Finding Joy in Simple Things (Joy in January Project)

January 16, 2012

A few years ago, I heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (commonly known as SAD) during a time when I myself, seemed to be experiencing symptoms of mild depression with no known cause. My search for answers and a possible solution lead me to discover that SAD is more than just an excuse not to get out of bed on a cold morning.

At the risk of sounding like I am qualified to give you any clinical information, I feel that I need to very briefly establish what SAD actually is, according to the now well-accepted medical theories:

SAD has similar symptoms to depression, except that it tends to occur with seasonal variations. Winter SAD is most common. Those with SAD usually have the following symptoms: appetite change (either craving carbohydrates and sweets, or loss of appetite), lethargy, insomnia, anxiety, and avoiding social interaction.

Research suggests that a lack of light is mainly to blame, which then causes upsets to the body’s bio-rhythm and causes chemical imbalances to occur.

If you’ve ever felt apathetic and blue in winter, but energised in summer, you may have SAD.

Treatment for SAD varies from light therapy to iodised air, medication, vitamin D. But, as you know, I am a perfumer, not a doctor, so my three-day prescription will include happy thoughts, aromatherapy and laughter. And all the side effects of my treatment are positive!

Living in Australia, our winters tend to be very short (around 3 months, and still including plenty of sunshine), so I don’t profess to know what its like to live in an extended period of cold or darkness. But I have had SAD several times in the past, and still have a tendency to feel those symptoms coming on during the darker part of winter.

For me, SAD seemed to lift once I shifted my perspective. I didn’t want winter to beat me into a lonesome corner where life would be all but taken away from me for a period of time. Life is too short to be hibernating for that long. So I began to draw up a list of things to love about winter, and here it is:

  • Spending more time than may be necessary in huge tracksuit pants
  • No-one can see my expanding waistline
  • Hot cocoa with marshmallows
  • Wooly coats
  • Hugging other people wearing big fluffy coats
  • Long soaks in the tub
  • No sunburn
  • Early nights
  • Move nights on the couch
  • Warm fires and heaters blazing
  • Listening to the rain on the roof



The list of things to love about summer may be way longer, but for everything there is appointed a season, and, if there was no winter, there would also be nothing to love about summer.

Yes, I am sitting here in an air-conditioned office while its sweltering outside, but I am thinking of you, my northern hemisphere friends, and sending you my sunshine. x


As part of the Joy in January project, we are offering a 5ml vial of both our Frangipani and Freedom eau de parfums each day. To be in the draw, just post a comment or your story in response to this, or any of the other blogs participating (listed below). Dont forget to include you email and name if you want a chance to win.

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