As the light begins to fade, and the days grow shorter, our energy levels and patience follow suit – often taking our buoyant mood with it. Ever wondered why you feel down when it’s dark when you’re travelling to and from work? You’re not alone.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a recognised condition which is caused by the lack of daylight. It’s simple enough to find the cause and effect. We’re hard-wired to wake up when the sun is up and go to sleep when it’s dark, so when daylight is no longer stimulating your eyes, your body doesn’t receive the necessary chemicals to wake up, so you feel tired and sluggish as you try to force yourself out of bed.

Fortunately, the solution is quite simple; make time to go outside for at least 20 minutes during daylight. Walk to the shops, take your lunch outdoors or just walk round the building (boring I know – but needs must!). You’ll boost your Vitamin D levels, which in turn will boost energy levels both physically and mentally.

On the subject of vitamins, another simple way to boost your mood is to eat specific foods. Winter vegetables actually contain all of the nutrients you need to release the hormones which lift your mood and energy levels. The fruit and veg that grow and flourish during the winter seasons are the exact antidote to the winter lull we experience.

Your sense of smell is directly connected to your moods and feelings via the limbic system in your brain. Choosing the right smells for your environment can help beat the winter blues. Summer smells like zesty orange, refreshing lemon or zingy lime help to lift your mood; relaxing smells like lavender or chamomile can soothe mental stress; while spicy aromas like ginger and cardamom help you feel re-energised. The easiest way to do this is to pop a few drops of bergamot and/or lavender into an oil burner or diffuser and see what a difference it makes to your mood. My De-Stress Essential Oil blend and Body Oil both contain these two oils, providing an effective, natural way to lift your mood.

If SAD does begin to really affect you, then take it a step further by booking yourself in for an aromatherapy massage. A professionally qualified aromatherapist will be able to blend the right oils to help lift your mood, keep you relaxed and boost your energy. Remember, always use an aromatherapist registered with one of the Professional Standards bodies such as CNHC or FHT. This way you can be sure that any medical condition you have will be taken in to account when your blend is being prepared. Because smell is linked to memory, if when you get home you use the same oils used during your massage, your brain will relive the same feelings of calm and relaxation you experienced during your massage – creating your very own Winter Wonderland