Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Help Yourself Through the Dark Days of Winter

I keep running into people who lament the long winter days and say they suffer from depression or the blues or lack of energy.

This once was a bother to me, also. I read about the wonders of light therapy, but the devices were very expensive when they first came out over 10 years ago. I also could not imagine myself sitting still in front of a light for as long as was needed! Another thing that I read was that the body senses the length of day even as we are sleeping, and if the bottoms of the feet can be exposed to light early in the morning, there is a sense that the day is longer.

Mind you, I am pulling all of this off the top of my head from things read several years ago, so let's not get an urban legend going on the preliminaries.

Here is the real stuff, experienced by me personally.

I have not had 'winter blues' in over ten years because I took what I could from what I read and applied it as best I could to my life with what finances I had.

My bedroom has plants in front of the windows, not curtains. At 6 AM, beginning when the days start to be noticably shorter, lights come on by timer to flood the plants in my bedroom with light. 6 AM is prior to when I normally rise in the morning, so my sleeping body senses the 'morning light'. I sleep better in a cold room, so having my feet outside the covers is not an option. I also do not sit in front of the lights. All I do is have my bedroom flooded with light before I wake in the morning.

This 'before waking' light starts my day off right. It can be snowing, raining, or foggy, and I do not notice because my world is bright and sunny, with green plants and light.

When the days start to get light on their own by 6 AM, the timer is unpugged until the next year.

It is not too late to try it. Get a jump-start on the longer days of summer that are just around the corner. A timer is $6 to 8. I use fluorescent bulbs in clamp lights aimed at my plants. Fluorescents take less electricity.

One last thing is, if the day is gloomy, switch on the lights! It works. Take charge of your mood. If you feel oppressed by the dark and the gloom, banish it with light. Again, fluorescents make this practice of daytime lighting far less expensive.

Add to all of this the inner Light of Connection.

Peace be with you.

Photos taken during the dark days of winter at the Cleveland Botnanical Garden.
All photos ©2007Kristen S. Boyesen


Blogger SimplyTim said...

Kristen: Ohhhh! I love the pictures. Especially of the blue bird. Do you know what type it is? I also notice that the feet are facing forward and the whole body is twisted to the right...am I seeing that correctly? Also is the beak actually going into a flower or is it just in the same direction?

I'll post more later about the lights. Interesting.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Thanks, Tim! I do not know the kind of bird. It was in the rain forest part of the botanical garden. And I do believe he was obtaining nectar. The feet thing is handy if you need to stick your beak into flowers positioned all over the place, but it does look uncomfortable!

2:45 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

Thank you so much Kristen, for your visit on my blog and kind words! You have a beautiful blog and wonderful photos, too!

A Very Happy Birthday to you!
(((Many hugs)))

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for stopping by the echo tree, it's been a hard few days to be sure. Ironically before I came to check you out I posted a photo blog comprised of my silly art projects. I love experimenting.
Check it out at:

Art was not encouraged in my house and "Artist" was a dirty word. So I had to wait until I was a grown up to start "playing". At least writing was "legitimate" because they thought I could get a good Secretarial job with it.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Thanks for the birthday greetings from Brazil! Those who have not visited her site may want to do so. Her photos are breath-taking.

It is amazing how often I hear that life-experience, that artistic endeavors were stomped out as a child. Sometimes all it took was one unkind comment about one artwork, and fear of creativity was imbedded in the brain.

I am so glad you did not let that stop you! Your creations on Steel Corset are great!!!

7:45 AM  
Blogger K-Oh said...

Wonderful pictures! I could look at that top one of the blue bird all day.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I could look at that top one of the blue bird all day.

Thanks, Kristin. I have to admit, I had the same feeling, and did not make a new post for several days so the blue bird pic could be at the top. That bird is very joyful! Visit him at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. :)

1:11 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I could look at that top one of the blue bird all day.

Thanks, Kristin. I have to admit, I had the same feeling, and did not make a new post for several days so the blue bird pic could be at the top. That bird is very joyful! Visit him at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. :)

1:12 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

A slight glitch. I commented twice! I do not know how to delete just one comment. Is it possible?

1:13 PM  
Blogger Blackswamp_Girl said...

Ah... how is it that I haven't gone to the CBG yet? When I see your beautiful pictures, I really do wonder!

One thing that seems hard for people with winter depression to do is go outside, but I find that taking even a half hour walk outside during my lunch break makes a world of difference. Even when it's not very bright out, it makes me feel a lot less "shut up indoors," if that makes any sense.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh, it makes a lot of sense. Getting outside and connecting with nature is always uplifting if one does not withdraw into self with distaste for whatever is out there.

Whatever it is, there is something to take note of, be it the force of the winds, the crunch of boots on snow, or the fresh winter smell.

An outside walk nourishes the soul as well as the body. :)

1:42 AM  
Blogger SimplyTim said...

Kristen: I still have that bluebird on my office computer desktop. Just great!

I like the idea of plants and waking up gradually to light. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a birdcage with a few birds and wake up with them - gradually.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Hi, Tim! I was not aware you had placed the blue bird as a desktop photo. (I do not even know how to do that.) I am glad you like it!

I just recently read a new article about lights in the bedroom on a timer, and it reinforced what I said, and added a bit more to the useful knowledge.

Have the lights come on 30 minutes before you are supposed to wake up. It confirmed that the light was 'seen' through the eyelids as you slept, and began the 'day'.

I used to have birds in cages, but now cannot bear to see them locked up. My last residence had a 'bird tree', as I called it, where birds would come from all over to roost at night. What a wonderful sound that was in the morning to hear hundreds of birds greet the morning!

I would wake, smile, and drift back off to sleep. My neighbor across the street, however, woke and could not get back to sleep. :( She did not have kind words for the bird tree. It is all a matter of perspective.

Everything is, of course.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

These pictures are fabulous. You should be proud!

4:01 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Thanks, Cheryl, though it is easier to get great photos at a Botanical Garden because everything is all right there in front of you! Catwalks take you into the tree tops, and everything!

6:35 PM  
Blogger Rollin said...

The blue bird is a Red-legged Honeycreeper. We just visited the Botanical Gardens and loved it. Every day they have a butterfly release at 2PM.

10:57 PM  

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