• Renee Boje

Turn Winter Blues into Winter Bliss



Many of us get the blues from time to time and sometimes depression enters our lives without warning and can stick around longer than we want or even had anticipated. Some of us even suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder, a seasonal condition of depression and lethargy which occurs during the darker times of the year... primarily Autumn and Winter. Seasonal Affect Disorder is a biochemical imbalance in the brain that is triggered by shorter hours of sunlight or daylight and less sunlight in Autumn and Winter.


I have always believed it takes a warrior to be happy in this life, especially for those of us who are more sensitive creative beings. What I mean by this is that if happiness is what you seek or desire then sometimes you must be pro-active to achieve this state of being.


The good news is there are things that we can do to take action and turn our winter blues into winter bliss! Most of the tips I will be sharing in this blog entry will help lift your mood anytime of the year!


Before I get into all of the tips I want to share with you that will help you to shift your mood into a brighter place, I want to share some exciting news with you! I have just created a brand new Bliss Elixir which has been helping to lift my spirits and put a spring in my step this Winter! I am so happy to be able to share this with all of my friends, loved one's and with my online community. I also want to offer this elixir at a discounted rate for anyone who is struggling financially. Please feel free to contact me via email if you are feeling financially challenged and are dealing with depression anxiety or lethargy and want to give this beautiful elixir a try. I am not rich myself, financially speaking.... I am rich in many other ways and am so grateful to be alive and able to experience being a spirit in a human body! Because I know what it is to feel financially challenged, I feel it is important to not allow money to keep people from getting the healing they need to thrive in this world!


So, how do you turn your winter blues into winter bliss? Here are some tips to help you to change your attitude and in tune change your life....


Start your day off right! I love to start my day by adding some cheerful energizing aroma therapy to my diffuser (which I keep by my bed). Any diffuser will do, but in the winter time I love to use the traditional diffusers, with a candle that you light beneath the water, as this incorporates both water and fire into my daily morning ritual. I use beeswax tea-light candles as they are better for our lungs and beeswax has healing properties and such a beautiful scent! There is nothing like Bee Medicine to help buzz you into bliss! I enjoy making my own ceremonial beeswax candles now and soon I will be offering them through my website & Etsy shop!


Here is a list of Aromatherapies to help brighten your mood & put a spring in your step:


Essential Oils that help Brighten your Mood & Inspire you

  • Sweet Orange,

  • Neroli (So yummy!),

  • Grapefruit,

  • Jasmine,

  • Frankincense,

  • Basil,

  • Sandalwood,

  • Lavender

Essential Oils that put a Spring in your step:

  • Sweet Orange,

  • Peppermint,

  • Rosemary,

  • Lemon


Let the Sunshine In!



Even if I am not ready to leave my bed yet, I open my curtains and climb back into bed. Opening my blinds and curtains and letting the healing natural light of the sun in to my room which I find is a good way to both lift my mood and give me the energy I need to start my day. If it is raining do not be discouraged! Any form of natural light has proven to be healing. Studies have shown that exposing ourselves to sunshine for 20 to 30 minutes a day can help heal depression. Our bodies need Vitamin D, which the sun provides naturally. Vitamin D helps to boost our immunity as well and has countless advantages.


And remember rain is a beautiful blessing! It helps the flowers, herbs & food to grow, nourishes the soil & all of life. Over 60% of human adult bodies are made of water! Sometimes changing our perspective about things can really help improve our mood. Mind over matter really does work as does shifting into an attitude of gratitude. Instead of cursing the rain, try thanking the rain. Maybe you are not in the mood to appreciate all of the wonderful things that rain does for this earth. Perhaps you can just look out your window and see the rain in a different way appreciating it's beauty or the way that it sounds. Sometimes we must think out of the box to reprogram our minds or to get ourselves out of a negative perspective or slump that we may find ourselves in.


