As some of you know, Michigan residents have some of the highest statistics of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. After hearing so many talk about how cold, dark and gloomy our winters are here, I realized that many of us struggle- even just a bit- but may not be to the level of a diagnosis of SAD.
In my quest to find out more about everything, all the time, I started doing research on the best ways to beat the blues in the winter months. I found many websites and much research on the "normal" methods to manage depression or SAD. The most popular these days being antidepressants and/or some type of supplement.
These are, in some cases, needed methods of treatment. I 100% encourage anyone who thinks they may be suffering from something more than the winter blues to talk to a friend who has suffered from depression or ask your doctor for more information. Depression and mental illness is very real. It isn't something that people can control. It also isn't something that is easy to diagnose. Being patient and removing stigma, the larger issues of mental issue in our community will hopefully continue to evolve into more healing, understanding and hope. If you have questions or concerns personally-I have seen many walk in the shoes of mental and emotional struggle and welcome your personal messages to me.
That being said, there are still the many gray Michigan days when we just need a little pick-me up. Enter SunBox, the Light Box company. Popping up on several Seasonal Affective Disorder sites was information that light therapy is a good source of assistance for those suffering from the winter blues. It is safe from harmful UV rays and mimics the sun's actual good stuff, like Vitamin D.Even the Journal for the American Medical Association suggests Light Therapy for the treatment of SAD.
I had to try it. If there was a happy light-I was going to find out!
My Light Box came in a few weeks ago and I have faithfully used it several times a week since. The best thing is that it just needs to be on near you, no hassle, nothing extra in my day. It is literally just a super bright light shining plugged in and above you while you read, chat with family, workout or watch TV.
While I didn't notice instant euphoria, I did notice that I wasn't feeling like I needed a nap at 6pm, like so many of us do when it is already dark. There is also a little more pep when I start to wake up in the morning...and I'm so not a morning person.
I will continue to try the Light Box. My goal is a minimum of three time per week. But, I must say, it feels so good to be sitting in the "sun" that I've started turning it on while I'm cooking or getting ready in the morning. (Little tip for women, it is the BEST lighting for doing your makeup!)
Into week three and the Light Box has lived up to its explanation. It isn't the total answer to all things depression and seasonal blues, but it does help, especially if it is just the winter blues you are experiencing.
It is one of those things that everyone wants to know about, or considers purchasing, but who knows if it is really worth it. Since I'm continuing to feel more vibrant even in 10 degree windy weather, I think the $175 value for the box I have is well worth it. It's cheaper than a vacation to Hawaii and far safer than going to a tanning salon.
Another great tip is that the box isn't something that only one person can use. It can be shared with family and friends throughout the day, so even on a budget, friends could purchase it together and move it around during the week. It is totally light and very transportable.
I'm on to week four and will check back in after the next snow storm, or ice, or below zero degree day to let you know how things are going with continued use.
My data thus far is: Let there be LIGHT!