Just after Christmas I went a bit doolally. The dark days took their miserable toll and I found myself balled up on the sofa howling because it was too dark, and I couldn’t do anything, and the kids were winding me up and Ross wasn’t around because he was still commuting to London every day, and there was nothing to do, and I wanted to go to the park and the kids wouldn’t put their sodding shoes on, and the pile of laundry was akin to Everest, and the thought of cooking dinner made me want to cry, and everything was just frankly, utterly hideous.
Then I figured that if I switched on every single light in my house, I might feel better.
Well, I didn’t feel any better, and my mum was beginning to worry (as you do, about the mentals). So, she bought me the Lumie Arabica SAD lamp.
At 10,000 lux the Lumie Arabica is the brightest light I have ever owned. It sits on the side in my dining room, and I have it on when I am working, or eating (It also masquerades as a photography light, so if you’ve noticed my food photos are looking brighter and sharper, well you have my SAD to thank for that)
It’s not the most inconspicuous of lamps; it doesn’t, for instance, blend in with the rest of my stuff. There is no denying it’s a light box, and people have asked me what it is, and when I tell them it’s a SAD lamp, without fail the next question is, “does it work?”
And, well, yes it does. Whilst typically, it arrived just as we got a few brighter days, they soon reverted back to the dull, heavy grey skies we’ve become accustomed to, the lamp has been used almost every day, and just sitting in front of it for 45 mins a day has certainly helped a lot. The amount of daylight we get is said to have an effect on our circadian rhythms*, and even though the curtains in my bedroom are flimsy at best, thus waking me up early, when the days are short and dark I really notice a difference in my mood and general wellbeing. Having the lamp on makes me feel generally happier. I don’t feel like like sleeping all the time (partial though I am to a nap), I feel more inclined to get out of the house and do things. Everything that seemed grey and dull and impossible, now feels brighter and lighter and achievable. I feel capable again, and when you have two small children to care for, feeling capable is very important.
(I had to turn the exposure right up on this photo, hence all the noise – but I think it gives you an idea of how bright it really is)
I’m not saying it’s all down to my Lumie Arabica, regular readers will know I’ve started running which eases my stress levels – I never ever come home from the gym feeling low, rather I leave feeling badass. But then I can’t help wondering if I was feeling as rubbish as I was before I got my Lumie Arabica, would I even be motivated enough to go for a run? Knowing myself, I think it’s more likely I’d go and curl up somewhere whilst snarfing down a packet of biscuits.
So if you are considering light therapy for SAD, then I’d wholeheartedly recommend this lamp. It’s certainly not the cheapest on the market, but Lumie give you the VAT off if you are a SAD sufferer. When you feel as low as I did, you have to take the perks where you can get them, am I right?
*Surely I can’t be the only person who thinks of Daysleeper by REM when anyone starts talking about circadian rhythms?