It is also extremely helpful to let some oxygen into your room by opening your window and letting the fresh air flow in to your space. Prana is a magical life force energy that pulses through all of nature and also flows in and around the body. Each time we take a breath out we allow for fresh prana to enter into our body. This is why breathing excercises can bring positive results to our overall well being. Prana exists in all of nature. Without nature there would be no prana and life would cease to exist. Letting the fresh air into your room and in turn your lungs will help increase your own prana, with little effort. Prana also gives us energy and helps us to raise our endorphins and experience blissful states of being. it promotes longevity, boosts our immune system, prevents senility..... the benefits are endless. I know a man who cured himself of cancer simply by hugging trees and breathing in the prana they provide.


Meditate & Stretch your way out of bed:



If you are having trouble feeling motivated to even leave your bed in the morning, try meditating.


"Transcendental

Meditation (meditation)

Speaks of inner (speaks of)

Preservation (inner preservation)

Transcendental meditation gives you peace of mind

(Peace of mind)" -Stevie Wonder


Meditation can be done anytime anywhere in any posture. Often people feel blocked from practicing meditation when they are feeling lazy or lethargic. If you are feeling this way, try a more lazy method of meditation which can be done in the comfort of your own bed. There are so many forms of meditation. I recommend exploring different modalities to find what works best for you. Meditation can be as simple as concentrating on your breath or repeating a mantra, which can be beneficial for a busy mind. The purpose of meditation is to detach from our bodies, minds and emotions in order to transcend to a heightened level of spiritual awareness.


Stretching can also be very simple and easy. I like to follow my bodies own inner intelligence to move and stretch in ways that are best for my body in any given moment. In the morning, I find this type of stretching to be the easiest to engage in as I am allowing my body to do what it wants to do to feel better. Our bodies have an innate intelligence. If you start to move your body in subtle ways you will notice different parts of your body that may feel tense or even painful. Allow your subtle movements to naturally lead into stretches that bring release to these areas. Stretching can actually raise our endorphins helping us to feel happier and more ready to face the day. This is also a way to start your day with some self care which is always beneficial for our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits! Sometimes my morning stretches lead to morning yoga.... on a good day! Then I simply spread a blanket out next to my bed and begin my yoga routine. There are so many forms of yoga and again it is best to explore and find what is right for you.


Eat a healthy breakfast:


Breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day! Self care can be as simple as eating a nourishing breakfast. When our bodies are filled with nutritious food this enhances our well being and effects our mood in a positive way. Our brains are interconnected with our bodies. I recommend making a healthy choice for your brain and your emotions by eating a well balanced breakfast. We are all so different and so I recommend giving your body what's right for you. And if you need some inspiration search online as there are many good suggestions for a healthy breakfast out there in the interwonderland! I made up a new word! LOL!


Now that we have covered some tips on a healthy way to start your day, I want to offer some other tips which can be done at anytime day or night and will also help you to turn your Winter Blues into Winter Bliss!


Dance your way to Bliss!


The habit of regular exercise or outdoor physical activity like hiking has shown to be effective in the management of depression and anxiety. I recommend you do physical activity that is right for you, that makes you feel good and that uplifts your spirit!


I love to dance and find that dancing lifts my mood significantly, inspires me, helps connect me with the divine and can shift my whole being into a better place. If you also love dancing I recommend taking some time each day to turn on your favourite tunes and dance dance dance!


Music is Medicine for the Soul!


There are many ways that you can incorporate music into your daily routine. One of the simplest ways is to find some time each day to play some uplifting music or any music that makes you feel happy. I rarely advertise for things and am not into doing that for monetary gain as it does not sit right with me. Know that if I recommend something to you it comes from my heart! With that, I would love to share with you one of my go to's for music which is:


https://www.kcrw.com/


KCRW is a public radio channel based in Santa Monica California. They rely on donations to sustain themselves and the DJ's for the music shows are given the instruction to play what they love, which is truly refreshing! There are a number of different shows to choose from with an assortment of musical genres. I love to listen to the various shows on this station as I often hear new music that has just come out and music that I normally would not be exposed to. I live, in Canada and while I love Canada with all my heart I have always felt we are musically deprived when it comes to what is played on the radio here. I have been listening to KCRW since I was in High School & highly recommend checking them out!


Singing & Playing an instrument Raises your Vibration!


