Sunday, January 15, 2012
Remedy for winter doldrums: light and sky
If you live in the northern hemisphere, January can be a month of low-level (or not so low-level) depression. Part of that has to do with a rather prolonged detox from the festivities that accompany the holiday season. It's also true that by mid-January, we haven't seen a lot of daylight for months. Seasonal Affective Disorder is cumulative. If you work in an office, it's possible you go to work before it gets light, don't head home again until dusk.
If you've been feeling sluggish, apathetic or bored, or depressed, by all means go see the acupuncturist, get a vigorous massage to get your blood moving, call the therapist for a session of the talking cure. It always helps.
Also, try to get outside during the middle of the day whenever it's sunny, even if just for a few minutes. Stand in sunlight, exposing as much bare skin as you can comfortably manage. Even five minutes of sunlight can help your body produce vitamin D, which really helps ease depression. Try, too, to gaze at the blue sky for at least a little while. If you must wear sunglasses, wear ones with grey lenses that don't distort the color. In Tibetan medicine, the cure for depression is to swallow tiny spoonfuls of ground turquoise and gaze for hours at the clear blue sky. It's like taking the sky into the body medicinally as well as visually. I really love the sky cure for depression. Brilliant!
During the dark quarter of the year, it really helps to fill your brain with natural light when possible. Try this: on a sunny day go outside. CLOSE YOUR EYES! Then face the sun. Let your eyelids absorb some sunlight. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN.
Natural light is something we need in order to be healthy and happy. Spring will come soon enough, with longer days and brighter sunshine. Until then it helps to make sure you catch at least a little sunshine whenever you can. Light is good, let there be light. Shalom.