It’s October and in three short months, we have lost about three hours of sunlight. We will continue to lose sunlight at the rate of about 2 minutes per day until the winter solstice, which occurs on December 21. Many of us miss these hours of daylight–even if, and perhaps especially if, we are working inside during these hours anyway. For some of us, by December, we are driving to work in the dark and coming home in the dark, missing out on daylight altogether! With the loss of sunlight comes an illness called Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D.
S.A.D. usually starts in the fall and may continue through the winter months. According to the Huffington Post, studies have shown it affects four times more women than men. So if you find yourself not feeling up to par during these short days of fall, you might want to consider the symptoms of S.A.D.
Some of the symptoms include sadness, feeling hopeless, worthless, irritable, low energy, trouble concentrating, sleeping too much or too little, weight gain or loss, suicidal thoughts, and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. If you find yourself experiencing any of these to the degree that it is affecting your life, you should see your doctor. You need to know that there is help for you!
Your doctor can give you more comprehensive information, but in my research for writing this article, I found some ways that we can be proactive in the fight against darkness.
Here are some suggestions:
- Spend extra time in the sun. Take a walk outside on your break. Position yourself in the sunlight during lunch.
- Open your curtains, blinds, or shades and let the sun shine in!
- Exercise. Exercising causes your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins trigger positive feelings in your body. They help you sleep better and reduce stress.
- Cut back on sugary snacks. Huffington Post claims that studies have shown that the countries that consume the most sugar have the highest depression rates. Sugary snacks can give you a “sugar high.” These are usually short-lived and cause you to feel more sluggish after you’ve eaten the snack.
- Use light therapy. Talk to your doctor about this, as he or she can likely prescribe a light box that can be used each day. Turn it on in as you get ready for the day and let the rays shine on! Maybe use it as you do your morning devotions.
Speaking of devotions, there’s an interesting parallel here: God’s son, Jesus. The Light of the world! (John 8:12) Just like sunlight, we need him, too! Be careful that you’re not neglecting your time with him. Or just like that loss of Fall sunlight, one day you might find your world just a tad bit darker than usual. If you do, face the son and spend extra time with Jesus. You will find the light of the world brightening your soul!
I John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all.”
Dear Lord, help us take time to be in the sunlight and the son’s light. Empower us to do what we can to bring sun in when the darkness invades and give us wisdom to ask for help, if we need it. Thank you for that beautiful ball of fire that brings us light, warmth, and energy! And thank you for the light of the world, Jesus, who also brings us into the warmth and light of his love. Lord, we love you! Amen.
Works cited: https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/usa/minneapolis?month=9&year=2018