Let There Be Light

I don’t think that I could say I have proper Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I do struggle, along with so many others, with the short gloomy days of an English winter.  My childhood winters in Portugal were bright, sparkly affairs.  Cold sometimes, because we the only heating we had was a wood fire, and damp, because when it rained it rained hard and came through the holes in the roof.  But bright and light and not very long.

The first English winter I remember was when I was eight, and we had to be in England for a few months while my dad had surgery.  That was jolly! And the next one was my first term at boarding school, when the darkness seeped into my mind and I didn’t know if it would ever lift.  Even now that I have much happier winter memories to draw on I find myself mourning the end of summer and gearing up for the energy it takes me to get through this portion of the calendar.

I have heard of light therapy, but the cost has always been prohibitive.  There is a mass of evidence that points to the effectiveness of exposure to rays that mimic the brightness of the sun.  Interior lights emit around 50 lux- the sun between 10,000 and 130,000.  Sunlight triggers the body’s production of vitamin D (which boosts immunity and increases energy levels among other things), as well as increasing the production of seratonin, that feel-good hormone we love so much.

There are now cheaper models on the market, but guess what? A lovely friend has bought me one as a present! It should arrive today or tomorrow, so I will let you know if it makes a difference to my mood.  I’d love to hear your experiences too, if you’ve tried this.

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