We all know the importance of daylight, don’t we? It’s key to our mental wellbeing at this time of year and many people suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), caused by lack of daylight. It can be easy to wake up in the dark, work indoors all day and then return home at dusk. In fact, it’s a wonder that any of us get to see daylight at all during the winter. So today I’m sharing my tips for getting as much daylight as possible to combat the winter blues:
MAXIMISE LIGHT INDOORS
Seasonal Affective Disorder is obviously worse during the winter months but I’ve found out that it can happen at any time of year if you spend most of your time indoors or work in an environment without windows. It therefore stands to reason that the more windows you have in your home, the better! I’ve been toying with the idea of adding patio doors to my dark-ish kitchen to being in more light, but there are other things you can do to bring more daylight into your rooms. How about installing sun pipes? These bring pools of light into loft rooms by reflecting daylight down a mirrored tube. Or, if you’re planning a renovation, be sure to include VELUX windows to bring in more light from above. You can find out more information this type of window installation on the VELUX website.
GET A HEAD START IN THE MORNINGS
Try to get as much daylight coming into the room in the morning. This will help you to wake up more naturally with the rising sun. If you’ve got heavy curtains and can bear to have them open over night, pull them back before you go to bed. I’ve found that having venetian blinds in my bedroom is great for this, as I can angle them so that the daylight floods in and hits the bed in the morning. The same goes for vertical blinds – no need to open them fully; you can keep your privacy but just angle them to let in the morning light. I’ve found it much easier to get up in the winter since doing this easy trick!
Heading outside as much as possible will really help with SAD. During daytime walks you’ll be getting all the benefits of I’m currently reading The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking (only £3 on Amazon and well worth the read!) and I think that Denmark have got it right. With such long dark winters, they maximize the daylight time they do have by spending as much time outdoors as possible. Go for a walk on your lunch break and soak up the daylight when it’s at its brightest. If you combine a healthy cycling commute with full-on hygge in the evenings and you’ve got the Danish recipe for getting through the winter and staying happy.
FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Since I started looking into the subject of SAD and winter light, I’ve discovered that it is possible to use artificial light sources to ease the winter blues. Light therapy provides a source of light that’s around 10 x the strength of normal light bulbs. You can buy light boxes that provide this strength of light and follow the instructions to get the best use out of the treatment – some strong light sources can help you after just 30 minutes of exposure. Also, I really like the idea of the Lumie alarm clocks. It simulates a sunrise by gradually increasing the light emitted from the clock so wake you up ‘naturally’. Even if it’s still dark out when you need to be getting up, you’ll feel like you’ve woken to a sunrise and might put a stop to you hitting that snooze button.
I hope that these ideas have helped and please do share your own tips in the comments below. I’m no professional, so please do see your doctor if you’re struggling with depression in the winter as they will be able to help you feel better.