Light Therapy: 5 Tips To Make The Most Of Natural Light In Winter
If you are prone to seasonal affective disorder, you might be wondering how to compensate for the lack of sunlight as the days get shorter. Daylight affects our mood and it is now known that it is essential for our physical and mental balance. To stay positive and maintain energy throughout the cold season, here are 5 tips for making the most of natural light in winter.
Enjoying morning coffee on the balcony.
Daylight is essential for the proper functioning of our biological clock and paces our days. In the morning, it is essential to expose oneself to it to stimulate energy and start the day on the right foot.
The first of the 5 tips to enjoy natural light in winter is to have your morning coffee or breakfast outside, making sure to dress warmly. Whenever the weather allows, sit at a cafe terrace, on your balcony, or near an open window to soak up as much brightness as possible.
If the weather is too rainy to follow this first light therapy tip, move directly to tip number 2. But remember that morning light stimulates wakefulness and provides energy for the entire day.
Start the day with a walk.
The second of the 5 tips for making the most of natural light in winter is to take a walk of at least 10 minutes every morning. Whether it's raining or windy, you must stick to this morning ritual if you want to get enough light and counteract the effects of seasonal depression.
Even when the weather is overcast, the outdoor light is more intense than the brightness inside our homes. That's why it's so important to schedule outdoor activities during the brightest hours of the day in autumn and winter.
Go for a digestive walk during your lunch break.
Following the same logic, individuals who are prone to seasonal depression should adjust their schedules in autumn and winter. The goal is to spend as much time outside during daylight hours.
If your work schedule doesn't allow for free time in the morning, take advantage of your lunch break to go outside and get some light exposure. The third of the 5 tips for making the most of natural light in winter is simply to take a digestive walk after lunch.
This little light therapy session between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. will help you avoid the post-meal slump and drowsiness. This walk is all the more beneficial as walking aids digestion.
4- Plan outdoor outings for the weekend.
Even though the weather can be disheartening in autumn and winter, outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, Nordic walking, or mushroom picking are a great way to soak up some light and boost your mood.
Planning outdoor outings on weekends or even outdoor sports sessions for the more daring is another of the 5 tips for enjoying natural light in winter.
You don't necessarily need to engage in intense physical effort like running or long hikes to feel the benefits. But you absolutely must spend time outdoors to expose yourself to the ambient brightness.
On weekends, try as much as possible to replace the light from your smartphone and screens in general with sunlight by engaging in hobbies that you enjoy, whether it be gardening or forest walks to collect chestnuts, for example…
5- Redesigning one's home.
The last of the 5 tips for making the most of natural light in winter concerns the layout of your home. During this time when the days are shorter and sunlight is scarcer, a few simple changes can increase the natural light in your home.
To improve the ambient brightness and optimize your light intake when you stay at home, you can:
• Move your desk and favorite chair closer to the windows.
• Replace your opaque curtains with lighter, transparent sheers and remember to fully open them during the day.
• Repaint walls and furniture in light colors that reflect light better.
• Add mirrors and place them strategically (opposite the windows) so they reflect natural light and brighten the darkest corners of your home.
Finally, if natural light is insufficient in your area, it may be worth investing in a light therapy lamp that mimics daylight. These are now available in mainstream stores and online starting at around €40.