I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I struggle with general anxiety as well as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and that I prefer behavioral treatment methods over psychotropic medications. Below are two, non-medication, products that I use regularly and that I find help greatly, a therapy lamp and the Calm app:
Light Therapy Lamp
During the fall and winter, as the daylight wanes, this tool is a must for me (these have been documented to help decrease the symptoms of SAD.) There are several versions of this device, but this is the specific, light therapy lamp I use several months out of the year. You have to be careful which ones you buy as they need to provide at least 10,000 lux of light, the minimum wavelength required to stimulate your brain correctly. Unfortunately, the good ones aren’t cheap. The old adage is true, however, you get what you pay for. When you’re experiencing several dark, cloudy days in a row, I find this helps, significantly, so it’s worth the cost.
This is not a perfect replacement for true sunlight, and it offers no source of Vitamin D3 (I mentioned previously that I enhance my levels with supplements in the winter months). But, when you’re struggling in the midst of a string of several gray days–and especially when you’re driving both to work and home in the dark 😝–this device helps to brighten up your world a little bit.
A word of warning, because of the way it stimulates your brain, it can cause sleep disturbances if it’s used too closely to bedtime. I use it in the morning and evenings, in the kitchen, when I’m preparing meals or doing dishes. Those are the times I notice the lack of daylight the most and these timeframes don’t affect my sleep habits. You’re supposed to sit within a certain distance of the lamp, though I find just having it in the same room I’m in and being able to see the light provides relief.
The Calm App
Another tool I LOVE (and use throughout the year) is the Calm app, available for Android and IOS. Several versions of the app exist, including a free, limited version–this is the one I use. The app showcases multiple relaxing sounds (including heavy rain, a thunderstorm, waves, a sunny lake), and white noise options (such as floating clouds or deep space). These are complemented by animated scenes that are incredibly beautiful to watch. The paid versions also offer spoken meditation podcasts and sleep stories. You can visit the app’s website here or search for it on the App Store. I cannot recommend this product enough (I’ve gotten Mr. Trekker using it as well!). 😁
If you find yourself struggling with the ever-increasing darkness of the winter season, or just need help calming your mind, check out these products!
Have you ever used these tools? Tell me about your experiences in the comments!
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