When the clocks change each autumn everyone seems to start hunkering down for the winter. The heating goes on and we all trudge off to work or school in the morning gloom, returning when it’s dark and living in something of a twilight world. It’s miserable and this kind of dark, dank wintery misery even has a medical name – Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. For SAD sufferers there’s one thing which can really help – sunlight, or simulated sunlight.
I don’t have SAD, but I do have the winter blues, it’s not officially medically recognised, but is characterised by sufferers saying “Meh” whenever they open the curtains between November and March. There are a few things I do to try and perk me up, but there’s no known cure other than a four month holiday in the sun.
- If the weather isn’t too grim I try and get outside during daylight hours, if only to the local coffee shop for a brew and a biscuit. Fresh air and daylight are good for the soul, as is the tiny amount of Vitamin D the weak winter sun will give you while you’re outside.
- Keeping warm and active helps stave off the winter blues a bit, getting out for long walks at the weekend with the family is a good way to get some fresh air and exercise, and makes me feel less cooped up.
- During the day I try and flood the house with natural light, opening curtains and blinds wide, so even if it’s raining outside I can still enjoy natural light. I hate having electric lights on during the day as it makes me feel closed in, natural light is for me always preferable.
We have large skylights in our kitchen and in the room I work in, these are brilliant for providing bags of natural light all year round, and were probably the thing which sold this house to me, having a light, bright house is very important.
Equally important as lots of natural light is the ability to shut that light out at night, or when the summer sun is strong. VELUX are a well known company who design and sell a range of blinds for skylights. All of our skylight windows have been fitted with pull-down VELUX blinds and during the heat of summer I know I couldn’t use those rooms without them.
The winter blues aren’t enough to send me to my bed for three months, but I do try and look after myself a bit more, enjoy any breaks in the weather to get out and about, and to make the most of the natural light available for the sake of my mood and my electricity bill.
How do you stave off the winter blues?