As much as I love staying up at night, there is nothing so beautiful and healing as a summer day. Unfortunately for me, I live in Michigan. While we do have a fair bit of sun during the Summer, we have nearly no sunny days in Winter, and sometimes Summer can also be pretty cloudy. Some people talk about diagnoses of suffering from poor weather, but in my opinion, it is very natural to get depressed when you have so little sunlight.
Effects of not getting enough Sun
Missing out on sunshine can, over time, have serious effects on a person’s psyche. Depression is the most obvious symptom, but we might also get irritable, and unstable in general. I live with three other people and I’ve seen that winters are hard on our house. We are rarely nasty to one another, but we certainly have more minor squabbles during winter or cloudy days. Poor weather can also lead to problems sleeping. Sleep issues can lead to just about any psychological problem on the planet, so all together a lack of sunlight can do great damage to anyone’s wellness.
The most dramatic effect I’ve noticed is what happens to me when I sleep throughout the day and am only awake at night. I generally avoid words like this but I feel like I start to ‘lose my mind’. My wellness goes out the window. I get angry, very angry. My view of the world becomes extremely negative. Even a cloudy miserable looking day is far better than being up only at night. I know from this that daylight is extremely important for me, and probably for others.
Recommended strategies for coping
The most frequent treatment I’ve heard of for dealing with a lack of sunlight is what they call a light box. It’s a special medical grade lamp that one can buy for a relatively high price, but supposedly has a positive effect on the brain and can be used for about half an hour every so often. Personally, I have not found these to be effective, and could never justify buying one of my own after borrowing one from someone. It’s probably better than nothing, but I needed more
Always use a variety of coping skills
Almost never does a single coping skill solve a big problem all on its own, and lack of sunlight, in my opinion, is a big problem. So I attack it on all fronts. I make sure I take a shower regularly, and trim my beard and wear nice clothing. I particularly enjoy my geeky t-shirts. It’s a good day when I have a geeky t-shirt on. I say nice things to people. I take a break and play some games. I try to produce something of value that helps me feel good. I run through my whole list of coping skills and together it makes an effect.
A power play
I have quite the weapon, though. Pictures. I spend much of my time on my computer. I have several computers, and I love to read articles, write my blog, play video games, and build websites. I also talk with people through instant messaging. I almost live on my computer. I realized some time ago that I could set the desktop background to various pictures of beautiful sunny fields. Somehow, this makes a huge difference. In fact, right now, I’m typing on a computer that I just reset and I haven’t put the happy wallpapers up yet. My soul feels just a little darker for that. I’m looking at this dark gray background, with a moody technology kind of feel. It brings me down, and honestly, I’m going to take a break right this second and fix it
Ah, that’s better. I downloaded three pictures. , , and  from a website called Unsplash. I tried them all out as desktops. I found the first one to have too many clouds. I actually love the occasional cumulus cloud in the mix, but this had too many. The second one, I loved. I wasn’t sure if I’d want to see a human so clearly, but the grass and the sky is perfect and the building is brightened by both. The third one I also love, but not as much as the second, so I went back to the second, and that’s my wallpaper now.
Bright clothes. Bright anything!
I once worked with a man who said he always wore lighter colored suits rather than dark ones at work because the lighter colors helped his depression. I use daylight white light bulbs in my room at night rather than the more typical soft white light. Some people hate that white light, but I love it and it keeps my mind closer to sun. Everyone is different. I actually don’t benefit much from wearing lighter clothing, and some friends have told me they don’t like bright colors on their computer monitors because it hurts their eyes. My solution doesn’t work for all people, but I think everyone can find something that works for them, and if any of these ideas helps any of you, then I’ve won a victory here. And please, do feel free to tell me either in person or in the comments what you might do to cope with a lack of sun. I’m always up for learning more, continuing my role as a student.