Oh, the dreary days. Cold, and wet, and dark, and drearrrry!" (Bonus points if you get my 80's cartoon movie reference. Ok fine, it's My Little Pony!)
But some days just ARE dreary. That picture there doesn't quite show it, but it's from a perfectly horrible day, raining and dark and even my snapdragon by my desk is drooping as it gives up on flowering.
So what can you do on such a day? Especially when you're chained to a desk and can't just cozy up on the couch, with book, blanket, and a hot mug of something handy.
First: get outside.
"But, Crazy Lady, it's raining!," you cry.
So what? Do you think you'll melt like the Wicked Witch of the West? Get outside at high noon and get some rain on your face. The number one best thing I ever learned about indoor gardening is that even on a bad day (like today) plants get more light than they would on a sunny day in front of a window. Top-down light is good for us all.
Next is fish oil. Vitamin D has lots of effects, including mood and seasonal resilience. When the Autumnal Equinox hits, I start supplementing with fish oil. Depending on how much I'll be outside that day I take 1500-2000 IU- for me, that's 3-4 capsules. (I also have poor reactions to the season shift, so I supplement up to the full 2000 IU my Naturopath teacher recommended for daily life. Any extra from exposure or diet is a bonus.)
Now, indoor light sources. I don't have a sun lamp, but I do use salt lamps. I have 2 votive holders that grace my living room, and one larger chunk with a night light bulb inside in my bedroom. It's plugged into an IKEA timer so that I wake up to its glow every morning. In addition, I have a cute little one that plugs into a USB outlet on my computer. All these salt lamps provide a warm glow that is helping to positively ionize the air, or so I've read. They make me feel warm and happy for sure.
St. John's Wort and Lemon Balm are classic remedies for seasonal funks. You can take them in many forms. My favorite is a St. John's Wort tincture made by Greenbrier Herbalist Sharon Moncrief (you can contact her directly, or visit Herbiary in Philadelphia or Asheville NC- she doesn't sell online.) It is seriously the darkest, richest SJW tincture I've ever seen, or made.
And 2 summers ago I made a Lemon Balm elixir that is just pure joy- a big jar full of Lemon Balm leaves and a big handful of Lemon Verbena for flavor, 1/4 honey and fill the rest with good brandy. Wowsers.
Dried Lemon Balm and SJW never have the same oomph as fresh, so you're better served to take or make a potion created with the fresh herb, when the sun was high and so was the temperature. In fact, I've heard that St John's Wort flowers at the height of summer to use in the depths of winter.
I also supplement with Vitamin D in Fish Oil from about September through at least April. I currently have Spectrum brand with 500 IU Vitamin D per capsule, and I'll take 3 or 4 a day. Once that bottle runs out, I'm going to try Green Pastures brand- it doesn't have standardized levels of D but it is a fermented product (i.e, good for digestion!) and my teachers have talked about it often and positively, so that's next on my list.
Sometimes dreary just means cold to me. Any tea with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom- all the good baking spices- help me too. Mulled apple cider, Chai, Tazo's Lemongrass Ginger, or a cup of dried ginger that has been simmered about 20 minutes so it's super-crazy strong are my go-to's. I just read about doing the same long simmer with a couple of cinnamon sticks instead, and I can't wait to try that.
My final suggestion is to move. Get up out of the chair, get away from the cold, blue light computer screens put out, and move around. Walk around the building, go someplace quiet with your headphones and have a little impromptu mini dance party by yourself, touch your toes and lift your knees. When the weather is stagnant, wet and torpid and miserable, the same is exacerbated in you. Shake things up and change your own personal environment!