Luckily, we are not in the Arctic Circle, where we would have almost 24 hours of darkness, But we are close, so the days are definitely shorter. One of the things people have asked about the most is
"How dark is it there?"
"Do you have ANY sunlight?"
"How do you survive without the Sun?
Since we got here mid November, we have definitely been seeing significantly less each day. Today, sunrise was at a little after 10 am, and sunset is at about 3:45. Short. Yes. Over the next few days, until Dec 21, Winter Solstice, we will continue to lose more daylight. On the flipped- when there is clear skies, the sun is so low on the horizon that it is ALWAYS in your face when you are driving. So its hard to decide if you even LIKE the Sun at all. The light then glistens off the ice on the road... really not a good combination.
I have always been very open about my battles with depression (post part or clinical)... so several people were concerned about the lack of sunlight and my mental health. So I've been watching myself, my moods, my thoughts, my energy levels since we got here.
About 3 weeks after we got here, I had a rough UGLY weekend. We had errands to run, the boys really didn't want to be running errands, but were being good (besides obnoxious "boy noises" that are constantly being made.) I just realized that I had NO patience and I was a cranky for no reason. I felt like I hadn't been taking my antidepressant in weeks. So I took sometime to reflect and realized that I was turning into a bear... I completely understand the need to hibernate now. It is so easy when the days are short and the weather is cold, to be exhausted ALL. THE. TIME. With the kids gone to school during the week I had no reason to not fall asleep and take a 4 hour nap, and still go to bed and sleep all night. I love to sleep, but it was becoming excessive, quickly and I was horrible without it.So, I started taking Vitamin D supplements and started using my "happy light".
Companies make these lights that emit a full spectrum of light rays that your body uses to help balance your moods for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). To be honest, I was a bit skeptical about if it would really work. I plugged it in one morning, and sat with it in front of me. You're not supposed to look directly at it (and who could... the thing is BRIGHT) but your eyes are collecting/processing the light, so you need it within 2 feet of your face, but slightly off to the side, not directly in front of you. After about 10 minutes I had a headache. Not a normal head ache (for me), so i turned it off... and in about 15 minutes I felt like I had energy and that it was a bright, new day and I was ready for anything! My family commented on how my presence was cheerier, and my conversations were lighter, the tone in my voice was more pleasant. It was really remarkable to see and feel such a difference. Every morning I turn on my "happy light" for about 15 minutes before I go and get the boys ready for school. Its been a little over a week and I really haven't felt low like that since before I started using my "happy light". I'm not getting the headaches with it anymore either. (The headaches were normal side effects). I highly recommend a light like this for anyone who suffers from the "winter blues". Its really made a difference for me.