SAD Light Therapy

Have you heard of seasonal affective disorder or SAD? It’s a type of depression that usually affects us in the darker months. I had heard over the years, many people tell me they thought their SAD lamp worked but I didn’t think I needed one.

Until lockdown 2 – December 2021. Friends of ours who chase the sun all year said they had bought one the year before and that even their teenage daughter was getting out of bed in the morning with a spring in her step.

I put one on my windowsill in December 2020 and switch it on each morning.

Now, I’m not a fed-up type of person, and I would never have thought it would make any difference but you know what – I think it did work.

1st January 2021 in the middle of lockdown, when the darkest sky was all around I had loads of energy. I went out and completed the Couch to 5K from January to March. I’ve never run in my life, I’ve never been a sporty type of girl, (Yoga doesn’t class as sporty in my household full of badminton players).

Each morning I was up at 6 am – I drank tea in front of the light and read interesting books. (I’ll compile a book list one of these days and insert the link). Then by 7.30 am I was up and out the door – day in and day out listening to Zoe Ball and her chat about breathing and walking and running for just 30 seconds.

I did have accountability friends who made a difference as it was harder to just not bother going when you knew they would be posting their accomplishments. And not wanting to look like a failure gave me motivation to get out there. When I finally ran 5K I knew it had been worth it.

If you’re wondering if it would help you – don’t hesitate to try it.

The symptoms are not easy to spot it can start with so-called “vegetative symptoms”: you might notice an increased appetite with cravings for carbohydrates like chips or ice cream, the urge to sleep longer hours, difficulty getting up in the morning (remember that teenager) and feeling wiped out at work.

Researchers don’t yet know why some people develop SAD and others do not, but the disorder is believed to run in families and is more common among women.

If you have eye-related concerns or a physical condition, like diabetes, that predisposes you to eye disease, then it’s best to check with your doctor before using bright light therapy.

I’ll be talking more about accountability but for a start – get one of these lights for the winter.

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Carolynn Binnie

I joined the wellbeing industry in 1994 and I've spent my lifetime helping people move from negative stress to a more fufiling and happy mindset.

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