I feel a quote coming on… “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” And the reason? Last time I had a good menopausal mutter on here I had just taken delivery of a medical-grade lightbox in an effort to improve mood and motivation. The idea is to sit in front of this box for at least 30 minutes to an hour every morning to reduce melatonin production (the sleepy hormone) and increase serotonin (the cheery hormone).
If only I could remember to sit still for an hour in the morning. I think this would be easier in an office environment. At home it’s almost impossible. Someone needs cars moving so they can get to work. Morning chores of laundry, tidying up, dog feeding etc. all demand attention, paid work needs attending to and so on. Before I know it, it’s almost 11.30am. Do I give it a quick 30-minute blast then, or wrap up and head off out into natural light to walk the dog? Some days the natural light is more than enough. Other days it’s so dark outside that my home office lights are on all day. If I switch the box on in the afternoon, do I risk reducing the sleepy hormone and have a devil of a job getting to sleep that night?
These are real dilemmas. It’s a question of balance. If I’m too tired to function due to a rotten night’s sleep, I am the first to admit to being a little feisty and brain fogged. On the other hand, if I boost my cheery hormone levels, surely this will be good for everyone. So far, in this short trial, I think it actually might be helping. At least from my point of view I feel less down in the dumps, so that’s got to be a good thing. The family haven’t complained about Grumpy Mum for a while either. Mind you, it still has to get me through the marathon cooking session that is Christmas. If I’m still on an even keel by New Year’s Day, I’ll happily recommend it.
Meanwhile, I’m using other types of light as therapy – Christmas lights. Usually, we are first in our village to switch on the outdoor lights. Not this year. We weren’t pipped to the post. We were utterly beaten by 14 days! Now, I love the big switch-on but not just after Halloween and Bonfire Night (5thNov)! I’m not that wedded to wining this unofficial race so we will continue to do our switch-on on 1st December.
This weekend seems to be the sweet spot for deploying outdoor decorations. Every other house in our village had someone up a ladder, with a partner looking on and handing up lights and fixings. It really cheers up the long dark nights when driving home. I love seeing the variety of styles and ingenuity needed to reach the tops of trees. I may need to borrow a cherry picker next year if I’m to keep up with our neighbours!
Our indoor lighting is looking magical (according to me). It took me hours to drape swags of greenery, woven with a gazillion twinkling lights, across the conservatory windows. Trying to get each swag to line up with its neighbour was a frustrating, but satisfying experience, even if the air turned blue at one point when some of it came undone. What’s pleased me the most is the wireless controller that switches on the power to the conservatory and the Christmas arrangement in the lounge. I feel like an extra from the Harry Potter movies, waving the controller at each room, and with a click of a button, powering up each arrangement. I can dream!
In the meantime, I hope each of you stay safe and well.