Legendary groundhog Punxsutawney Phil recently saw his shadow (thus signifying another long six weeks of winter), so it’s hard to think about cutoff shorts and balmy sunsets. In order to help beat your winter blues, we’ve pulled together 15 suggestions to help infuse a little sunshine into your life.
Caribbean Sun Box: The original of all sun boxes, this portable (and affordable!) LED lamp has been used for years to treat those who potentially suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (otherwise known as S.A.D.). Its blue light therapy helps stimulate the lack of serotonin in the brain (caused by shorter daylight hours and lack of sunlight in general) thus leading to an increase in your own mood elevation. Co-workers will be queuing up at your desk, begging for a chance to try it out!
Bake-A-Light- Light Box: I'm a huge fan of Kickstarter and one project that certainly caught my eye was artist Keith Curran’s light installation art project! Using vintage pieces of Bakelite, Curran covers old Lucite boxes and lights it from within using LED lights. His ultimate art boxes create sunny (and gorgeous) installation pieces I’d be proud to hang up on my bedroom wall.
The Happy Apps: What easier way to access color or light therapy than by downloading The Happy Apps for you iPhone or iPad? The Light Therapy Box instantly delivers a cooling white light (that which is also found in Caribbean boxes) while The Dusk Emulator produces ambient noise to help drift you off to sleep.
Rise & Shine HD: Is the dark, freezing morning keeping you in bed longer than you should be? The Rise & Shine HD App alarm uses music from your own iPod playlist to gently start your day (and fades away briefly so you’re not stuck listening to “I Got You Babe” on repeat).
iSAD Lamp: Haven’t been outside today since you entered your office six hours beforehand? Turn on the iSAD Lamp for as short as fifteen minutes a day to stimulate your senses, providing overall positive affects for your health such as calming anxiety and decreasing insomnia.
Zeo Sleep Manager: With an increase in darkness as the days turn to nights as early as 4:45pm, your sleep habits may not be what you’re used to. The Zeo Sleep Manager helps monitor your sleep habits to effectively get the most out of your down time. This lightweight headband will help calculate your restorative REM and Deep Sleep patterns, sending the information directly to your smart phone. Discover just when you should say yes (or no!) to that 3:00pm latte in order to help ensure you’re maximizing your time spent under the covers.
Vitamin D Calculator: Curious if you’re Vitamin D levels are where they should be? This (free!) app downloadable for iPhones helps you personalize and calculate your Vitamin D levels by inputting your daily food, vitamin and sunshine intake to determine if your final numbers are up to where they should be.
The Nature Principle by Richard Louv: Bestselling author Louv argues that with our generation’s dependency on technology, we ultimately venture less outdoors, leading to a severe Vitamin D deficiency. Check out this informative book to learn how we can maximize the restorative benefits of the natural world, and increase our sunshine-intake.
Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer: Is there a better way to fake a winter tan without heading for the tanning salon or the Australian beaches? Search no futher than Jergens National Glow Moisturizer, made for all skin tones, which blends on easily, infusing your skin with effective moisturizers. After a daily application for several days, people will begin asking you if you’ve snuck off to Hawaii for your natural-looking (and not orange-y) glow!
Comptoir Sud Pacifique: Trick your senses into thinking it’s mid-June by wearing a fragrance that reminds you of ice cream trucks, pounding surf and spaghetti straps. This fragrant (and easily portable) perfume contains aquatic essence of sea kelp to take you back to those spring break vacations.
Dr. Dennis Gross Active Vitamin D Serum Oil: While I personally haven’t tried Dr. Gross’ face oil, I can definitely claim I'm itching to lather my face with its Vitamin D providing oil. Dr. Gross’ claims to radiant luminosity and alleviation of flaky skin may just be the perfect antidote to cure those winter flakes.
Burt’s Bees Lifeguard’s Weatherproofing Life Balm: Whether you’re outside for several hours or for several minutes, one thing’s for certain: your lips are the quickest part of your body to receive Vitamin D, thus consequently getting sun damage. I’ve tried and tested endless lip balms before settling on Burt’s Bees Lifeguard’s choice whose strong dosage of Vitamin E helps soothe the drying out effects of harsh winter winds.
Linguine with sardines, fennel and tomato: Many studies have shown that not only is your appetite said to wan during the cold winters but also your levels of Vitamin D sufficiently decrease. Raise your hunger levels back up by indulging in one of the few foods that is chock full of Vitamin D: sardines! This insanely easy (and delicious recipe) is just one of many from easy-to-navigate food website food52 where readers chime in on delicious, yet easy-to-make, recipe ideas.
Mackerel Fillets Simmered in Soy Sauce: If sardines have too much of a ‘fishy’ taste for you, try out mackerel to get more Vitamin D. It’s a light fish rich in D nutrients. Mark Bittman’s easy recipe is perfect to assemble on a chilly week night.
Shiitake Mushroom & Faro Soup: It turns out that yet another food rich in Vitamin D is none other than shiitake mushrooms (probably due to their soaking up all that sunlight!). What better dish to curl up with during the cold nights than a rich soup culled from the recipe files of SmittenKitchen?
Megan Fishmann is a 2010 Henry Hoyns Fellow at The Univeristy of Virginia. When she’s not at work on her novel, she’s busy being a publicist at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, writing book reviews for BookPage, and judging fiction submissions for Zoetrope and Narrative Magazine.
How do you get your daily dose of Vitamin D in winter? Leave us a note in the comments below – we'd love to try your tips and tricks!