Battening Down The Hatches [Combatting The Winter Blues]: Mind

You may have read my manifesto (of sorts) last week, about how I'm intending to put measures in place to cope with the long winter months. If not, you can catch up here.

In todays' Battening Down The Hatches instalment, I'm focussing on the mind. Though it's actually a combination of all the things on my list that will ultimately pool together to (hopefully!) create a happy me this winter, one of the specific things I've already started doing is light therapy by way of a SAD light and Bodyclock from Lumie.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

I posted a little while ago on Instagram about how the grey skies affect my mood and asked if anyone had tried SAD lights, and I was really happy when Lumie got in touch to see if I'd like to try some of their products.

If you don't know what SAD is, it stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which the NHS describe as a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern, with the symptoms being more severe and apparent in the winter, and is linked to reduced exposure to sunlight in those months.

I don't suffer from depression, but I feel less happy and driven in the winter and the grey skies really get me down, so whilst I may not be clinically diagnosed with SAD, I definitely suffer from the Winter Blues, or am on the milder end of the SAD spectrum.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

One of the treatments for SAD symptoms is light therapy (which is recognised by the NHS), and Lumie make several different products for just that. They sent me their Brazil SAD light and their Bodyclock Shine 300, and I've been using them for a few weeks now.

The Brazil is their biggest and most powerful SAD light, and for me the effects are immediate. Like a moth to a flame I'm drawn to the light and it makes me feel instantly happy. Funnily enough, both the kids are drawn to it too, yet Ed is indifferent, and it made me wonder if people who don't need it aren't drawn to it. Speculative I know, but interesting...

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

As I'm Antipodean and the UK isn't my natural habitat, I do wonder if that also makes me more susceptible. I'm speculating here again, but it kind of makes sense. Anyway, apparently around 3% of people in the UK are affected with a severe form of SAD, whilst 20% are somewhere on the milder Winter Blues spectrum like me. I suspect that in truth the percentage is much higher judging by the number of conversations I've had with people since bringing it up, in my small 'sample group'.

I have my Brazil light sitting on my desk next to my computer, and have it on for at least half an hour a day.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

This is what Lumie say about it...

'Just as sunlight naturally makes you feel good, topping up with extra bright light in the winter months, or when you're stuck indoors, is proven to put you in a better mood and make you feel more awake. Using Brazil every day makes a big difference to symptoms of SAD such as tiredness, over-eating and a lack of energy and motivation.'

The Bodyclock Shine 300 is smaller, better looking and more high-tech than I expected, and apparently using it in tandem with the Brazil has a more powerful effect on combatting SAD. I'm impressed that the 'sunrise' wakes me up without noise, though you can have an audio alarm set with it too if you like, choosing from the radio or a selection of sounds. It also has a sunset option to help get you off to sleep, though I usually go to bed pretty exhausted and don't really need any help in that department!

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

Waking up with the sunrise setting is said to improve mood, energy, productivity, and you could also use it for kids who wake way too early, setting an acceptable time for them to get up!

Here's what Lumie say about the Bodyclock...

'Bodyclock Shine 300 is an alarm clock that mimics the light and colour of a real sunrise so when you open your eyes you feel properly awake and refreshed. Waking like this helps to regulate your sleep-wake cycle and has even been shown to boost mood, energy and productivity levels for the rest of the day.

A sleep/wake light like Bodyclock Shine 300 is not just a nicer way to start the day. It can help beat the winter blues and is a useful complement to a lightbox in treating SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The British Swimming team use Lumie Bodyclock to get them up bright and early for training on dark, winter mornings.'

I love Lumie's passion about their products and their keenness to spread the word about how helpful Light Therapy is, and I was more than willing to help spread the word as I know that sometimes simple things like this can be so effective. See also Vitamin B, Vitamin D.... but that's a whole other conversation.

French For Pineapple Blog - Battening Down The Hatches - Combatting The Winter Blues - Mind

My Brazil light will be my constant desk companion over the winter, and the Bodyclock has settled in well on my bedside table. I feel I'm heading into winter better armed to deal with the grey skies and that alone makes me feel more positive.

Lumie have given me a discount code to share with you which is not something they normally do so don't miss out! It's active for the next two weeks only, and ends at midnight on Friday 16th of November. Enter the code FFP20 for a brilliant 20% discount.

This post is in collaboration with Lumie.