‘Green’ Ways To Help With The Winter Blues

Here in Canada, where our winter can last five months of the year, it isn’t hard to imagine that some of us can get what is commonly called the ‘winter blues.’

The clinical term for the extremes of this disorder is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Both ‘green’ design and interior design can help you get through the winter months which is not surprising since both areas of design are charged with improving your health and welfare.

I’ve gathered five easy ways that interior design can improve your winter and help with the symptoms of SAD.

1. Natural light is incredibly important. Part of the cause of SAD or the winter blues is our body’s reaction (also know as your circadian rhythm) to the different seasons.

The best help for this is good old sunshine. Ensuring the rooms you spend your morning routine in are full of natural light are an excellent way to kick start your body and it’s rhythms. Open the shades, blinds and curtains and make sure you can let as much of the light is as possible — your body will thank you.

2. Do you leave before the sun comes up and come home in the dark? I’ve been there and it’s rough! The artificial lighting in your house is equally as important as natural light for your waking hours. A proper lighting design has layers of lighting — ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting to name a few. Poorly lit spaces have a psychological affect on all of us, and can particularly harmful when another disorder is already affecting our mood.

3. Get light bulbs with a warm light. Stay away from florescent or blue tones lighting in spaces you use more in the winter. Warmer lights (especially if you can find a bulb that has a “daylight spectrum”) mimic the sun’s light and put us naturally at ease. In extreme cases of SAD, a daylight lamp is a necessity and is often used daily to help your body’s natural rhythms.

4. Plants! This shouldn’t be a surprise to most of us but research in our offices has proven that people who have even a few houseplants around their space are naturally happier people.

Plants remind us of sunshine and warmer months but they also naturally clean the air. In the home, a few houseplants in our commonly used spaces go a long way!

5. Speaking of green. Colour is an excellent way to affect our mood in positive ways. Green itself is an excellent colour for winter months — it both energizes and calms us (much like a walk through a beautiful forest perhaps). White can help you amplify the natural light in spaces that don’t have enough, and warmer, brighter colours (red, orange, yellow tones) also energize and remind us of warmer days.

Not ready to use these year round? Accents of warm colours such as pillows and throws (and perhaps slip covers for the sofas) can be changed out for more calming colours in the warmer months.

So go out and make your home happier! It will certainly help you get through our sometimes achingly long winter months and into the warmer months of the year.

Read the full article here: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/03/03/a-green-cure-for-the-winter-blues