Winter can be a difficult season to navigate. Cold mornings and dark evenings leading to a lack of sunlight can really confuse your body’s internal clock and can make you feel downright sad. So much so, there’s even a condition that can be prevalent for many during this time of year. We wrote in our previous article about Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a type of depression that is affected by seasonal changes, causing low mood and a lack of energy. SAD can affect up to three in 100 people in the UK, with many people feeling the effects of SAD during the winter months when there is fading sunlight and colder weather - although sometimes, other individuals can feel their symptoms creep up during spring and summer.
We at Sababa transport ourselves back to those warm ocean breezes in Copacabana or those autumn days in Manhattan when we light our candles, whatever season we’re currently in. The flicker of our candles and the scents they provide take us back to a time of warmth; igniting colourful, bright and happy memories. We believe that even in winter, which can often be the darkest of times, it’s still possible to access your inner light and look forwards. Whether you’re suffering from SAD, or you’re just feeling lower than usual - it’s harder to leave the warm house on colder days - it’s really important to establish how you’re feeling and take little baby steps to help make you feel better. You may not realise it, but there are things you can do to take time out for yourself, mentally refresh and give yourself an extra bit of love. We’re here to show you how.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE?
The word ‘feel’ encapsulates a lot. For some, it can mean physically feeling comfortable, whether that’s throwing on some soft, comfy clothing or even cuddling a fluffy, hot water bottle for warmth. For others it can mean feeling emotionally comfortable, which can be achieved through creating or even simply envisioning a safe space you can return to. Think a tidy room, dim or soft mood lighting and easy music on the ears. Candles have long been used to aid meditation and enhance relaxation, with certain scents stimulating the part of the brain responsible for your emotions and memories. This is often why scents can spark forgotten memories and lift you up. Why not combine both physical and emotional comfort together for a restful night? Sababa encourages your cosiest onesie, a warm ginger tea and the scent of our Cape Town Sundown candle which is our favourite for a more relaxing ambience. To us, Cape Town Sundown is a restful holiday in a candle; the scent reminiscent of the sunsets you’d watch with your fellow travellers abroad combined with the unspoken yet communally understood feeling of inner peacefulness that ensued. A blend of spices, freshly cut green stems, zesty mandarin tea, jasmine, orange blossom and lily of the valley amalgamated with the essence of vanilla, patchouli and musk which mentally transport you to the warm African region; reminding you that whatever has happened that day can be put to bed, ready for you to rise with a new outlook.
PHONES SWITCHED OFF, MENTAL REFRESH SWITCHED ON
Don’t get us wrong, we’re grateful to have the world at our fingertips. Everything being so readily available and accessible can be a useful tool in daily life, but sometimes it can become toxic if not managed correctly. With our phones a constant source of stimulation, it’s vital we take a mental step away from the virtual world and become present in reality. Even if it’s for ten minutes a day, see if you can put your phone in another room and concentrate on something else: a hobby, a book, have a conversation with a friend or just take in the surroundings of whatever place you’re in. It’s amazing how energised you’ll feel by virtually checking out.
GRAB THOSE RAYS
Need a slightly sunnier outlook? Seek out some natural light. It can be hard to rise early when it’s so miserable and cold outside BUT it’s really important to get a dose of vitamin D if you can. Sunlight can help you feel a little lighter (mind the pun) and help to refresh your mindset. Fresh air is also good and now that it’s getting dark early, going out in daylight is even more important, even if it’s for a ten minute walk around the block in the crisp, morning air.
If you’re someone who benefits from physical touch, then look into booking a massage. When you feel low, anxious or lonely, having someone touch you can bring you into more of a relaxed state. Studies have shown that after a massage, serotonin levels increase and our stress hormone levels (otherwise known as cortisol) decrease, and if the evidence says we need a massage to destress, we’re not going to argue with it.
SALT CRYSTAL LAMPS
If you’re struggling with the harsh light of your bulbs and prefer a dimmer light alongside your candles, then we recommend purchasing a Salt Crystal Lamp. There’s evidence both supporting and negating the fact that these types of lamps change the charge in the air, producing ions that can be beneficial to your health, but we simply enjoy the warm, calming glow the lamp emits, that aid our relaxation routine. When combined with putting your phone away and meditation practice, you’ve got the perfect night planned.
BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR BREATH
Meditation; conscious breathing; grounding exercises. Three activities that can help you de-stress, mentally refresh and stay present-focused. When our mind is occupied, it can start to overthink; transporting us to undesired places and producing anxious or depressed feelings. By taking time to focus on our breathing and becoming more conscious of our environment, we can slow down a beating heart rate when in distress. If you’re not sure where to begin with meditation, downloading a simple app like Headspace can help ease you into the practise and you can start monitoring your development through it. Sleepcasts for the team at Sababa have been particularly helpful.
What do you do to mentally refresh during winter? Let us know in the comments.