Singing is another way to raise our vibration to a higher frequency. Opening the throat chakra is also a way to raise our endorphins, empower ourselves, move energy and clear blockages. I am just naming a few positive results of incorporating singing into your life. If you feel shy, find yourself a place you can sing your heart out and nobody will hear you. This also allows you to be truly free with your voice and will in turn be more beneficial for you. I believe we all have the ability to sing, it is an innate ability that we can reclaim for ourselves if necessary. There are plenty of free videos online with tips on how to improve your singing, vocal excercises you can do, etc. You may also want to find a choir to join or hire a singing coach in your area. Those of you who are living on the Sunshine Coast of BC and looking for a singing teacher, please feel free to contact me as I have one that I recommend whole heartedly!


Playing an instrument is another way to raise our vibration to a higher frequency. Believe it or not playing an instrument and even learning a new form of dance can also prevent senility! When we learn and practice a musical instrument or a new form of dance we are using parts of our brain that we don't normally engage. This in turn helps to relieve depression and anxiety and to expand our consciousness which is always a good thing! I am learning the harp at the moment and am working through my own creative blocks in doing so. I have always felt it is good to push myself to get through my own blocks as if I don't do it who will? Whenever I give myself permission to play my harp or practice or take online free lessons I always feel better! Taking the time to do things that are just for you is making a positive healthy choice for yourself and this is a very important tool to shift out of depression. If you do not play an instrument I encourage you to meditate on what instrument you feel the most drawn to and go for it! You can find instruments second hand and at some music stores, you can even rent to own an instrument!


Do at least one thing you love to do everyday!


I recommend doing more than one thing that you love everyday, but I know sometimes that can be hard to accomplish. If you have a busy day then I recommend taking 5 minute self care breaks here and there. You can use these 5 minute breaks doing something that brings you joy! There are many things we have covered that you can take inspiration from or if you feel blocked you can always write a list of the things that bring you into a state of bliss and do those things, even if just for 5 minutes. You will notice a difference! Doing things that we love is a way of showing ourselves love and this is a healthy tool for combating depression.


Creativity will set you free!

Now that we know singing, dancing and learning an instrument are creative outlets which help us to use other parts of our brain we don't normally use, doing anything creative can help you to activate areas of your brain that remain dormant much of the time. Creativity is also a way that we can help ourselves get into a meditative state which can be the perfect remedy for the blues. When our brain is in a more creative meditative space we are allowing ourselves to take a break from our thoughts. When we take a break from our thoughts often we are able to approach things that were causing us stress from a fresh new perspective. Creativity has also been proven to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and even boost our immune system! I love to paint and find whenever I paint I get into a deep meditative state that makes me feel at peace and often blissed out. Painting is a gift that I give to myself when I allow myself to take time to work on a painting. I am so grateful to have discovered this creative outlet as it has given me so many blessings in return!


Water Blessing


Try a ceremonial bath and immerse yourself in healing waters. Taking a ceremonial bath or even shower can really help to shift your mood into a positive place. Water is a healing and nurturing supportive element. I am sure many of you are familiar with Dr. Masaru Emoto's experiments on water, where he demonstrates that water responds to human emotions.


We can actually infuse our bath water with healing energy before entering or while immersing in it. As we are made primarily of water, the water in our body will also be infused with healing energy simultaneously. I love to light beeswax candles (Bee medicine has blissful properties) and take a bath with some salts, herbs or flowers. Sometimes I even add oils to my bath to help nourish my skin. I also love to play some relaxing uplifting music and just relax and soak in all of the good vibes I have created for myself. During almost all of my baths I offer gratitude to the water element for healing my body, heart, mind and spirit and I ask for the water to help purify me on all levels.


At the end of my bath I always thank the water for the healing that it provided and rinse my body from head to toe with very cold water as this helps to improve our circulation, gives us energy and is good for us on multiple levels! This way I also find that after my bath I am relaxed but not drained. A lazy way to accomplish this, if you really don't like the shocking cold shower method, is to use a hand held shower nozzle and just do one part of your body at a time starting with the top of your head and working your way down taking breaks as needed. I have some beautiful bath salts available on my site, if you are interested, but you may also make your own blend quite easily if you wish.


