January is the saddest month of the year, with the infamous Blue Monday, as the most depressing day of the year. It’s not helped by the fact that January is the peak of winter weather in the northern hemisphere, leading to seasonal affective disorder. For millions of Britons heading to work in the morning and coming back in the evening, the lack of direct sunlight exposure can contribute to SAD.
Living with SAD is challenging. Some everyday tips can help you protect your mental health, such as making time to go outside during the day to maximise daylight and remembering to look after your body.
But there is more you can do inside your home to reduce the effect of SAD. Here are some tips to SAD-proof your decor.
Bring natural light further into your home
As mentioned already, making sure you can let plenty of natural light through can make a big difference. Switching your blinds and curtains for a pair of elegant shutters is a good starting point. A place such as Universal shutters in the UK is a great destination for those who love the European shutter style. But there is only so much your windows can do. You need to transport the light further inside your home; otherwise, only south-facing rooms will receive the most sunlight. Smart reflective surfaces positioning can bring natural light into areas usually dark during the day.
Some of the most effective and stylish additions include decorative mirrors facing the windows and bright, light wall paint. You can also consider decorative glass and tiles reflecting the light. You trick your brain away from SAD by creating a sense of a home bathed in light.
Have your own sun
Nobody enjoys getting up early in the morning. But the winter months are especially tricky because it is still dark when you leave the house. Unfortunately, while you can’t force the sun to rise earlier, you can replace your traditional alarm clock with a light alarm clock. The light device acts as an alarm clock to wake you up. However, it imitates natural light to reset your body clock rather than playing a loud sound.
The alarm clock emits a gradual light for a set period of time to encourage a natural wake up. Learning from the light therapy findings, the SAD alarm clock uses natural light waves to access the circadian rhythm. As a result, you are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and energised.
Create soothing sounds
Seasonal affective disorders are connected to the presence of natural sunlight, so it might seem odd to consider the influence of sounds. However, according to research from the British Academy of Sound Therapy, music can have a significant impact on mental health. Music needs 13 minutes to release sadness and 9 minutes to generate happy feelings. Psychotherapists often introduce music therapy to alleviate symptoms of depression and sadness. Creating a unique SAD playlist you can set up with your audio system at home can act alone or combined with light therapy to improve your mood.
Additionally, natural sounds can also improve the sensation of well-being. The sound of water, for example, can reduce anxiety and sadness. A soothing water feature, such as an indoor electric fountain, could become your best ally against SAD. Other sounds, such as bird songs, can also encourage the release of mood-boosting hormones.
January is the beginning of a new year and the start of new dreams. Dreams are filled with hope, excitement, and the promise of a better future. Unfortunately, the positive emotions associated with the new year disappear rapidly. Indeed, January can encourage clutter and mess as people return to work after the Christmas break. Clutter can increase your stress levels and make you more vulnerable to SAD.
On the other hand, creating an organised interior can be helpful to:
- Alleviate clutter anxiety
- Create a plan to maintain new year’s positivity
If you haven’t already, adding a wall planner to your home office or kitchen can help focus on a course of action that preserves new year’s positivity.
The brain reacts to smells. According to psycho neuroendoimmunologists, smells can trigger positive moods and emotions. Clary sage, for instance, is an uplifting scent that can work wonders to balance hormones, and citrus essential oil can work towards easing depression and stress. Additionally, southern smells, such as fennel, can also stimulate the presence of natural sunlight to some extent. In other words, essential oil fragrances could help reduce the impact of SAD in your home.
In conclusion, some decorative choices can prove helpful in dealing with seasonal affective disorders. However, it is important to remember that SAD can be a serious condition linked with depression. While decor upgrades can be helpful, they do not replace professional medical support.
Please take care and look after your mental and emotional wellbeing, especially during this time of year. I hope these tips help you.