Beating the Winter Blues.

Woodbridge Harbour

It’s depressing – the end of September has gone and the nights are drawing in. Soon we will be getting up in the dark. I think most of us find it a little harder to get motivated in the winter, perhaps not to the stage where we would say we were actually depressed or suffering from SAD, just a bit “meh”.

Thankfully there are things we can do to alleviate that somewhat. Here are 2 that I do…

1 – Get a “Dawn Simulator” Alarm.

I’ve got a Lumie Bodyclock Starter 3o (there are much cheaper alternatives). Half an hour before the alarm goes off it starts to turn the light on. It steadily increases the brightness so that when the alarm finally does go off it’s actually quite light in the room.

The effect is relatively subtle – I don’t wake up full of the joys of spring as the marketing material for these things implies. What I find is that I’m alert when I wake up instead of half asleep and that actually makes a big difference to the start of the day, which in turn makes a big difference to the rest of the day.

2 – Use Daylight Coloured Lights

It may be a stereotype that programmers like to sit in the dark but not all of us are like that. I’m lucky – my office environment is under my control. I’ve replaced all the lights with daylight coloured LED units. This makes a big difference too – the office is bright and cheerful even on a grey winter day. It just makes putting in a day’s work that little bit easier.

If you’re not as lucky as me you can always put a request in to your building manager to get the light colour changed. Often “daylight” units are the similar prices to other colours so  you can usually get them swapped out, if not immediately then when the units fail.

You can also try getting a daylight desk light – be aware though that when using a desk light you have to make sure that you look away from your desk a lot. It’s rather easy to get zoned in for hours and that won’t do your eyesight any good at all.

These are 2 really simple and easy things that can make a big difference in the middle of December when you start and finish work in the dark.