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June 2024
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Lack of Vitamin D Not Something to Be Made ‘Light’ Of

Combating Blue Monday through Light Therapy

Consider using light therapy to combat the winter blues.

Has the winter season got you down?  If so, you’re not alone.  Because today, the third Monday in January, is Blue Monday—the most depressing day of the year.

I’m not sure how Blue Monday came to be, but apparently a lot of research has been done on this day, and work absenteeism has historically been high.

When you stop and think about it, I suppose it makes sense that this day is so depressing:  Spring seems like it’s light years away, the Christmas season seems like it was months ago, it’s dark outside when you leave for work and it’s dark outside when you come home from work, and there’s just a general sense of blah about life in general.

Of course this kind of thinking gets us nowhere, and as difficult as it may be, you have to actively seek out the positives in every situation life throws at you.  As the song says, you have to “always look at the lighter side of your life.”

And speaking of light, one way to make this a reality is through light therapy.

Our underexposure to light in the winter months has a serious impact on our overall health, our mental health included.  The sun simply doesn’t appear as often in the winter months as it does the summer months (damn that daylight saving time!), and this lack of light has a serious impact on our moods, our behaviors, our thinking processes and our immunity from diseases (studies show that vitamin D deficiency increases the incidence and severity of osteoporosis, fractures, osteopenia, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases).

In light of this (pardon the pun), a new study from the University of California says that the recommended intake for people in the winter months ought to be increased from 200 IUs per day to 2,100 IUs for people with dark complexion and 3,100 IUs for people with light complexions.  The study says that the only way for people to achieve a vitamin D sufficiency is through high doses such as these.

To combat the winter blues and future Blue Mondays, I highly recommend getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight.  This is difficult to do on overcast days, but when the sun does shine, make good use of it.  Spend at least 30 minutes outdoors, preferably between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  That’s when the sun’s rays are most direct.

Now, obviously, we all have personal and professional lives, and life’s daily tasks don’t always permit our basking in the sun.  If you find that this is the case for you, I highly recommend purchasing a light therapy box.  The light that these boxes emit is obviously not natural sunlight, but it’s as close to the real thing as it gets by mimicking the effects sunlight has on our psyche.

(Note:  Light therapy boxes produce a special kind of light, so don’t think that turning on more lamps and wall switches in your home will solve the problem).

Blue Mondays have to be fought and you can win that battle through the beneficial effects of light therapy.


Related Posts

  1. Shining the Light on Brown Fat
  2. Benefits of Vitamin D for Heart Disease
  3. Kids See the Light: Outdoor-Dwelling Kids Have Better Eyesight, Study Finds
  4. Heart Disease Death Risk Lowered by One-Third Through Vitamin D, Study Says
  5. Vitamin D: The Versatile Vitamin

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