How to Beat the Winter Blues

For most of January, I have just wanted to curl up in the fetal position and hibernate until baseball season. When I received an invitation to attend the Citizen “Beat Blue Monday & Get the Most Out of Light” event, I saw it as an opportunity to emerge from my funk and move towards the light. Literally.

Apparently, the 3rd Monday of January is designated “BLUE MONDAY” and is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Some of the reasons behind this particular day being so bleak are that, well, for starters, it’s Monday. It’s January, so it’s cold. The holidays are over and you’re faced with paying off debt from all that travel and gift-giving. And you’re three weeks into bailing on most of your New Year’s resolutions.

But one of the biggest causes for depression in January is that winter nights are longer and we are all exposed to less sunlight during the day. It’s dark when we get up and it’s dark when we leave work. Welcome to the Dark Days of Winter.

Given my blatantly blah state of being, I was quite grateful to see that the fabulous folks at Citizen had put together a presentation on how to survive – and even thrive – during this bleak time of the year. And it was all about seeing the LIGHT!

The lovely Tori Mellott of Traditional Home magazine kicked things off with tips on how to lighten up your living space. Some of her suggestions included:

  1. Incorporate more white into your decor – with pillows, throw blankets, accessories and more.
  2. Use mirrors to enhance any natural light in living spaces such as bedrooms and living rooms.
  3. Add metallic accessories, including picture frames, mirrors and candle holders.
  4. Infuse your space with pops of color. This could be done with either light pastels or bold primary colors.
  5. Create a wall gallery. Use white matting for photos to create a cohesive look.
  6. Consider bold stripes…be it wallpaper or painting, the contrasting patterns (especially if it’s black and white) can really make an area stand out.

Tori Mellott of Traditional Home discussing how to create a gallery wall.

Next up, Psychologist Dr. Susan Carroll Berck talked about things we can all do each day in order to help stave off the winter blues. Things such as:

  1. Eat smarter: pay attention to what you are eating, and especially, what you are drinking. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol can help prevent mood swings.
  2. Exercise! Getting your body up and active releases powerful endorphins that can instantly boost your morale (and your metabolism!)
  3. Start a project. This could be a home repair or remodel or something like learning a new skill. Give yourself something to focus on and take time each day to move your project forward.
  4. Stay social. Not just online, mind you. Make plans with friends and family and actually get out of the house.
  5. Consider using light boxes (such as this HappyLight by Verilux that was given to all of us at the event.) Exposure to a light box for as little as 30 minutes a day can really make a difference in your overall demeanor and outlook.

“Goodie bags” from the event included a Verilux HappyLight and a silver Silhouette Sport Watch.

After Dr. Berck’s presentation, Ellen Seckler of Citizen talked about the brand’s connection to light. For decades now, Citizen Watches have never needed batteries or winding because they are powered by light. As she was speaking, I thought about my “watch drawer,” which contains several watches I haven’t worn in years because they all need new batteries. Which is exactly why I’ve been wearing my Citizen Silhouette Model EW9990-54E almost exclusively now (because it’s always working.)

One of my favorite parts of the event was this video, which shows exactly how Citizen uses the power of light to keep its watches fully charged and ready to go.

And that’s exactly how I felt after attending the “Get the Most Out of Light” event. Fully charged and ready to go. I’ve emerged from my winter depression and I am prepped to tackle the rest of the year. Whatever it may continue to throw at me.
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