If you feel bogged down by cold and gloomy weather, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (yes, ‘winter blues’ is officially a clinical disorder). Just like its abbreviation, Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a pleasant state to be in. You may be a victim if you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms [1]:
• Moderate to severe depression
• Food cravings
• Lack of focus
• Lethargy and chronic fatigue
• Low immunity levels
• Loss of libido
• Weight gain
• Excessive sleepiness
• Mood swings

SAD is usually triggered by a lack of sunlight and physical activity. The fact that the days are colder and shorter does not help either. No wonder then, many of us would rather spend the day tucked in bed or head for a tropical vacation.
There is no reason however to let the winter gloom get to you and dampen your spirits. Scientific research has shown that people suffering from seasonal depression are relatively more sensitive to smells and respond well to the aromas of essential oils [2].

Here are some oils that are highly effective in restoring the mind-body balance and uplifting the mood:
Bergamot – The fresh, tangy scent has a balancing effect on the mind and calms undesirable emotions like stress, anxiety, sadness and anger. It also restores confidence and energy.
Orange, Mandarin and Lemon – Citrusy scents are known to energize, rejuvenate and uplift – perfect for reviving your zest during cold winter months.
Grapefruit – One of the most versatile and feel-good scents, it is well-known for its natural anti-depressive properties. It also helps is balancing out the hormones.
Clary Sage – This sweet and earthy scent nourishes the soul and induces a feeling of euphoria, self-confidence and inner peace.
Ylang Ylang – A sensual scent that is relaxing and mildly sedative - especially useful if you have been battling stress and mental fatigue.
Jasmine– The exotic floral aroma of Jasmine spreads cheer and freshness. Take a whiff to rev up your energy levels.

Essential oils for Seasonal Affective Disorder may be used in one of the following ways:
Massage – The recommended essential oil is blended with carrier oil and massaged all over the body. The fragrance alleviates feelings of depression while the comfort of human touch evokes confidence and reassurance.
Diffusion– The physical environment is impregnated with the aroma of essential oils for a long-lasting and sustained effect. Use an aromatherapy diffuser: Fill bowl with water, add 5-15 drops of essential oil, light candle and enjoy.
Baths – One of the most important and effective forms of treatment in aromatherapy. Fill bath with warm water, mix a total of 10 drops of essential oils with ½ cup unscented salt. Avoid orange essential oil as it may be irritant in the bath

[1] Aromatherapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by Wendy Gist.Listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 142 - December 2007
[2] 5. Postolache T. Patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder Have Lower Odor Detection Thresholds Than Control Subjects. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 59: 1119-22. 2002.

Author's Bio: 

Born and raised in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, my memories are always related to the scents of my homeland. A professional Aromatherapist since 1994, I received my Complementary Health Education Diploma in Aromatherapy in 1997 from the Kevala Center in the U.K., and advanced my studies in 1998 when I took the International Training Program in Essential Oils at Purdue University in Indiana.
After trying for 4 years to get pregnant, I discovered the therapeutic powers of essential oils that help to balance your hormonal system, detox your body and provide a general sense of well being for your mind, your body and your heart. The result was that after a month of applying a blend of essential oils I got pregnant and during my pregnancy, the birth of my son and his 13 years I have only used essential oils. The result is a healthy child who has never needed antibiotics because he has never had any major infection. This experience has been shared with many audiences on TV and radio as well as in seminars and workshops in North and South America.
Currently, I have formulated Aromandina, my own line of highly therapeutic, sustainable aromatherapy products. http://www.aromandina.com