With Winter here and still a couple of months to go, we might be battling a little bit of the Winter Blues. We’ve heard that term and it seems like something we just say, but there is actually a technical diagnosis for this feeling. It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Over 3 million Americans are diagnosed each year, but we don’t need a full diagnosis to help us get through the dreary days of Winter…we can start right here in our own homes! I’m going to show you how to easily switch up your home décor to help lighten your mood and brighten your spirit! These are small things…but these small things can help make a BIG difference in the way that you feel.
Normally, when I am decorating or staging a house, I like to appeal to the most amount of people, so I will play it safe with colors and décor. We are going to do the opposite here…We are going to focus on our own personal senses. And since all of this is temporary, you can go back to your regular décor when the weather improves.
SIGHT: The main thing that affects us this time of year is the lack of sunlight. According to the APA (American Psychological Association), the best way to combat this is something called “light therapy”. You can buy specialized lamps that emit bright light to mimic natural outdoor light. For example, this one here features 10,000 LUX brightness, and most of these lights are under $100. You would use this during the day when you would naturally be exposed to sunlight. At night, you need to wind down to get a good night’s sleep, so only keep the light on during the day.
For those of you that don’t want to make this investment, and haven’t been diagnosed with SAD, there are simple ways to improve the light in your existing fixtures by switching out the bulbs from warm to cool light.
What I learned doing this research is that “brightness” is not the same as warm vs. light. What we are looking for here is color temperature. I this example, you can see the lamp on the left casts a warm, almost yellow glow. While this is cozy and may help at night time, it will NOT help with depression. The lamp on the right casts a cool, almost white/blue glow. This will elevate mood while brightening the room up.
Apart from sight, smell is our next important sense. It is the strongest “memory sense” that we have, so making sure that your house smells great is important. There are a couple of ways to do this:
Aromatherapy diffuser: You can use this with essential oils. The best ones to use this time of year to improve your mood are: Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint
- Reed diffuser:This is similar to the diffuser above which emits a lighter smell, but requires no active maintenance.
Sight and smell are the most important aspects of getting rid of the Winter Blues, but let’s not forget about the other senses. This is really where we can put our interior design hats on and take care of our senses through décor.
OTHER SENSES: Touch, taste and hearing. As we move in to our other senses, you will see that there is a lot of overlap. That is ok…the more we can improve our senses, the happier we will be!
- Decorative Throw: As you can see here, I have a soft, white decorative throw on the couch. Not only does this blanket brighten the area with its crisp white color, it enhances our sense of touch. Pick something that is soft, warm and cuddly. Bonus – if you are using this in your bedroom, buy a 2-toned blanket. White to brighten the day and blue to get you to sleep.
- Temporary, colorful artwork:Chose something that reminds you of something you love – the beach, hiking, nature, etc.
- Tea: Have a cup of hot tea. Feel the warmth of the cup in your hands and the warmth of the tea as you drink it.
- Music:Have soothing music on in the background, or get sounds of nature to play. They have wonderful apps that you can get on your phone.
- Clean:Make sure your surfaces are clean and decluttered. Use a natural product with lemon it is as a cleaner.(This will give you a real lemon smell instead of chemically-induced smell).
- Fresh Flowers:This add colors and can add a beautiful smell to your home.
All of these items together will brighten up your home and help you get through dreary days of Winter. The best part is that you can keep all of these things up all year round, or save them for the Winter months only. Either way, it will elevate your mood and help you feel better overall until that sun comes back to us!
If you missed the episode check it out by heading over to Home & Family!