This time of year, when the days are short, many people suffer from the lack of sunshine. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, makes people feel depressed and low on energy. There are some natural ways to deal with this problem.

First, try to get outside in the fresh air to walk and absorb daylight for an hour a day. If you wear eyeglasses, take them off so that the full spectrum of light can reach the retinas of the eyes, keeping in mind that it is never advisable to look directly into the sun, but rather to gaze gently towards the light, without actually focusing on the sun. This is true whether the sun if in full view or covered by clouds.

The skin absorbs Vitamin D directly from sunlight. Depression can be a symptom of a Vitamin D deficiency, which can affect serotonin levels. Getting enough exposure to the sun is essential to emotional and physical health, and sunbathing, if done correctly, is therapeutic, and deeply healing for some.

Second, when you are inside, use full-spectrum lighting, which most closely resembles sunlight. It contains the full color spectrum of the rainbow including the colors visible and invisible to the human eye. This light is roughly equivalent to standing outdoors on a spring day. Full-spectrum lighting also contains some amount of infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths in quantities that are safe and essential for good health and will not cause human skin to burn or tan.

Full spectrum lighting is most often used for improving mood. People find increased energy, enhanced mental awareness, and increased productivity when working in natural light. The visible color scale of full spectrum light lends itself to visual clarity and decreased eye strain and fatigue. The spectrum of natural light is also believed by many to positively affect the human immune system and lead to better sleep.

So make an effort to get outside today. It is a great preventative measure to help avoid SAD even if you do not suffer from it, and if you do, take in the sunlight whenever you can, and change your light bulbs today!