Illumination Week |

 

In honour of Illumination Week, we’re shedding a little light (ha) on the relationship between atmosphere/environment and our mood!

 

It’s fascinating to see the effects that a change in lighting has on our mood. As the seasons change and we roll into the winter months, the days get shorter, the nights get longer and we welcome the darkness by shifting into hibernation mode. We may start to feel a little lower in energy and have more difficulty regulating our mood to due the lack of stimuli – winter can start to feel like one perpetual cold night. However, there are ways to remedy that seasonal struggle and sluggish feeling, cultivating instead a sense of warmth, magic and cosiness!

 

Since natural light is scarce this time of year, we depend on alternatives to the sun to illuminate our homes, creating an atmosphere as well as shaping our mood and well-being. Winter and Christmas time are closely entwined with lighting and illumination – envision the twinkling of fairy lights wrapped around the Christmas tree in the living room of your family home, luminescent decorations lighting up doors, windows and front gardens attracting attention and childlike wonder, the warm glow of festive-scented candles lining your mantle piece, flickering Christmas lights atop lampposts up and down the street in town – doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy?

 

At a dark and gloomy time in an especially dark and gloomy year, getting creative with lighting could really benefit our tired and weary little minds. Decorating with colourful lights – fairy lights or colour changing lightbulbs – can make a room feel inviting and interesting, really shaping the space and how you interact with it, facilitating feelings of warmth and increased happiness. Standard ceiling lights can sometimes feel harsh and de-energizing, interfering with our natural circadian rhythms and possibly impacting the length and quality of our sleep. It may feel natural to want to sleep more during the darker time of year, but using lighting that causes us to strain our eyes or overstimulates our minds can make sleeping properly more difficult.

 

It’s all about creating a pleasant sensory experience with the lighting in your home – atmospheric lighting, however you choose to incorporate it, can evoke positive emotions or positive memories and nostalgia which creates a positive emotional feedback loop and produces a positive, desirable state of wellbeing! Browse Pinterest or Instagram to search for ways of constructing your own DIY mood lighting – there’s plenty of ways to put your own spin on it and highlight (no pun intended) your taste and personality. Apparently Himalayan salt lamps are meant to be amazing for ambience – they just radiate warm, glowing energy! It might be worth looking into SAD lamps too- they have been designed for people who suffer from Seasonal affect disorder, which means they suffer from depression symptoms such as low mood irritability decrease in energy and sleeping quality in winter. Sad lamps are great for a boost…you can buy small ones that you can take into the office as well as having an alarm clock with a SAD lamp attached. Try it and see if it helps you J

 

Although it’s difficult this time of year, especially in 2020, I would also advise you to get outside and see the sunlight at least once a day of possible – if only for a couple of minutes on your lunch break/ before or after work. Try and absorb as much natural light as possible to give your serotonin levels a little bit of a boost and stave off the seasonal blues.

So I would love to know how are you illuminating your home this festive season? Drop any pictures of your tree, your house, your peaceful vibes or your winter wonderlands in the comments! Spread the joy 🙂

 

I hope everybody is doing well and getting in the festive spirit!

Stay safe and stay tuned,

Claire

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