This month in the northern hemisphere we celebrate the summer solstice, aka the first day of summer.
For many people, this is their favorite time of year. The weather is lovely; you can get outside for walks in the sunshine and sit out on your patio with a good book in the cool evening. No shoveling snow, no traipsing through puddles in your galoshes.
But for some people, summer keeps them cooped up in the house just as much a winter does. When the heat sets in and you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, or the humidity is so high it feels like you walked into a sauna when you walk out the door of your house, you feel more like staying inside with the air conditioner blasting than getting a dose of sunshine.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is talked about a lot. SAD affects more than 10 million Americans. But there isn’t a lot of conversation about what high heat does to our attitudes.
Even here in Colorado, Gaiam’s home state, the heat can get unbearable in the summer. So I rely on these three things to keep myself feeling good when the sun is baking the world outside my window.
I find color fascinating. The light frequencies we experience as color define our world in wondrous ways. Visualize an azure ocean, a verdant forest or a crimson sunset — these are all examples of color environments, which positively influence our emotions and restore our health.
As an interior designer, I know the power color has in defining a space and ‘creating a mood.’ We have all experienced that instant chill when entering
a ‘cold room,’ which has nothing to do with its temperature. Conversely, we automatically feel more relaxed and engaged in a warm-hued environment.
Think of a dining room painted a luscious burnt umber (dark red orange), such as Pantone’s color of 2012: Tangerine Tango.
I’m also mesmerized by the blue winter hues that abound right now and their accompanying reflections in snow — so dreamlike and otherworldly. This is the time of year we ‘go inside,’ both physically and figuratively. It is a wonderful time to do what the earth does: retreat deep within and cultivate inner renewal (hence, the perfect time for resolutions).
Unfortunately, it is also during these short days when many of us experience the ‘winter blues.’ Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is now recognized as a common
disorder, affecting some people severely. But there are ways, other than jetting off to a tropical island (which I also recommend), to make these cold days
Could you be suffering from malillumination? Photobiologist John Ott coined the term to describe inadequate sunlight intake. He and others call the light from the sun a super nutrient — and we aren’t getting enough of it.
The light starts returning today. Why not mark the Winter Solstice (December 21) as an ongoing celebration over the next few days and weeks?