Girl Talk: How A Happy Light Saved Me From SAD

After Daylight Saving Time ended in November, the old adage “spring ahead, fall behind” began to ring true. I not only fell behind in projects, socializing, and errands, all I wanted to do was fall asleep. Yoga after work? No energy. Dinner and drinks? No thanks; I’d rather go snooze on my couch. One afternoon, I was sitting at my desk at The Frisky office when I looked out the window and it was pitch black – at 5 p.m. Even though it was so early, I felt anxious, like it was time to go home; I could no longer be productive. The bitter cold outside only made me want to hibernate more. I’m the polar opposite of a hypochondriac; I rarely admit I’m sick, even if my body is on fire and I’m wiping the snot pouring out of my nose with my scarf. I’ve always thought PMS was a conspiracy created by whiny women, though inexplicably I’ve found myself crying for no reason at all a few days before my period. So when I mentioned to my mom that I really missed the sunlight and felt like a vampire (who doesn’t these days?), she of course diagnosed seasonal affective disorder, you know, S.A.D. Thank you, Dr. Mom.

Her remedy: a large brown box that arrived a few days later with a “HappyLight” by Verilux inside. I’ll admit I let it sit in the box for a while, with zero desire to either assemble it or read the instruction manual. I had no energy or motivation, remember? But a few days of working at home and the curiosity overcame me. Plus, I live in a studio and needed the floor space.

Boy, am I regretting not tearing it open sooner. This light box has made me a new woman! It’s about 19” high and 13” wide, and yes, at first I thought angels were appearing in my apartment. I’m sure that’s what the light looks like from the outside to passersby, too. Either that or I’m running my own tanning salon out of my East Village digs. I’ve kept it plugged in all day while writing at my desk and I feel so energized. Light boxes really vary; this one has a recommended usage time of one to six hours a day (with first exposure in the morning). Working at home used to involve an unscheduled nap or two. Adios to that! The Energizer Bunny has nothing on me, my procrastinating days are over. And as cheesy as it sounds, I do feel happy.

If I suddenly came into some serious money, I would buy one for all the boys and girls in my life. And while I’d prefer a week away in sunny St. Kitt’s to play and drink with the alcoholic Vervet monkeys, this will have to do for now.

Check out more tips on how to battle the winter blues from our own Wendy here.

Photo: iStockphoto