Is it Spring Yet...?
How many days till spring? I have seen lots of people posting memes on social media about the wait and counting of days till spring arrives.
Thursday 19th March, Spring Equinox, only a few weeks away and I can’t wait!
Although the Winter season begins with the excitement and preparations of Christmas and New Year’s eve; soon into the new year our moods darken and many people feel a little ‘off’. Asking themselves ‘Why am I so unhappy?’ ‘Is there something wrong with me?’ Often it is our bodies responding to the darker and colder days.
Seasonal depression and anxiety; this time of the year is hard for lots of people, including myself. One of the reasons is that we need natural daylight. Which is important for our sleep patterns and light triggers changes in our brain that make us feel happier. The brain needs sunlight to produce levels of serotonin which are known as a feel-good hormone.
Some people seem to need a lot more light than others for their body to function normally. So if you are someone that feels more anxious or down as the year passes by and the days are shorter, what can you do to help yourself?
Spend time outside
You need light, it will make you feel better and happier. This light is measured in lux and when spending time outdoors on an average day, the natural daylight is around 10,000 lux. If you’d choose to stay inside and sit by the window instead the available light is more like 1,000 lux. Even a cloudy dreary winters day provides 4000 lux, still much more than sitting inside.
And then when we get out on one of these beautiful sunny winter days the natural daylight can be between 50,000- 100,000 lux. Incredible!
So get yourself outside.
Reiki has shown to improve symptoms in people suffering from seasonal depression and anxiety, and will support you to stay well. You can learn Reiki yourself or you can go and see a Reiki practitioner for sessions. Monthly sessions are recommended as a maintenance to support you looking after you. But you might want to have a few sessions more frequently to improve your mood when you feeling a little ‘off’.
Meditation has supported and improved symptoms in people suffering from depression and anxiety. Meditation can be as short as a 10-minute session every other day when you take the time to be mindful and check in with your body. Sometimes it can be difficult to quiet the mind and in that case you may want to try some guided meditation first.
Light boxes/ SAD lights
Light boxes or SAD lights are designed to support you through the darker months of the year. They produce a fluorescent light of 10,000+ lux and you can use these daily to support your brain to produce serotonin. Usually it is recommend that light therapy is used in the early morning when you wake up for 20-30 min.
This is how I manage the dark winter months
I’m someone who needs quite a lot of daylight to stay clear from seasonal depression and I feel I have managed to find a routine that works for me.
I use all the 4 suggestions above; I start each day eating my breakfast in front of my light box for 20-30 min. When I’m out of routine and forget to use the light box, I notice it within a few days.
After breakfast; I go for a walk with the dogs. I go in all weathers even if the latest storm has just arrived.
I also meditate a few times a week, a variety of guided meditations, body scans and breathing meditations. Meditation is hard when you first start practicing but you soon get better at it and start noticing the benefits.
And last but certainly not least; as a Reiki Master I selfheal every day! Reiki gives me my daily natural healing, relieve of stress, develops me emotionally, mentally and spiritually, deep relaxation, focus and clarity.