If you do not have a bath you can take a ceremonial shower using a healing salt scrub and nourishing oils during or after your shower.


Anointing Ritual


Anointing your body with healing oils can help raise your vibration and offer your body and heart protection and nourishment. I offer two Heavenly Massage Oils, but olive oil, coconut oil or any topical oil will also work just fine.


Fire is a healing & purifying element!


Like all the elements, fire is sacred and connecting with fire can help to bring healing and purification into your being on all levels. In the winter time sitting by a fire can help you to feel warmer and uplift your mood and your spirit. If you do not have a fireplace in your home and are unable to light a fire safely and effectively in your yard, you may connect with the element of fire by lighting a candle or even multiple candles. If you offer your gratitude to the element of fire as you light your candle or your fire, the fire will respond to you with supportive energy. I believe that, like all of the elements, fire has a spirit and when we acknowledge this spirit in a respectful or even reverent way, fire can be an ally for us. I have had the pleasure of attending some healing ceremonies where I connected with the element of fire in a profound way and it brought deep transformative healing to me on a soul level. I am eternally grateful for the energy of fire and all of the elements as each element has supported me in various ways throughout my lifetime.


Mother Earth is always there to offer us her Love & Support!


Mother Earth is a powerful healer and she supports us in countless ways! To boost your mood, try going outside at least once a day and offering Mother Earth your gratitude. She will respond by giving your prana (which we covered earlier) and your body and spirit will feel more energized which in turn will boost your mood almost immediately. Connecting with nature is something that most therapists recommend to people who are feeling depressed. Nature offers us so much beauty while reducing our stress levels and offering us comfort and even emotional support. As we tune in with the element of nature, we immediately shift our attention toward something that is truly magical and inspiring! I love to walk barefoot on the earth to help ground myself when I am feeling ungrounded. In the winter time I love to make snow angels as this brings me back to my childhood and feelings of nostalgia always lift my spirit and open my heart to the magic that exists in all of life! There are countless ways to commune with and offer your gratitude to nature. Give it a try! You will be glad that you did!


Water is an Angelic Force!


As we covered earlier the element of water is extremely healing and beneficial to our well being. I covered some ways to connect with water above and also wanted to mention that aside from connecting with water through taking a ceremonial bath or shower you can also add some water to a glass or clay bowl or large shell or other vessel and infuse it with your gratitude and ask the holy water to heal you and your home or temple. You can do this by using a diffuser as well or putting a fountain in your home, which also helps to clear energy and attract the energy of abundance in your home as well as creating more prana in the surrounding area. I love to add salt to my water or essential oils to infuse it with added blessings and benefits. I also love to collect river and sea water to use in my home for the purposes listed above as this is a wonderful tool to clear my crystals and stones and makes a heavenly addition to my baths as well infusing the sacred waters of the river or sea into my bath. When I collect river or sea water I always offer my gratitude first to the holy waters through a song or a prayer and an offering of flowers, herbs or crystals... anything that is safe and beneficial to add to the water and all life within and surrounding it. Then I collect the waters and thank the waters as I collect it.


Connect with your Angels...


I believe we all have angels that we can connect with for guidance and support in this life. A wise woman and friend once shared with me that angels and spiritual guides follow spiritual law and that in order for these magical beings to be able to assist us we must first ask for their support. On a personal level I know that when I have taken the time to connect with, honour and even make offerings of gratitude to my angels, magic always happens in my life and my prayers are often answered in unexpected ways.


This may not resonate with you and that is OK as I feel we all have the right to believe what we feel is best for us. I share my own beliefs with you in humility and do not profess to know more than you or anyone else for that matter. My beliefs are my own and I have them because of my own life experiences.


I also believe that there are angelic beings which exist in nature and that when we connect with nature, we also have the ability to connect with the divine.


You must choose what is sacred to you and connect with that in a way that feels right for you.


