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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!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Dear one just have to buck up and do it! Winter here is 7 months long and 5 of sunshine. I love to snowshoe, great exercise! Getting out od doors is one of the major things that help not to go stir crazy! I have a new puppy, well huge puppy and if I do not want the house destroyed she has to go out for a walk she needs stimulation and so do you! Keep pushing on ythat wall and don't forget to breathe! Grieving is hard business so that could also tire you out as well.
    1938 days ago
    Every winter I think that I should get a light or change my bulbs. And don't.

    I think it is time to buck up and do it!

    As for working out? It is definitely harder in nasty or cold weather. Thankfully I have a gym membership that is super close to my house. And if the weather is REALLY bad or I just can't bring myself to be out in public, I can always workout at home. If I do that I try to make sure it is something fun or upbeat. Something like belly dancing or watching standup while weight lifting or running in place.

    1939 days ago
    Happy New Year! Thanks for the information. I suffer from SAD too. I am going to have to look for one of those lights (the cheap ones)
    1939 days ago
    Happy new year! I'm so glad the light therapy is helping!

    It might take you a little while to balance out because you're not just fighting SAD, you're also dealing with grief and the stress of the move. I hope things even out for you soon, though!

    My favourite cures for the winter blues are a hot cup of tea and a good book, playing in snow (it's the Canadian in me ;P), and trying new things: summer and sun make us more adventurous, so in winter you have to try to find new things to experience!
    1939 days ago
    You've got good tools . . . the S.A.D. light, the dawn simulator and vit. D. My DS is in Fairbanks AK (stationed there) and he started on them, too, and that's helping him. Glad it's working for you.

    Wishing you a wonderful New Year.
    1940 days ago
    I have a light but I haven't been using it. Time to start again!
    1941 days ago
    You've got a great plan! Depression has to be dealt with head on! If ignored, it just continues to fester.
    Read my blog today!
    1941 days ago
  • SHEILA1505
    I'm so glad that the light is already helping, A!
    Have a great 2013 - hugs xxx

    1941 days ago
  • JLITT62
    Happy new yr!

    You're right; every area has its problems. I know people complain about Seattle & I've only been there to visit, but I'd take the weather there over here. Grey & rain vs grey & snow (& cold?).

    But some people love the snow. So there you go.
    1941 days ago
    fantastic!! so glad the lights are helping and you are finding solutions. great that you went for a run! emoticon
    1941 days ago
    This year, i has a bunch of stress in my life this fall, and in dealing with it, it was after Thanksgiving that things slowed down and laughingly, it was only about a week and a half that I focused on the time of year.

    Now the days are growing longer.
    1941 days ago
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