All Hail The Light Box

Light box

The seasons are changing, as we’re all aware, and the Indian summer we experienced a couple of weeks ago is now a fading memory.

I tend to struggle a bit when it gets to this time of year but generally just try to ignore my sluggish sense of being and low mood until it passes. But this year, Mr Weatherman has well and truly been playing with my heart strings, offering up inexplicably glorious days at the beginning of October, only to replace them a few days later with soggy doom and gloom.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a light box for a couple of years now, in an attempt to combat the winter blues, although I’ve never really got as far as buying one, for one reason or another. But when I woke up on Monday to a wet, overcast and generally bleak morning, with a mood that matched the weather, I decided that I wasn’t going to feel like this for the next six months and resolved to give this light therapy thing a go.

For me, using a light box at work would be the most convenient place – I spend five out of seven days in the office and the neat little box fits well on my desk whilst I work, so would be the perfect wake up call when I roll up at my desk each morning. That said, I was nervous about ordering the box to arrive at the office, unsure about what my colleagues would say. It was inevitable that I’d get questions like “what’s that for?”, and I didn’t really feel comfortable about replying with “well, I’m a miserable bitch who can’t make it through the winter and I need some help. But I’m not insane – honest!”

‘I’ll soon be sat at my desk with my light box on, wearing a bikini and sipping a cocktail, just hoping to catch a tan from its rays…’

As many as 1 in 8 people in the UK get the winter blues though, and at least 1 in 50 people are thought to suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), so I told myself that I wasn’t alone in feeling affected by the season change and shouldn’t feel ashamed for seeking out ways to alleviate the struggle.

Luckily, I received really positive feedback from colleagues when the box arrived yesterday. I did get the awkward “what do you use that for?” question but we all managed to have a laugh and joke about how I’ll soon be sat at my desk with my light box on, wearing a bikini and sipping a cocktail, just hoping to catch a tan from its rays. Now, that image alone is enough to cheer me up!

The box that I have bought (a Lifemax Light Pod) advises that you do not use it for more than 45 minutes a day, which is a non-intrusive little chunk of time, although a colleague of mine suggested that I live dangerously and carry my Light Pod around on my shoulder, like a boom box – another image that raised a smile, so already, my light box has brightened my mood with all the laughs it’s given us! :)

9 Comments

  1. Jo-Jo October 14, 2011 / 11:56 am

    Has it been PAT tested? lol. I bought mine 25th October 2010 same make cost £36 of Amazon, but haven’t brought it to work cause it has to be PAT tested, so I only get to use it at home before I go to work. I was actually thinking just this morning, shall I get it out? as it is pitch black at 6am when I get up. I don’t feel too bad at the mo so thought I will save it for the full depths of depression :-(.

    • jenieveve October 14, 2011 / 12:01 pm

      Get it out now! You’re advised to start using them before you feel the full effects of your SAD, if possible, so you don’t reach those lows :)

      • Robin. October 14, 2011 / 12:56 pm

        I challenged this at my work, turns out there is no legal requirement to PAT test anything so I just plug my stuff in. If they’re bothered, tell them to get a PAT tester in.

        • jenieveve October 14, 2011 / 1:13 pm

          That’s good to hear because we had our stuff PAT-tested at work about a month ago, so I’ve just missed the boat and would hate for them to send my light box packing!

  2. Rachel White October 14, 2011 / 12:04 pm

    Your not alone!!!! I have the same issue as does my Mum and I find it such a difficult time and every passing winter day seems a struggle. I have an immediate slump when the longest day arrives, knowing its only going to get darker from here on in. But its worth keeping in mind that the shortest day has come and gone before Christmas which is something to keep me focused on. I’ve tried everything over the years exercising my way through it, keeping a better diet, even watching more comedy films and TV but nothing really helps. Our light box is currently in the loft, and with birthdays, Christmas prep and general life it gets left up there until its too late. This year I’ve decided alongside your efforts I will retrieve that magnificant box of light therapy and in the words of Take That. “Just let it shine, shine, shineeeeee” Let’s do this thing!

    • jenieveve October 14, 2011 / 12:44 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Rach, it’s reassuring (well, as reassuring as it can be to hear that someone is miserable) to hear that other people are feeling the same.
      Come on, get the light box out and let’s blitz the winter blues! Let me know how you get on with it x

  3. Cheryl October 18, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    I am looking at purchasing this from eBay priced at £30, I also have the PAT testing problem but will just sit it on my desk I think, plead dumb which isn’t too hard?!? I would be interested to hear from people who have had success with this, it’s z first for me after my “therapist” diagnosed SAD 12 months ago, I have noticed the last couple of weeks that I am beginning to feel agitated and a bit low but wondered if I was being paranoid and talking myself into feeling it?- tis not a nice feeling ax you guys know!

    • jenieveve October 22, 2012 / 10:12 am

      Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks for your comment. I am yet to use my light box this year but I really think I should begin using it as soon as possible as the mornings are getting darker and you’re advised to begin using it as soon as the season begins to change, even if you’re not yet experiencing the SAD symptoms to hopefully counteract reaching those lows.
      I don’t know for sure whether it was down to using the light box but last year, I didn’t feel the symptoms of SAD half as much as I had in previous years so I’d like to think the light box had something to do with it!
      Hope it helps for you x

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