Winter Worries


Winter can be very daunting for some and deep dark fears can be ignited by seemingly common occurrences. Will I get snowed in? What if I slip and fall? How long will the power be out? Why am I so depressed? All these little nagging unconscious thoughts that creep in during the dark snowy winter months… So let’s look at some of these stressors.

I don’t know about you, but after a winter of 50+ inches of snow in Charlottesville, the minute I hear the weatherman say ‘flurries’ I go into a panic mode. I think we all may have been a little traumatized by the sheer amount of snow last year and many suffered because of it. I heard stories of people getting stuck in the first snowstorm, having to abandon their cars and walk for miles in blizzard conditions just to reach safety. Man, that’s got to affect you on a deep level… I mean, come on, this is Charlottesville – we’re not supposed to get that much snow!!! Anyway, all I’m saying is that the thought of snow can paralyze people into canceling all their activities, going to the store and buying out all the milk and bread on the shelves, then hunkering down waiting to get stuck inside for days. Of course because this is Charlottesville, inevitably the weathermen get the forecast all wrong and we usually end up with nothing at all (except an excess of milk and bread)… But the fear is there anyway. So what can we do? Essential oils to the rescue!

Because in the south we are not used to driving in snow, the thought of getting behind a wheel when the white stuff is descending can quake us to the point of erratic behavior. A normally sensible driver will overcompensate in snow, stomping too hard on the break or overcorrecting the wheel in a spin. It’s not because we are bad drivers, we just let fear take over and numb our brains. Carrying Bach Flower Rescue Remedy in the glove compartment and taking a few drops before driving can calm the nerves. Also having a bottle of peppermint, rosemary or lemon essential oil in your hold-all and sniffing it before driving can ease nervousness since these oils enable the body to relax while keeping the brain alert. Deep breathing helps hypertension behind the wheel so having these essential oils in nose range will allow the aroma to go directly up to the brain and into the limbic system for instant relief.

Another winter worry is the fear of falling on slippery surfaces. We often walk with an unnatural gait when there is snow or ice on the ground. Instead of striding out confidently, we tend to take smaller, well placed steps, almost testing the surface before committing a foot to it. This sets up ambulatory misalignments and compensations in the muscles, which can lead to achy stiff joints. Getting a massage can do wonders for over-tense muscle patterns, especially with essential oils mixed in the massage lotion. Some good muscle releasing oils are birch, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper, lavender, lemon, black pepper or rosemary. Essential oils can also be placed mixed in bath salts for a relaxing and rejuvenating bath for sore and stiff muscles. Oils for bath salts include tea tree, lavender, juniper, elemi, chamomile, grapefruit and geranium.

No matter how careful you step, there are the inevitable slips and crashes onto the ground. Bruised and embarrassed, we are often too quick to get up and pretend nothing’s wrong. But sometimes, a moment’s reflection inwardly of what happened, checking out where the pain is, can stop possible further injury. The best remedy for trauma and bruising is arnica, whether in homeopathic form or in massage oil and the sooner it is taken or applied, the quicker the body has a chance of healing. Other essential oils that can be added to the arnica oil include helichrysum, cypress, mugwort, rosemary, sage, juniper and vetiver. These essentials work to break up clotting and stagnation and release trauma from the tissue.

Along with the snow come the inevitable sniffles and cold/flu symptoms. I’ve written about this before, so briefly, the best oils to use in a gargle are *tea tree, sage, eucalyptus, garlic and ginger*. If the cold has progressed to chills with a fever, the best oils to reduce the fever are *chamomile, black pepper, peppermint, hyssop, lemon and tea tree*. Some recommended oils for congestion are sandalwood, eucalyptus, cedarwood, peppermint, rosemary, frankincense and hyssop.

Last year there was a lot of “cabin fever” going around. Because of the length of time there was snow on the ground, so many regular outdoor activities had to be curtailed. Housebound ennui set in and tempers seemed to be a bit more on edge. Depression also was more apparent because of the lack of exercise due to confinement inside the house. Essential oils that are good at relieving depression are basil, bergamot, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, jasmine, lavender, melissa, neroli, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, and ylang ylang.

Snow shoveling became a regular necessity last year and too often the muscles became over-worked and sore. For tired overused muscles, the best way to apply essential oils is through massage. Up to 6 drops of essential oils in a carrier oil can be rubbed onto the sore, achy places and then covered with a heating pad or warmed towels. The best oils for massaging stiff sore areas are tea tree, eucalyptus, ginger, black pepper, rosemary, cypress and lavender. As mentioned above, you can also soak in a warm bath of essential oils in bath salts to relieve the pain and stiffness that comes with shoveling snow.

This winter we can all hope that if there is snow, it doesn’t cause pain or hardship to our bodies. But if it does, there are always the healing properties of the essential oils to help us.