Bright light every morning.
Usually accompanied by an audiobook or a podcast and some knitting.
Always accompanied by tea.
My Day-Light lamp has changed my year. It wasn’t until I started using it that I realized that most people feel like the same person every year all year. I clearly remember the December I realized this. Really? People have the same energy and passion all year? I had a Summer Sarah and a Winter Sarah. I put Summer Sarah away when I put away the sandals and took out the boots. The two Sarahs had different levels of energy, different food cravings (Winter Sarah looooooved her carbs), different emotional resilience, and that’s not even touching the years that were dark enough that I’d get full-blown depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder runs in our family. In university I was diagnosed with SAD, and it’s true that all my full-blown depressive episodes as a child and teen were in late-winter. My lamp was covered by our insurance. Buying it for me is a lot cheaper than anti-depressant medications every single winter! But it is, frankly, far superior to the meds. I get results within a week, not 6, there are no side-effects, and my kids can use it too. Full-spectrum light therapy reduces inflammation and really exciting research shows it working with all forms of depression, even post-partum, as well as other conditions like PTSD.
I start out with about 10 minutes a morning at first. Any more and my brain starts to sizzle a bit from the excitement of the chemicals it makes for itself. I slowly work my way up to 30 minutes sometime in November, and by March I’m at 60 minutes. I have to get up early enough to work it in, but I can tell you that these moments of enforced quiet are true gifts. How many busy parents take the time to start every day in quiet with nothing to do but what they choose? Time to read. Time to write. Time to knit. Time to plan. Time to listen.