable with sniffling and watering eyes, and it makes my unipolar depression worse.) Now I live in California in a place with no hard freezes, which is not ideal, but at least the plants are different enough that i’m only miserable some of the time. =)

  9. With the woodstove burning away, and the frigid days of winter here in the Northeast U.S, I had to get up and make myself one of those yummy hot chocolates like the one you have posted above:) And the thought of your aromatherapy makes me smile:) Glad I found you via Anya… Thanks!

  10. frangipani… that’s the thing! seems there’s enough synthetic pumpkin pie and apple spice scented SCHTUFF during the holidays, we aren’t stepping outside the claustrophobia and constant reminder of the season. now… a whiff of real frangipani, reminding you of spring’s promise… and to inhale deeply; connect.

    thank you for your sunshine, your list of gratitude and the draw!

  11. dear Liz:

    Thanks for participating, and thanks for the laughs! This is a wonderful blogathon, isn’t is? And I’m happy to see you back to blogging.

    xoxo,
    Anya

  12. Love your list — I am also a huge fan of wool, hot cocoa and tea, and curling up near a fire. I think I may have experienced SAD in the past, but the last couple of winters have been much better for me. I think it’s because I took a class that taught me how to be outdoors in winter and be safe! I’ve never enjoyed downhill skiing, so pretty much would spend winters indoors except for when shoveling snow. Not anymore — now I try to hike or snowshoe or cross country ski when we can. And we’ve learned to drive in snow, which is important. It’s really changed my perspective on winters.

  13. Thank you so much for participating in the Joy in January project! And sending the sunshine this way!!

    SAD is a really trying disorder to get through sometimes, especially knowing it is likely to return each year. Fortunately some years have been less severe than others for me. Your suggestions are definitely spot on. I would also highly recommend your Courage Double Cream, its the best of an uplifting citrusy scent with the comforting warm amber that is perfect for winter. I love it!

    With much appreciation,
    Michael S

    • Hoping this winter is a good one for you, Michael. Hope the blogging event has managed to bring you some joy!
      And thanks for your feedback about our Courage Double Cream!

  14. Hello Liz
    Love your list…I also used to live through mild winter months(I am from mauritius) but since I moved to Paris, I resort to light and aroma therapy to help me get throught the harsh cold months here.
    Thanks so much for the draw
    yash

    • Hi Yash. What a climate change for you! That must be a huge change in whether to get used to. I hear that Paris is even more lovely in winter, visually at least! I hope its a good season for you.

  15. As a fellow SAD sufferer, I love your suggestions and list of things to love about winter! Thanks for participating in the Joy in January project and offering the draw; it is an important topic, and a great way for me to find out about other lovely blogs 🙂

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