As January weather beckons in, you may feel the urge to curl up and never leave your designated nook. Sure, it could be crippling climate anxiety—but chances are the ever-darkening days aren’t helping either.
Though this time of year is about all things starting anew, a lot of folks miss the sunshine during the winter months — and some may even experience seasonal depression as a result.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects more people than many realize. And its symptoms—which can include anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, and sadness—can be brought on by a lack of sunlight as fall turns into winter and the days get shorter.
If you're all about sunny and summer weather, the darkest day of the year, surprisingly, may actually bring you some comfort: The winter solstice actually means the sun is on its way back, and the days will officially start getting longer once it passes.
Considered the first day of winter, the winter solstice is the day of the calendar year with the fewest hours of sunlight.
For people in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter solstice usually falls on 21/22 December, depending on your timezone.
It is the point at which the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun during Earth’s annual orbit around the star.
It is because of this that the darkest day of the calendar year ultimately is good news.
From 21/22 December, the evenings will gradually become brighter followed by some brighter mornings.
In the meantime, prepping for the long and dark winter ahead can be done by purchasing a light therapy lamp (aka a SAD lamp) which come in every size, shape, and price point imaginable and emit a daylight-mimicking light that should make you feel more energized.
They’re easy to use, too: Just keep it on a surface close to you while engaging in the regular activities of your day—working, getting dressed, hanging out at home—whatever.
For those who have trouble sleeping due to seasonal depression (or who find the sound of their alarm in the morning to be the most brutal noise since nails on a chalkboard), there’s also the wake-up light.
This cousin to the happy lamp produces an artificial sunrise meant to naturally and gradually pull you out of your slumber.
Anyone affected by this article should get in contact with:
Postnatal Depression Ireland on 021 4922083 / [email protected]
Samaritans, freephone: 116123 or text 087-260 9090
Pieta House, freephone: 1800-247247 or text HELP to 51444
Aware, freephone: 1800-804848,
Main image by @ninamarker