Our days are getting shorter and the hours of sunshine are starting to disappear. It’s one of the downfalls of living in one of the far most northern places on the earth. Winter is hard, especially once the newness of the first snow and first crackling fire disappear. Light and happiness are hugely connected and medical research supports this. (as well as every Canadian I know)
Dr. Simon N. Young, is the editor of the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and a member of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University in Montréal, Quebec, has looked at ways to increase serotonin levels in the brain without the use of drugs. Why is this so important? Serotonin are the brain cells related to mood, sexual desire and function, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behaviour. Pretty minor stuff. (sarcasim)
Increasing exposure to light is one of the ways Young says we can all improve our mood. Obviously we all know this but I found Young’s take took things a step further. Serotonin is highest in the body when the body is exposed to light. Light = Serotonin and Serotonin = Happier. What I found most interesting about Young’s look at Serotonin is that increasing it may also help to fight off depression. In other words, we don’t have to wait for winter to loom over our heads, we can start increasing the light we’re exposed to before the darkness settles. I’ve always knows I’m happier surrounded by light, but I never thought to use light as a PREVENTATIVE way to combat winter blues. With medical evidence to support what we’ve always understood, here are five simple ways to let in more light.
- That UV light. It does work. Get here at Amazon and set the time to go on before you wake up on the morning or turn it on your face while your at your desk working.
- Open your blinds. I have made a habit of this and it makes a difference. You have to let the light in and light even from a cloudy day will help. On the -40 degree days when keeping the house warm is key, I will begrudgingly leave the blinds closed to preserve the heat. I hate that.
- Sunroof shade open. I never actually open my sunroof but I always open the shade so that light can pour in when I’m in the car. I look around at my fellow commuters and see their sunroof shade closed so I know this simple step is one we can miss.
- Vitamin D. Did you know you can’t overdose on Vitamin D. They are little white pills that make up the difference in the winter and starting early on in the season (ya, even in the fall) is perfectly fine. My doctors have always told me to take it and to give it to my kids. Doctors know and I think Canadian doctors know this fact a little better.
- Go outside. I learned something on our trip to Central Europe. Europeans walk everywhere but do you know what else they do? Eat OUTSIDE in the winter. Cafe’s don’t close their outside patios. They have outdoor heaters going and provide sheepskin blankets. It was delightful.
Let the light pour in and feel the happiness. How do you let in more light in your life?
Here are my outfit details including my new pink duster. I’ve linked some similar ones starting at just $30.