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Do you feel slower, sluggish or not quite as happy in the winter?
Maybe you even deal with depression that seems to get worse as the days get shorter?
I know exactly how that feels, and it’s not good. Winter can seem extremely long when you feel down or depressed 🙁
But read on and let me show you my secret to a happy winter!
What Are The Winter Blues?
If you find yourself feeling as slow as a sloth and as gloomy as Eeyore from fall to spring, you could be dealing with the winter blues.
The days get shorter, the weather gets colder, and it can feel like it’s time to find our comfy clothes and hibernate.
But, if you find that you feel slow and gloomy along with the symptoms listed below and it is affecting your everyday life, you may be dealing with a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Common SAD Symptoms
- Sleep difficulties
- Feeling less social
- Mood fluctuations
- Loss of interest in activities
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Why Do We Feel Blue Or Depressed In The Winter?
The exact causes are unknown and probably vary somewhat from person to person, but there are some suspected causes that many people seem to share.
Suspected Causes of Winter Blues Or SAD
- Changing of the seasons
- Lack of sunlight
- Less Vitamin D
- Gender (woman experience SAD more often than men)
- Disruption in circadian rhythm
- Changes in melatonin levels
If you deal with the winter blues or even Seasonal Affective Disorder, don’t lose hope!
No matter the exact cause for you personally, there are easy and effective treatments that can help you have your best winter yet!
In fact, I have found one relatively inexpensive product that has helped me feel more awake, have more energy, and beat the winter blues!
Best Product To Overcome The Winter Blues
I believe that good health comes from a balance of many aspects of life and this balance is essential for overcoming the winter blues too.
It is important to eat healthy food, get enough movement and exercise, and deal with emotional issues effectively.
But, if you find that these activities alone are not resolving your gloomy or depressed feelings, you may want to look into full-spectrum light therapy.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy is so easy, yet so effective!
All you have to do is sit near a full-spectrum light, sometimes called a happy light, for about 30 minutes per day and you can start to see benefits such as:
- better mood
- increased energy
- better concentration
- regulation of circadian rhythm
- relief from winter blues or symptoms of SAD
Since everyone is unique, the amount of time needed each day may vary as well as the time it takes for you to start seeing results.
Personally, though, I noticed positive changes within the first few days.
It was nothing drastic, I am not usually a morning person and it can take a long time for me to feel awake (ok, alive) in the morning. But when I started using my sun lamp I noticed that after a few days I felt much more awake in the morning.
After using my lamp for a while I noticed that my mood was indeed better, I really did have more energy, and winter (although still not my favorite season) was tolerable because I had a better overall feeling of happiness and wellbeing.
My Favorite Happy Light
I have actually tried two different sun lamps.
The first was a Verilux compact happy light.
I liked it very much but it broke when my dog was running and caught the cord, causing the light to go flying! 🙁
For the second, I again went with Verilux.
This time I opted for a Verilux HappyLight VT31.
There are four reasons I chose this sun lamp:
- I really liked my first lamp from the same company
- Verilux gets overall great reviews
- This specific light has 3 brightness levels
- The price range was in my budget
This light has everything I need at an affordable price. I’ve been very happy with my Verilux Happy Light so if you are considering making a sun lamp purchase, I would highly suggest checking into this one or one of their other models 😉
Common Questions About Full Spectrum Light Therapy
Interested in light therapy but have some questions? Let me see if I can help 🙂
1. Which Light Therapy Lamps Are Best?
Like anything else, what someone considers to be the best can be highly dependent on many factors, but here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for a sun lamp:
- Look for a lamp with full-spectrum light
- Make sure it is a 10,000 lux light
- Verify that it has been clinically tested
- Choose the best product that fits your budget
There are many sun lamps out there, some are good, some are not. If you keep these tips in mind it will help you narrow down the field and find your perfect choice.
2. When Should You Start Using A Sun Lamp?
The answer to this is probably a little different for everyone but I personally start using mine around October.
Most recommendations I have seen mention starting use in late fall when we really start to have fewer daylight hours and continuing until springtime.
Another thing to remember is that it is best to use your sun lamp early in the morning (typically around 6-9 am) and start with 20-30 minutes. If you are very sensitive you may need to start with less time and work up to 30 minutes or so.
One more tip- some people feel great only using their lamp a few days per week and others find that it is best to make it a daily habit. You will probably have to do some experimenting to find what works best for you.
3. How Long Does It Take For Light Therapy To Work?
Again, this is really dependent on each person and their unique situation but general guidelines are that many people start to see improvement within a few days.
After two weeks or so symptoms should definitely be improving. If you don’t see improvement in a few weeks, you can increase the time that you use your lamp.
If you deal with winter blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder winter can definitely feel like a struggle.
But by adding a few minutes of full-spectrum light to your morning routine you can improve your mood, have more energy, regulate your circadian rhythm, and find relief from the symptoms of depression that plague you during the winter months.
Have you tried light therapy for relief from winter blues or depression? If so, I would love to hear about your experience! If not, what’s holding you back?
Feel free to share in the comments or send me a message 🙂
I have a background in natural health and homeopathy, have been a licensed massage therapist for over 14 years, and have a degree in Human Services. But most importantly, I am a wife and mom.
My mission is to provide researched information and actionable steps to help you on your road to good health.
Because there is nothing more important than....