Natural light! It’s an elegantly simple yet well-documented alleviator of seasonal affective disorder, stress, anxiety, and a variety of other mental health concerns. But because it’s a natural backdrop for most of our lives, we tend to only appreciate natural light when we feel deprived of it, whether that be in the height of winter, or seven hours into an eight-hour shift. Read on to discover how you can use natural light to boost your mood year-round.
Introducing skylights into your home can be a surefire way of ensuring you’ll never feel deprived of natural light. Even high quality skylights can provide you with an abundance of soft, natural light in harsh, winter weather, by taking advantage of low angle sunlight – a fixture of winter that’s lauded by photographers for its delicate rays. Skylights effectively light your home even in overcast conditions, by absorbing and reflecting this low angle light whilst ensuring minimal external conditions seep into your home. This means you’ll be able to take full advantage of all your winter light whilst maintaining your home’s insulation. Getting yourself a high quality skylight can also see a significant drop in your utility bills, as the longer your home can maintain naturally-occurring light, the longer you can hold off on flicking on your switches in the evening. Skylights also allow you to bring natural light into your home more organically than windows, as the light source comes from above rather than from all sides, which means an even distribution of light into your living spaces.
We spend a surprising amount of time under fluorescent lighting in our everyday lives, and the negative impacts of all this time can be dangerously subtle. But for a lot of us, there’s no avoiding the 9-5 grind. And our office spaces aren’t always conducive to inviting in natural light. If this sounds like your situation, a good alternative would be to invest in some light therapy desk lamps just to provide you with a little respite from the harsh fluorescents. These lamps, often referred to as SAD lamps (SAD for seasonal affective disorder), are designed to prevent both migraines and eye strain caused by prolonged exposure to fluorescent lighting, as well as alleviating the negative impacts that fluorescent and other artificial lighting can hold on our body’s circadian rhythm. Whilst light therapy itself isn’t as effective as natural light, it can be a game-changer for those days where heading out to lunch isn’t an option. People have also draped opaque, coloured scarves over their light therapy lamps to create soft, coloured alternatives to the monotonous glare of office fluorescents.
The impact that natural light can have on your overall mood isn’t just a phenomenon that’s experienced by humans, but also plants and a variety of other mammals too. If you look at timelapses of indoor plants, you’ll discover how receptive the leaves of our house plants can be to the absence and presence of light. Like our plants appear to flourish during the day and slumber at night, we follow in their footsteps. And by catering to our plants, we find ourselves simultaneously ensuring that we too, attain healthy levels of vitamin D. If you feel like you might need a hand with finding your own natural light habits, it definitely helps looking to a plant friend for guidance. They can be incredibly insightful.
You’ll find that when you follow these little tips, reacquainting yourselves with natural light can be an effortless task, even during the winter solstice. And if you ever find yourself feeling down on some chilly winter evenings, scented candles and other soft sources of light can have very similar effects. It’s all about finding what keeps you feeling warm and content year-round.