So it’s the middle of winter (or April in Seattle), you’ve got the winter blahs, and it feels like the sun will never shine again. Besides buying a straightjacket or a ticket to Mexico, what else can be done to preserve (or recapture) your sanity?
Therapeutic light boxes are available for purchase online (check out Amazon.com for a few different options – search “light box”). I strongly recommend reading reviews to find a product that fits your particular requirements. For an inexpensive option that can also provide some relief, try purchasing some full spectrum light bulbs from your local hardware or health food store. Whether you get the light box or the light bulbs, set it up to let the light shine directly on your face for 30 minutes every morning, and watch your mood improve.
Another critical factor in SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as, “I’m going to go stark raving mad if I don’t get some sunshine, and quick.”) is Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is made by our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunshine. If, for whatever reason, you don’t get that sun exposure, your body is not able to produce the Vitamin D needed.
People who are deficient in Vitamin D are not only more prone to SAD, but also to osteoporosis, fatigue, depression, and possibly even cancer or autoimmune diseases like MS. Checking your Vitamin D level is a simple blood test that can be done alone or added on to other bloodwork that you might be having done, just ask your doctor. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so you shouldn’t take it unless you know you’re deficient, but when properly supplemented, Vitamin D can cheer you up almost as much as that tropical vacation.