Do you remember when the last time was you saw the sun? It’s that time of the year again. It has been overcast or raining all week. The trees have shed all their leaves. But it’s not yet time for snow to fall so it’s all gray and gloomy outside. Last month was great with the amount of sunshine we got, and I felt like all my footsteps have an extra bounce to them when I’m outdoors. Next month will be great too. It will get so cold outside that the moment I step indoors this warm, cozy, and snuggly feeling will swell up within me. Unfortunately, right now I have neither of that, and that’s a problem. But that’s okay, because I like solving problems. Here’s my solution:
I will get my own sun.
So I walked down Bloor Street, stopped by the bank to withdraw some money for the sun, and turned on Yonge Street toward the Sun Department Store…
Actually, it doesn’t cost any money, and it’s not in any Sun Department Store, it’s in a library. I walked into the Yonge branch of the Toronto Public Library, stop by the help desk for directions, headed down to the basement floor, and found my sun at last! Here’s a picture of it:
Confused? This is called a SAD lamp, or a light therapy lamp. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition that affects 7.4% of Ontario residents1. We refer to it colloquially as winter blues. That sinking feeling you get when you wake up to find that your room is as dark as when you went to sleep? Yup, that’s it. This lamp is designed to have a light spectrum just like that of a sun to help SAD symptoms such as lethargy, depression, weight gain, and sleep disorders. SAD affects so many of us that in February this year, Toronto Public Library launched a pilot program offering these lamps at two of their branches. Now, they’ve expanded the project to nine of their branches, and that was perfect for me.
The lamp is quite bright, and you’re not supposed to look directly at it, just like with the sun. The angle of the lamp is also taken into consideration in their design. When I’m looking down on my notebooks, the intense light is just outside my view above me, which creates a slight straining sensation at the top of my eyes similar to being out in the sun, if that description makes any sense.
Personally, I would do more with the space around this particular lamp. I wouldn’t put it in the basement, and some fake grass would go a long way I bet. But honestly, I’m not complaining because, you know what, there are eight more of these lamps I can check out.
Now you know the secret! Get your own sun today!
- Mersch, Peter Paul A., et al. “Seasonal affective disorder and latitude: a review of the literature.” Journal of affective disorders 53.1 (1999): 35-48.