When the days get darker and the sun feels weaker even when it is out, winter can be quite a draining time for a lot of people. We’re just heading into the cooler months now and once daylight savings end, it can feel like a long haul slog back to the sunnier months. Whether you just experience the odd touch of the “winter blues” or struggle with SAD, there are a few ways you can help support your system through it. There’s also a few ways you can make your home a healthier place as well as supporting your immune system to help you avoid getting sick in the first place.
Winter and the Common Complaints
In winter, your mental and physical health can suffer for a few different reasons. Physically, you’re more likely to pick up a cold or flu bug in the cooler months while mentally plenty of people notice those “winter blues” when the sun isn’t around.
Colds and the flu
- Why are they more prevalent in winter? You’re inside more and in closer proximity to other people meaning anyone that’s near you that’s unwell has more chance of passing it on. Getting less sunlight can also compromise your immunity. A combination of dry and cold environments make it easier for the flu virus to spread too⁽¹⁾.
- Common remedies for cold and flu? Unfortunately, there’s not a great deal you can do once you’re sick with a cold or flu. They’re both viral which means antibiotics won’t help so rest, a lot of fluids and staying warm will help. The best thing you can do when it comes to flu season is to do your best to avoid getting sick in the first place.
Low mood and SAD
- SAD stands for seasonal affective disorder. While the exact causes aren’t known, it generally seems to be more common in winter. The symptoms range from low mood, enjoying your usual activities less and feelings of irritability. It can have a physiological effect including an increased appetite and greater need for sleep and leaving you feeling lethargic during the day⁽²⁾.
- The theories behind why some people suffer from SAD relate mostly to sunlight. Lower levels of sunlight can result in lower serotonin levels which affect mood. They can also affect your melatonin levels. Too much melatonin can make you feel sleepy and more lethargic. Essentially, lower levels of light can upset your body’s natural rhythm making it difficult to feel fully awake and energetic.
- Common remedies often include getting more sunlight (where possible) and if sunlight isn’t available, light therapy might be used too. In more extreme cases sometimes antidepressants may also be prescribed by a GP.
What World of Hemp Recommend
We like to think there are plenty of ways you can support your mind and body using a more natural approach. Whether you just want to help boost your mood or are looking for immune support, we’ve got a few suggestions that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Bringing the outdoors inside with houseplants
Going from luscious green foliage everywhere to bare trees outside can make everything feel a bit lifeless. If you’re living in a highly built-up residential area without a lot of green space that feeling can be even more obvious. The simple solution is to bring the outdoors inside with some houseplants. Aside from brightening your space up and bringing some life to it, they have a few added benefits too.
Plants like ivy, aloe vera, peace lilies and snake plants are all great for improving air quality as well as getting more oxygen back into your home. If you’re living in a home that can feel a bit damp, plants will also help remove some extra moisture from the air too. Aside from that - having greenery indoors is always a mood boost and house plants are a low maintenance way to enjoy nature in the darker months.
CBD for immune and mood support
Your endocannabinoid system has cannabinoid receptors spread throughout your brain, gut, immune system and nervous system. Supplementing with CBD can support your body’s natural function in a few ways. As far as immune support goes, when CBD enables your body to synthesise its own cannabinoids more easily and can help your body resist those winter colds.
When it comes to mood, there are a few things to consider. Many of the hormones your body produces come from your gut. The brain-gut axis is therefore very important when it comes to your mental well being. When you supplement with CBD, it can maintain a normal and healthy gut balance which in turn regulates hormone production and therefore mood too. Add to that, there are a high number of CB1 receptors in your brain⁽⁴⁾ that are particularly important when it comes to normalising mental wellbeing.
CBD has also been found to help regulate cortisol levels⁽⁵⁾. If stress is more common for you when there’s less sunlight, you may find it helps stabilise feelings of irritability and normalises your sleep patterns. High levels of cortisol can also affect your health and immunity long term, making CBD an option that’ll help neutralise both common winter complaints.
If you’re taking prescription medication already, we’d strongly recommend speaking to your GP before adding CBD to your daily routine.
Incorporate essential oils into your home
There’s a whole myriad of essential oils you can look to year round depending on the effect you’re looking for. Humans have been using aromatherapy for thousands of years - with different fragrances having a stimulating or relaxing effect.
When it comes to stuffy and blocked noses, clarifying options like eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree and lemon can be used in diffusers or diluted in massage oils. If you’re looking for something that’s calming to the senses as well as frazzled nerves, choose something floral and soothing. Our picks would be rose, neroli, ylang ylang or the classic fragrance of lavender. A few drops in the bath is the perfect way to unwind with essential oils. You could also mix a few drops into a carrier oil and apply it to your pulse points. This will mean you’ll get a hint of your oil of choice throughout the day too.
- The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter - hms.harvard.edu
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - nhs.uk
- Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune Axis - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- An introduction to the endogenous cannabinoid system - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone and cortisol in human volunteers - ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
The World of Hemp website contains general information about diet, health, wellbeing and nutrition. This is general information and should be considered as is and not as specific medical advice to treat specific conditions. World of Hemp makes no representations or warranties in relation to the health information on this website and as such you should not rely on this information as an alternative to advice given by a doctor or specialist medical practitioner. Read disclaimer in full.
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