– Happy Light
During the shorter days of winter, many people suffer seasonal depression*.
* I refuse to call it ‘S.A.D.’. Refuse. I mean… come on, guys. C’mon. SAD? Really? SAD?
You can suffer from seasonal depression even if you don’t have other kinds of depression, and even worse, you can suffer seasonal depression on top of other kinds of depression. Also, the symptoms are kind of broad and can be symptoms for a ton of other maladies, so please do talk to your doctor to make sure that it’s lethargy from depression and not like, ebola. </disclaimer>
While we still don’t understand what causes seasonal depression, it is definitely a result of less daylight. The further north you live, the more likely you’ll want to crawl into a cave and hibernate like a bear.
Fortunately, the best medication for seasonal depression is: get more sunlight.
Now, we can’t magically make the sun stay out longer, but we do have some pretty great artificial sunlight lamps. There’s a large range of “light therapy” boxes that offer a variety of strengths and features. There’s a nice article on Mayo Clinic with a section about different types of light boxes and the factors you should consider when looking to purchase one (ie: blue light vs. white light, UV rays, etc).
The better the light boxes, the higher their output, the more effective they are… and yea, the more expensive they are. But a cheap little light box is still better than no light box.
Last winter I picked up a Verilux HappyLight 2500. This one is only 2500 lux. The same light comes in different sizes / outputs, and right now the Verilux HappyLight Liberty with 5000 lux is going for the same price.
Ideally you can use the light for hour or two in the morning (for the model I have). I use it in the morning before heading off to work, so I can only get about 10 – 15 minutes in. But you know what? Those 10 – 15 minutes help. It definitely works, and it would work even better if I had more time to use it. Anything than helps alleviate the crushing winter-time exhaustion and apathy is welcome.