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If you’re like me, living in a part of the world that now has a whole lot less sun, you may find yourself dealing with an Unwanted Guest, often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Less sunlight means our moods change, our depression kicks in harder, we want to hibernate – sound familiar? This is my SAD story.

Shortly after I started seeing shrinky-poo I mentioned to her that on the days I went to the tanning salon (yes, I tried to get rid of my Capser-ness at one time) I felt better. Quite a bit better actually. She asked more questions, in true shrinky-poo style, and sent me home with a sun lamp to try. (she doesn’t think much of tanning salons)

It made an amazing difference. AMAZING.

I was to use it for at least 30 minutes every morning. It needed to shine on my face and I needed to keep my eyes open, you know, blinking normally and stuff, but the goodness comes in through the eyes. After the first week I felt like a new woman.

But –

I had to do other things as well.

  • Take a Vitamin D pill every day
  • Get to bed at the same time every night
  • Get my ass out of bed at the same time every morning
  • No naps!
  • Exercise during the day/before dinner was encouraged, but not required (I sleep so much better on those nights, regardless of the time of year)

By doing all of those things together, all winter long, I can keep my SAD at bay. I actually have two lamps now, one at home and one at work. They’re made by Verilux and called, appropriately enough, Happy Lites.

2014-11-17 08.40.16That’s the one at home, tucked behind my laptop. (Wonder Woman bottle included for scale) I got mine at Costco a few years ago, but it looks like you can order the twin pack direct from the manufacturer for less than $50. (WAY cheaper than the big unit I started with)

One of the things that I absolutely LOVE about doing the light therapy is that it’s really hard to OD on it. You can, but all that happens is you have trouble sleeping that night, and who among us hasn’t had trouble sleeping now and then?

Anyway, none of this – NONE OF THIS – is meant to be prescriptive. I am definitely Mental, but I am not a doctor. All I’m trying to do here is share my experiences with you and perhaps provide a talking point for the next time you visit with your mental health provider. These things have helped me, maybe they’d help you, and that is honestly all that I’m saying.

10417731_1003898456303829_4370801795871197819_nOn a sort of related, but not really, note – does anyone have any experience with white noise apps for a phone? Josh has decided he’s really not so keen on my aging fan that I run every night so I’m looking for alternatives. I’ve installed a free one for my Droid called Sleep Ambience and downloaded a few tracks that don’t sound like animals having sex, but I’m a little leery. Thoughts? Experiences? Recommendations?