The Light of winter
Combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder

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We Minnesotans tend to moan and groan this time of year. Our patience gets tested by very cold temps, icy sidewalks and snowy roads. It seems like the flu can cycle and recycle through our families, workplace and schools. Winter is naturally a hunkering down time of year and along with it is the isolation and lethargy.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is real. I notice a change in myself beginning in October. I could sleep endless hours, never go out again in the dark and eat carbs (comfort food) until the end of time. While I know that a healthy lifestyle helps in coping with SAD, so does this one simple and effective tool—the lamp. 

I have had a sun lamp for several years, and inevitably, every fall, I get neglectful of using it. I’ll be talking with someone about how tough this time of year is, and she’ll suggest I check out “one of those lamps.” This will finally motivate me to get the lamp out. Then, after having it on for the first time, I think, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?” 

I keep my sun lamp in my home office. I’ll turn it on, set a timer to remind me to turn it off in 20 minutes and then bask in the sunlight. Inevitably my husband will peek in the doorway and question its effectiveness until he gives it a shot and notices his spirits being lifted too. 

I used to have a sun lamp at work-work (the place I went five days a week). The lamp would make its rounds in the office with everyone getting their light fix and feeling that little extra boost. It was the best wellness tool I could offer to get through the doldrums of winter. 

If you are someone who struggles with SAD or just plain needs a mood boost, give the sun lamp a try. They’re affordable with a significant return on investment. The key is when you get it, use it. Otherwise you’ll end up like me wondering why you put off using it for so long. Enjoy the rays! ::

What is SAD? 

According to Olmsted Medical Center (OMC), “Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression” that usually occurs during fall and winter, when there are fewer hours of daylight. SAD generally affects adults over age 20 and is more common in women than men. 

How do I know if I have SAD?

If you find yourself feeling down or irritable, enjoying things less or having less energy, you might be experiencing SAD. 

How is SAD treated?

OMC recommends:

  • Exposure to sunlight. 
  • Light therapy.
  • Talking to a therapist.
  • Antidepressants.

 

Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of SAD.

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About Author

Peggy’s business, SheTaxi, focuses on moving women, mission and businesses forward. She works part-time as the executive director for the Neuro Hospitality House. Peggy is passionate about authentic leadership and mentoring women.

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