Monday, 16 March 2015

C'mon Baby Light My... Livingroom!

Looking out of our front room window, I have to remind myself each and every day that I am truly blessed. A hazy, indistinct horizon extends for miles, dare I hazard a guess and say 2-300 hundred miles? It’s almost impossible to tell in fact, as it changes by the clarity (or not) of the sky each day. This expanse of sky, this blanket of light, really does make up for the horrendously small living space our family has to contend with. But the outside, brings its own space into our living environment.

Let’s be clear, there is no room to swing a cat where we live, no room for an extra set of drawers, no room for an additional sofa, no room for a spare toaster! But what a skyline can do is give an incredible ‘sense’ of space to one’s living environment.
 Granted, not everyone is as fortunate to have such a skyline. But then not everyone would want to live on the 8th floor of a tiny apartment in a block of flats either. But the importance of light in one’s living space cannot be over estimated. Even the smallest window spaces can emit a wonderful spirit-enhancing light. But it’s all too easy to forget. Quite soon these light portals (a fancy name for windows) become overgrown with the weeds of home living: curtains, flowerpots, photoframes, bits of furniture, all clogging up this opportunity for essential light. Given that we spend an inordinate amount of time in buildings, and particularly with the advent of home offices, it seems evermore important to receive those much needed D vitamin light rays.

We can all feel a little low in the winter months, darkness coming at 4-5 in the evening, also darkness in parts of our journey to work. But oh how we need our light. Imagine a poor plant kept in a darkened cupboard. How could it possibly be expected to thrive? It would become limp and listless in no time, eventually meeting its demise. We are no different.

Now we have SAD lamps. But these are poor substitutes in my opinion for the real thing. Granted they can fill in the gaps when there is no other opportunity. SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder) is thought to be caused by lack of the neurotransmitter serotonin due to decreasing daylight and dropping temperatures. Light treatment, where the patient is exposed to a special lamp for a certain amount of hours per day for two weeks, is effective in some cases. But I think a good window can work just as well.

So before logging on to your Ebay account and considering the latest state of the art SAD lamp, I would suggest looking a little closer to home. When was the last time you washed your windows? Grime can build up, eventually suppressing light. Also grimy curtains can suppress light coming in! Windows should be sparkling clean, free from obstructions, and preferable close to one’s seating, or office desk. Yes, I am beginning to sound like that lady from the TV who goes around people’s houses giving unwanted cleaning advice. Anyway, rather than buy a SAD lamp, maybe begin with Mr Sheen, or perhaps a new set of curtains – or preferable none at all. Consider the layout of your living space, look for the optimum method for getting light into your home, and soak up those feelgood rays.

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