Light Therapy - What a difference a day makes!!
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! WHOO HOO!! I hope that you reach all the goals you set for the year and beyond. Let's make it a good one!
I started light therapy. I had various tools to combat Seasonal Depression from when I moved from California back to the Midwest: a bright daylight lamp, a dawn simulator, a device that releases negative ions into the air (removes toxins and simulates summer air) as well as a visor that you can wear around the house that shines light into your eyes. I used to wear the latter while on the treadmill or ski machine. I also have Vitamin D supplements I started taking again, as well as the multivitamins I hadn't been taking due to the move and change in my routine.
I didn't use the devices much after the first year that I had moved back to the Midwest. I don't know if I got used to it or I just let things go every winter. Now that I see the effects of it, I think I probably was just letting things go, since I think I would get SAD but it was more gradual and less severe than here in Seattle. I'd have tons of energy and weight loss in the summer, but go into some sort of hibernation mode in the winter.
I've noticed a difference since the first day. I was able to stay up until 10:30 PM and I slept through the night to the next day around 6 AM when I woke up with my dawn simulator. I then had the energy to go running. I was just going to run a couple miles since I had felt like my energy might not sustain me, and hadn't run much since my marathon last month, but I ended up running a 5K distance because I felt pretty good. The next day I did the Nordictrack ski machine for a half hour, then added in sets of crunches and push-ups.
I feel less depressed and am not craving snacks (as much). I don't feel 100% yet, but I've read it can take a couple weeks to feel the full effects of the treatments. So, I will give it that much time before I start taking the Sam-E.
I guess this is what I was talking about when I said if I can get through the winters here OK, I would probably stay on. So, I'll have to see. If I can't get to feeling completely normal with the aid of the lamps, I might consider moving to a different city. I do think there are a lot of benefits here, but I don't want to mess with my health. I used to live in Phoenix - had no problems with SAD there - but it was too hot to do things I enjoyed like running. So, I guess everywhere has tradeoffs. I guess like with a lot of things - it's not about finding the perfect place, person or situation, but the one that has the tradeoffs that are minor to you. For me, my mental and physical health are paramount.
Many people think you need an expensive light to treat SAD. Really, you don't... you can get a cheap shop light with full-spectrum bulbs from the hardware store and use that. I used to use that and it worked for me, as well. I think if I had my own place - I would put full spectrum lights everywhere! And, I do not keep snack foods around like my sister and her husband do. I really want my own place!
Exercising and getting outside does seem to help me a bit - but not as much as I've noticed at other times. I don't know if it's due to the lack of sun outside. Still, I want to be my normal self and WANT to exercise, in any case, and it seems that is coming back.
Any tips to deal with the winter blues? Would love to hear them!
Ok! A new year! Time for new goals!! LET'S GET GOING!!