Whatever you choose I want to share that connecting with the divine in some way shape or form and asking for help can bring positive results to your life and your overall sense of well being. Connecting with the sacred is a powerful way to help bring you out of depression. Spiritual connection brings us hope and inspiration and helps to show us that there is more to life than meets the eye! I encourage you to tap into the mystery and the unseen magic that exists all around us in every moment! I believe we are never truly alone as we have a multitude of angels who support us in this life and in the eternal.


An attitude of Gratitude can change your life!


Studies have shown that feeling grateful helps to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, shifts your brain from a negative place into a positive place and replaces negative though patterns with positive thought patterns.


It can feel like a challenge to be grateful when you have the blues, so start off by simply making a list of the simple things you feel grateful for and then go from there. You can be grateful for something as simple as the good food that you put in your body, the cozy bed that you sleep in, the fact that you have clothes to wear, or a roof over your head, etc. One homeless friend of mine who is a positive soul said he is grateful for all the little things, like the sun coming up each day and the flowers that bloom in the spring, etc. A gratitude journal can be a helpful tool if you are the journal writing type. But if not, just simply create a list to get yourself started. Once your brain switches into a place of gratitude you will start to feel better and believe it or not being grateful actually attracts abundance into our lives as it lifts our vibration and shows the universe that we are grateful and the universe often responds kindly to gratitude. When we practice gratitude our brain tells our body that we are feeling good and in turn our body responds positively, our immune system experiences a boost giving us more energy and sending signals back to our brain that are positive. It is a win win practice! I have lifted myself out of deep depression by using this technique so I know that it works. I also found that when I am feeling grateful I attract more loving and supportive energy into my life. I also want to add that even if you don't feel it at first, just saying I am grateful works like magic! Try it and see how quickly your heart responds to these 3 words!


Embrace the seasons and they will embrace you!


In 1998 I moved from sunny California to Canada. I was born In New York and spent some time as a child in Illinois, so I am no stranger to harsh cold winters. I moved to California when I was about 13 and had the pleasure of going to High School, College and University there and then moving to Canada. It took some time for me to get used to the seasons here, but, I have always had the philosophy if there is something in your life you cannot change then find a way to embrace it. So that is exactly what I did and do you know what? It worked, like magic!


I began by honouring the changes of each season in a spiritual way by holding and or participating in ceremonies that offered gratitude for the new season ahead. There are many ceremonies, from a variety of traditions out there that you can use for inspiration if you feel so inclined. I recommend choosing one that resonates with you and you may even like to change it up every season and try a new ceremony to honour and celebrate. There are so many lovely traditions that honour the change of the seasons out there, it can be hard to choose, but whatever you choose, make sure you feel a connection to it.


I also researched the ways to integrate each season on a spiritual level. There is much information I could share here so I will do a separate blog on this subject and go over some of the basics here as we covered a lot of ground already in this blog entry.


Summer is a season that is energizing, full of life force and a time that humans are naturally more social, so I love to get out and enjoy the sunshine (while I can) and celebrate life with my friends and loved one's.


Fall is the season of the harvest and one of my favourite times of the year as it is when the veils between the worlds are thin and we can connect more easily with the magical spiritual realms. During this time of the year I love to reflect on the things within that are ready to be harvested as well as the things inside of me which are ready to die as winter is just around the corner. This is also a time of year when I love to connect with the light within and when many cultures and traditions have ceremonies honouring the light as the days get shorter and shorter.


Then Winter comes and this is naturally a time for hibernation and introversion. Introversion can be an extremely healthy practice if done with intention. Taking time for ourselves and diving deep within can produce many gifts that we would not otherwise be able to accomplish if we spent our entire lives being social and distracted from our inner work. Winter is also a wonderful time to be creative and perhaps learn an instrument or do a series of paintings, write a book, etc. The possibilities are endless! If you are feeling down in the Winter I recommend taking on some creative projects which fill you with joy and keep the fires burning bright within!


Spring is a time of renewal when seeds begin spouting from the ground and flowers begin to bloom. This is also a time when our inner seeds begin to burst forth and when we begin to blossom. Just as new seedlings need protection our own seedlings should be protected giving them time to grow and flourish.


