Does the rain bring you down? Does it make you more grumpy? The lack of sunshine affects some people more than others. Shortened days and colder temperatures in the fall and winter bring most people indoors. Only with the light of spring do they recover from the winter blues.
Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) affects people who are extremely sensitive to winter’s increased melatonin secretions and lack of sunshine. This phenomenon of recurrent fall/winter depression affects most people to some extent, however mildly. The full-blown syndrome affects 5-10 percent of the public. A milder variation afflicts three times as many. People in northern climates experience more SAD than others living in southern exposures. Individuals prone to recurrent fall/winter depression are also hit by SAD.
Symptoms of SAD include lethargy, irritability, loss of libido and self-esteem, mood changes and overeating. Symptoms of SAD are consistent with animal hibernation: A big appetite, a craving for carbohydrates, weight gain, oversleeping and fatigue. SAD sufferers begin to notice symptoms in early autumn, reaching a low in mid-winter with the first rays of spring sun bringing a relief from the winter gloom. Sufferers typically oversleep in the morning and experience weight gain from cravings for sweets and other carbohydrates, especially at night. Statistics illustrate that the majority of SAD sufferers are pre-menopausal women. SAD intensifies during the pre-menstrual phase due to an increased susceptibility to hormonal fluctuations.
Secretions of the hormone melatonin appear to be particularly important in depression and SAD. The pineal glad (third eye chakra) secretes this hormone which usually rises at night and subsides at dawn. The pineal gland helps regulate hibernation, activity levels and sexual and reproductive cycles. As nights grow longer during fall and winter, we secrete more melatonin, which has the effect of slowing us down. When daytime hours lengthen in the spring and summer, melatonin secretions decrease, resulting in raised energy levels.
Some experts believe that because of our heightened melatonin secretions individuals slow down, have less energy, and need more rest in the wintertime, much like hibernating animals do. Most people manage to adjust to those increased melatonin secretions. SAD occurs when the seasonal slowdown begins to interfere with this internal adjustment. Some people display the opposite effect in summer by booming overactive and over energized. ]
If darkness is a problem, SAD flower essences can provide natural relief. Flower essences can b used to provide relief form the symptoms of SAD. Flower essences are natural supplements for health and healing. They contain vibrational energetic patterns of plant energy. There are no aromas to flower essences, and except for alcohol or vegetable glycerin preservative, there is no taste. They are different from homeopathics which are based on the law of similar-like cures like. Also, they are made from fresh blossom only and by solar infusion or boiling. Herbal remedies, on the other hand, are made from many plant parts and by a number of methods. Flower essences may create shifts in emotional or mental traits and shifts in physical wellness. The essences have a reputation of being highly effective, nontoxic and safe to use.
There is physical evidence that there are energetic patterns in the flowers. Each species of flowers has a distinct imprint pattern that can be transmitted and stored in water. Kirilian photographs of essence drops reveal unique and colorful electromagnetic patterns. These patterns contained within the essences are powerful supplements for shifting thought patterns and attitudes. Flower essences balance and integrate polarities within the individual.
A dosage bottle is made by placing selected flower essences in one an ounce bottle of pure water and 3 tablespoons of preservative. The essences are taken under the tongue, four drops, four times a day. Misting bottles can also be used to dispense flower essences.
If you are a sufferer of SAD and are forced to spend a great deal of time indoors, it might be worth investigating flower essences. As a mild sufferer of SA, I found flower essences and phototherapy helpful in relieving symptoms. The following essences are manufactured by the Flower Essence Society (FES) and Bach Flowers (BF). Both are available at many health food stores.

Saint Johns Wort (FES) – sensitivity or over-receptive to the effects of light, helpful for those deprived of light, assist the soul in circulating light through the body and into the earth.

Mustard (BF) – helps to lift the depression which descends, drifting over you like a dark cloud. Inability to cope with daily affairs; depressed state, feeling overwhelmed by a ‘black cloud’ for unknown reasons, wide mood swings.

Morning Glory (FES) – difficulty arising in the morning, erratic sleeping and eating patterns which harm natural vitality.

Chamomile (FES) – for inner weather that is moody and easily clouded until one shifts their consciousness to remember that the sun is always shining serenely behind outer phenomena. It is helpful in stabilizing emotions, calming and soothing.

Sunflower (FES) – brings to the soul the qualities of light and warmth.

Of course there is another more enjoyable way to beat the winter blues – spending some time in a sunny place. If circumstances don’t permit spending a winter vacation near the equator, try another form of SAD treatment, flower essences. Fresh air, exercise, and full spectrum lighting are other ways of coping with SAD.
Our lives are structured by cycles and rhythm-daily, monthly, seasonal, and yearly. The 24 hour day provides a cycle in which we engage in sleeping, eating, working and socializing. Our daily rhythms are driven by the environment, but also by our pineal gland. SAD is often the result of increased melatonin secretions, and flower essences can assist you in stabilizing the emotional and physical effects of light sensitivity.

Author's Bio: 

Karen Hansen, PhD, LMHC
(425) 361-3908
Karen is a licensed psychotherapist and certified flower essence practitioner.