Using Natural Light to Beat the Winter Blues: Sponsored Post

Autumn and Winter are my favourite seasons - but the change of temperature and the darker mornings/evenings can definitely wreak havoc on the system. When Georgia wakes early and it's pitch black and freezing cold, it can be a really difficult start to the day - but sometimes it can be a little more than that.

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Getting out of bed on a winter’s morning is tough – no one would argue with that. The distance from the warm blankets to the hot shower is just too far. For some people, though, chilly dawns can be more than an inconvenience; they can lead to serious depression.

The Winter Blues

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as ‘the winter blues’ or ‘winter depression’, describes the annual onset or worsening of mood disorders in winter. People who suffer from this don’t simply have difficulty getting up in the morning; they may also develop symptoms including an inability to focus, a lack of energy, persistent pessimistic thoughts and moodiness. While this sounds like a rare and mysterious disorder, it’s more common than you might think. Though often only associated with countries that have very little light in winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder is an issue in more temperate climates too. Many sufferers don’t realise they actually have an illness.

What Causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Scientists believe Seasonal Affective Disorder is related to hormone changes that occur at certain times of the year. The dominant theory suggests a lack of light in winter inhibits the body’s ability to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for balancing moods. Serotonin deficits mean the nerve cell pathways that balance moods don’t function as well, which can affect sleep, mood, behavior, memory, appetite, and libido. Put simply, scientists believe a lack of light can lead to or worsen depression. It’s not surprising, then, that the most common treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder and winter blues is light.
Autumn sunrises are my favourite - chilly but beautiful.

Treating SAD

‘Light therapy’ involves making a conscious effort to surround oneself with natural sunlight for therapeutic purposes. The simplest method of light therapy involves allowing more light into one’s home and office. In Nordic and Scandinavian countries, where there is little natural light in winter, artificial sources are used. But the rest of the world can simply open their house to light through windows and sliding doors.

Placing large sliding doors on the due-eastern side of your house means you can enjoy the benefits of morning sunlight, which helps you start the day on the right note. For those suffering from Season Affective Disorder or the winter blues, or anyone who simply feels the cold, it’s also a great idea to have big sliding doors on the due-western side to allow light and warmth into the house in the afternoons. If you don’t already have decent sliding doors in your home, specialists such as AJ Doors Brisbane can help you find the door that’s perfect for letting light into your house.

If you already have big windows and sliding doors, ensure you are getting the most out of them. You might consider moving your bedroom to a room that gets morning light, rearranging furniture so the light opens into the house, or strategically placing mirrors to reflect and thus enhance the light through your house. Ensure you keep up with all sliding door repairs as needed to keep the doors sliding open easily. Easy access to the outdoors will encourage you to take time outside in the sun on days when the winter blues are getting you down.

If you’re feeling low in winter, don’t beat yourself up. Talk to your doctor about Seasonal Affective Disorder and let some light shine in.

This sponsored post is in collaboration with AJ Doors - all images are my own. If you are interested in a product review or sponsored post content appearing on Breathe Gently, please email me.


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