Another way I embrace the seasons is to find ways to appreciate each season and to even have fun while doing it! For instance in the winter, if it snows where you live, find some fun things to do in the snow.... like building a snow man, making snow angels, going sledding or skiing... the list of things to do is endless! You can do this for every season of course!


Uplifting Vitamins & Herbs


There are so many vitamins and herbs you can take to help yourself to feel better in the Winter or anytime you are feeling blue. I will work on another separate blog entry in order to share a more complete and detailed list with you. In order to keep this blog entry from getting too long, I will share with you a simple list of what works for me and invite you to research anything you feel drawn to below. I also encourage you to research and explore the multitude of options out there and find what works best for you. We are all so different so what works for one person won't necessarily work for another. With that said, here are some of the supplements and herbs that have helped me recover from feelings of depression, anxiety and stress:

  • Vitamin D Drops

  • 5 HTP,

  • Vitamin B12

  • Vitamin B Complex

  • Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids

  • Melatonin

  • Cannabis & CBD Oil

  • Myo-Inositol Powder

  • All of the Herbs that I included in my Bliss Elixir , which are...

  • Scullcap,

  • Damiana,

  • Lemon Balm,

  • Oatstraw,

  • Siberian Ginseng,

  • Rhodiola,

  • Tulsi,

  • Ashwaganda,

  • Kanna,

  • Kava Kava

  • Guarana

Darkness has it's Teachings


"You can't rush your healing Darkness has it's teachings Love is never leaving You can't rush your healing

Your healing" -Trevor Hall


Above is an excerpt from a beautiful songs by an artist named Trevor Hall, called "You can't Rush your Healing" and this is so important to integrate. Most of us live fast paced lives in a fast paced world and we want results quickly. While it is natural to want to get through your own healing as soon as possible, it is not all that practical and can actually cause you more problems. If we try to rush our own healing much of what we have to heal is in danger of getting buried and suppressed which can cause all sorts of problems like disease and even deeper depression. When we are feeling blue this can actually be perceived as a gift because the deep potential for growth and healing lies underneath these feelings. Our sadness is a signal that something is out of alignment. Sometimes this can be addressed with taking the right combination of herbs and supplements and following any of the suggestions we have covered in this blog, but often we really need to strive to get at the root of the underlying issue in order for true healing and spiritual and emotional growth to occur. It is understandable to want to run away from what lays hidden that is causing us pain, but facing this pain and getting through it can be a true blessing!


If you are feeling afraid to face your own pain, you do not have to do it alone. I urge you to call a friend or loved one who is willing to hold space for you and support you through your healing journey or find a counsellor you resonate with that can assist you. Don't let lack of money discourage you as there are plenty of services out there that are free including hotlines you can call. Simply search online for free counselling in your area to find some help nearby. We all deserve to be supported during times when the need for deep healing arises. Just remember to be patient with your healing process. You will eventually feel better and get to the other side. Life is not always easy. All of us experience these feelings from time to time and if we acknowledge and embrace them and give ourselves the love and support we need during these times, we will reap the benefits.


In my humble opinion, the true point of life is for us to evolve and the key to our own evolution, as well as those of our brothers and sisters on this planet, is LOVE! Love starts with learning to love ourselves. I encourage you to embrace yourself and your life's journey with Love and if you feel like you can't do that, then find someone who can hold the light of love in their heart for you and teach you how to do that for yourself!


Here is a short list of some other ways you can shift your Winter Blues into Winter Bliss:

  • Surround yourself with positive minded people

  • Read an inspiring uplifting book

  • Watch a comedy (laughter is good medicine)

  • Take breaks from social media and WiFi (I plan to make a blog on this subject)

  • Incorporate mantras chants & positive affirmations into your routine

I hope this blog entry has helped to offer you some inspiration on ways to empower yourself to take action to improve your mood and your life! Life is precious and so are you! Always remember to follow your bliss! Blessed be!


I wish to thank my good friend Christian Prekratic for encouraging me to write this blog entry! I don't think I would have done it without your encouragement Christian, so thank you with all my heart! And thanks for being a bright shining light and sharing your musical gifts with this world!






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