Light. It makes the world a better place, doesn’t it? A few weeks ago, a mini blizzard hit our city in the middle of what should have been…autumn. Even though I am a Saskatchewan girl – born and raised – it still came as a shock to see so much snow falling on the leafy trees outside. As I watched this snowy scene unfold through my window, the lights flickered on and off briefly before going out all along our city block. And there I was…in the darkness…searching through cabinets for a candle…and making a mental note to be better prepared in the future by putting a flashlight in an easy-to-find-spot.
Light. It makes a difference to our daily existence, doesn’t it? Numerous research findings substantiate that our brains were designed to function best with regular, healthy exposure to light ¹. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects approximately 18% of Canadians each year ². For many people affected by SAD, their mood begins to drop in autumn when the days get shorter. It isn’t really clear what causes SAD, but it’s thought that lack of sunlight may be a key contributor. Symptoms can include changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, irritability, weight gain, and sadness. Good self-care, effective counselling, and light therapy can all benefit a person who struggles with SAD.
Light. It makes the world a beautiful place, doesn’t it?! I recently received a meaningful gift – a decorative prism that hangs in my window. As I sat inside, warm and cozy, the day after that recent snowstorm blanketed the city streets, I watched as the rising sun hit the prism and cascaded the most glorious bursts of dancing colors around the room. I said a thankful prayer for the gift of light after an evening of darkness. I recalled a quote I had recently read ³:
“Life will have its dark and cloudy days. I think God knew it was the best way for our hearts to truly appreciate the sunshine.”
As the winter months approach, remember that help and support are available if you think you may be affected by the results of the changing seasons. Find ways to light up the darkness – light therapy, a hot holiday, putting up Christmas lights, a fun trip to a local greenhouse, outdoor sports like cross-country skiing or snowboarding, and asking God for extra bursts of His Son-shine during the winter months can all be helpful ways of shining a bit more light in our lives during the winter season ahead.
- Duffy, JF and Czeisler, CA. 2009. Effect of Light on Human Circadian Physiology, Sleep Med Clinicals, 4 (2), 165 – 177).
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