Is Your Home Making You SAD?

by - December 10, 2018

When winter rolls around, there’s a lot to look forward to. There’s the festive indulgence of Christmas, and the feeling of positivity and possibility that comes with the new year. There’s the inevitable office party and the sense of camaraderie and friendship it brings. There’s the prospect of making memories with friends and family over the holidays. There’s a whole lot to be positive about! However, for many of us, this time of year is tainted. Not by grief or personal trauma (although these can seem extra acute around this time of year, too), but by Seasonal Affective Disorder.

This form of seasonal depression has a habit of making us eschew human contact, politely decline invitations for festive fun and languish at home. The trouble is that although our home can be our refuge from the winter weather and the sadness that it brings, it can also exacerbate the problem rather than making it feel better. The winter can make any home seem a little gloomier and this can only lead to more feelings of sadness and isolation. If this feels achingly familiar, it’s time to stop your home from making you SAD and invite some seasonal cheer into your house!

Let there be light!

In the winter, we can be tempted to shut the drapes, lock the doors and retreat from the world, even during daylight hours. But to deprive ourselves of sunlight is to shut ourselves off from its scientifically proven benefits for our mood and mental health.

Rather than shut out the sun, we should make the most of it in the hours in which we have it. Throw open the drapes, or better yet replace them with blinds to make the most of your light. Now might even be the perfect time to install sliding and French patio doors in time for Christmas. What better way to make the most of the light coming into your home and get a great view of the winter wonderland that is your garden?

Of course, we don’t get treated to quite so much natural light around this time of year, so it may also be worth investing in a mood-boosting light box for your home. It’s a relatively affordable solution which can go a long way towards combating Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Workout from home

We all know that we should get in as much exercise as possible over winter. But for those of us with SAD, the prospect of heading to the gym on a cold, dark morning is virtually impossible. If your home is woefully free of exercise equipment, this needs to be remedied as soon as possible! Exercise is a proven mood booster and a great way to raise serotonin levels and give the brain a much needed shot of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins. The good news is that there are plenty of ways in which you can get a great workout from the comfort of your own home!

Bring the color, bring the laughter!

It’s easy to underestimate the impact that color has on our moods, but if you’re currently in the throes of SAD, a splash of color all around the home can actually make a real difference to your mood. Moreover, if you work from home, the right use of color can even help to improve your concentration and productivity.

Whether it’s with a splash of paint or simply using a few carefully placed cushions, pillows and throws the following colors can make a huge improvement to your mood;

  • Green- The color of nature and plants, green can calm a restless mind and ease concentration.
  • White- Denotes cleanliness and simplicity and also reflects light, making it perfect for small, drab spaces.
  • Orange- Known for its warmth, sense of energy and ability to stimulate the appetite. Speaking of which...

Use your kitchen

A good diet is an essential tool in maintaining a healthy brain chemistry and keeping depression at bay. In this light, your kitchen is perhaps your greatest ally in combating SAD… Which is why it’s such a shame when so many of us leave ours untouched over winter except when it’s time to make Christmas dinner. As tempting as it is to rely on takeout when the winter weather gets us down, get in the kitchen and prepare a nourishing meal made with these proven mood-boosting foods.

The power of plants

Finally, plants are a tremendously powerful way of livening up your living space and creating a happy and restful mood. They oxygenate the room and imbue the room with a sense of calm and serenity. Some of the best plants for mental health include aloe vera, snake plants, lavender, ivy and peace lillies.

If your home is making you SAD, it doesn’t take much renovation to chase the winter blues away!

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