Staying Healthy as the Seasons Change
At this time of year in the northern hemisphere, apples and pumpkins are everywhere. There is a shift in temperature and we’ve set our clocks an hour back so the days just got shorter and darker.
If this is a signal to you that you will be feeling the “winter blues” soon, there is a simple way to reduce or even eliminate that not-so-fun feeling.
As the seasons shift, do your moods shift, too?
If you notice, as the days get shorter and colder, that you tend to get melancholy, lethargic or even downright depressed, you are not alone. Many people just chalk it up to the colder, darker days, but there is, in fact, a true disorder called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short. A light box is a useful tool to help combat SAD.
Rather than waiting for the very darkest days in December, fall is the best time to get started with light box therapy.
What is Light Box Therapy?
To get the full benefits of light box therapy, ideally it should be used from mid-September through mid-March. Basically it should be used during the darkest time of the year. And using it consistently, yes, every day, is what makes this so effective.
When should you utilize Light Box Therapy?
The ideal time to use a light box is when you first wake up. It should not be used past noon, as it may interfere with your body’s circadian rhythm. The light box needs to be used consistently to have the most beneficial effect. If you forget, or are unable to use it when you first wake up, anytime before noon will work.
You can use it while lying in bed (some light boxes even have a timer you can set to turn on when you wake up.) You can also use it while eating breakfast or catching up on your emails, etc. in the morning. You do want your eyes to be open but not looking directly at it. The light box should be about a foot or so away from your face and at an angle to your right or left. Start with about 10 minutes and add a few minutes each day. It is suggested not to go longer than 30 minutes each day with most people averaging about 20 minutes each morning.
How else can you support your body during these seasonal changes?
In addition to using your light box, eating a nutrient-dense diet also goes a long way in keeping those winter blues at bay.
Here are a few tips!
⇨ Reduce or eliminate excess sugar. Sugar tends to exaggerate and exacerbate negativity.
⇨ Be sure to include good healthy fats, proteins and lots of veggies.
⇨ Eat seasonally. Nature provides us with an array of seasonal vegetables that have nutrients for the cooler winter days.
⇨ Get outside, especially when the sun is shining.
Enjoy the crisp, cool days. and feel your best by incorporating the tips that work for you. This will help ensure a healthy, happy winter regardless of the weather outside!