• Mon, Feb 22 2010

Win a Philips GoLite Blu, Fight the Blues

Friends, I’m going to take a break from the discussion of fun stuff like my SJP brunch and lighted vanity mirrors to talk about something rather serious.

Few people know this — I cover surprisingly well — but I suffer from the “winter blues”, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder.

Go Lite Bl

While many people enjoy the snowfall and crisp cold weather in the cooler months, an estimated 10-20 percent of Americans (that’s MILLIONS) experience some form of winter blues, a phenomenon that results from of a decrease in sunlight as the days become shorter. The winter blues can affect people differently, but there are some common symptoms such as low energy, sleeping problems, mood swings, difficulty with concentration and increased appetite.

Mine is really bad — during the winter, I get moody and sullen — almost like perpetual PMS, lose my appetite and yet somehow gain weight. (Probably because I crave the wrong foods when I do eat…and drink), and have terrible insomnia. I am sad to say, that at this point, my especially bad bout of it this season has led to more than one of my friends thinking I am ever-so-slightly unstable. What’s interesting is what for several years I’ve chalked up to birthday or holiday blues is probably not remotely about that — it’s just chalked up to the season.

The good news is that many people can overcome the winter blues using methods, including increased light exposure. You can get a natural boost of energy in as little as 15 minutes a day with Philips goLITE BLU, a portable therapy light product that features breakthrough technology to provide the blue light we need to get through the day.

I recently had the amazing opportunity to chat with Oz Garcia, PH.D., a highly regarded nutritional counselor and life extension specialist who prescribes goLITE BLU to many of his patients. He walked me through tips to help fight the winter blues, and I was then sent a unit to try in my own life. Some of his advice in dealing with this problem?

  • Increase your activity level (this means MOVE your body. Get outdoors in the morning for 20-45 minutes. I work and live in the same studio apartment, and sometimes never see daylight or crack a window. This is a big part of my problem.)
  • Eat a well balanced diet. Also consider increasing your consumption of complex carbohydrates and foods rich in Vitamin D. These help provide mood-lifting energy.In summary, you need: Complex carbs (brown rice, squash, beans), Vitamin D (for your immune system), and Omega 3 foods (seafood). The winter blues make you crave refined carbs (sweets!!) which give you a quick energy boost followed by a crash. It’s almost like a drug!
  • Use a light energy device with the appropriate light (a light that provides a blue wavelength). Research shows that blue light helps to restore the essential light signals needed to boost our mood and energy levels naturally. It can also mimic the effect of sunlight indoors.

I’m going to start trying it this week – it’s high time! – but I’d love to be able to pay it forward and help one of you as well. So, if you too suffer from the winter blues, please comment below and tell me your story. One reader will win a GoLite Blu of their very own! Earn extra entries by RT-ing this contest on Twitter (I’m @alywalansky), and commenting on any earlier entries from the past week. Deadline to enter is March 1. Good luck, and be well!

Share This Post:
  • http://ascendingbutterfly.blogspot.com Tracy @Ascending Butterfly

    For years I didn’t even know there was a name for it, but I suffer from it also. I am a MAJOR insomniac, and also become pretty sullen in winter. I’ve even tried upping my vitamin intake to no avail, maybe light therapy would help! :(

  • http://ascendingbutterfly.blogspot.com Tracy @Ascending Butterfly
  • http://ascendingbutterfly.blogspot.com Tracy @Ascending Butterfly

    I have commented on entries this past week aside from this one. :-)

  • Katie

    I just graduated from college and am stuck in a job that I hate. I always get a little down during the winter, but this has been the worst. I’d love try this to see if it works.

  • Laura

    What a fantastic product! In recent years I have purchased tanning sessions at
    the local salon in the winter time- not for the tan, because I know it’s horrible for my skin- but just for the effects of the fake sun! I hope I get the chance to test out the goLite blu sometime to kick these awful winter blues! Thanks for posting this, Aly!

  • Sandy

    winter totally sends me in the blahs along with all the crap going on- i cannot wait for the sun and am sick of ice and snow storms

  • Jess H.

    Grad school in Oregon means days and days of gray, drizzly skies. Makes me miss the California sun! GoLite Blu sounds awesome.

  • http://littledarlingdreamer.blogspot.com Jessica Eubanks

    I definitely suffer from SAD! My boyfriend and I were actually discussing this earlier today. I used to use the tanning bed year round simply so I wouldn’t be depressed! Of course, I stopped since it’s dangerous, but I would love something safe and healthy to keep away my winter blues.

  • ky2here

    My partner has clinical depression that worsens during winter. We vacation down south and that helps but this would be an extra tool.

  • ky2here
  • Steph

    Born and raised in Northern MN, I know all too well about the winter blues. Its tough to deal with, the lack of sunlight really can have a negative effect on the body. A few years ago I started taking high doses of vitamin D and that seems to ease the depression a bit. The Philips GoLite Blu is something alot of people would benefit from, myself included.

  • http://www.cinemacupcakes.com Jennifer

    I didn’t think I suffered from the winter blues until this season. I live in North Texas and our unusually cold and snowy winter has brought me down a little bit. I’m a Texas girl, I need my sun!

  • Carla

    I’ve been fighting depression for, well, now that I think about it, over ten years. Every time I think I’ve beat it and stop taking meds, something happens and I spiral down again. I have a multi-approach: meds, exercise, diet, behavioral modification. Everything is always more difficult in winter! I have a full spectrum light bulb in my exercise room, but I’m not sure it is the right kind. I’d love to try a product that I know is full-spectrum and see if it helps in the winter. One thing I’m not sure about–is it bad for your skin at all or does it not have UVA/UVB rays? Thanks for the opportunity to win this product~

  • http://www.beautywoome.com Beautywoome

    I’m living in Chicago right now and I simply don’t get how people spend a lifetime of hibernating for up to 7 months a year, with little sunlight or activity! Not sure how long I can be here, but while I am here, you’re bang on about getting outside and being active, even if it’s sadly walking on a treadmill for an hour.

  • ron

    i suffer from seasonal affective disorder and use medicine. but, there’s nothing like some light. however, i don’t always go outside. i left the pacific northwest due to the lack of wintertime sun.

  • Melanie D

    I had this syndrome before it had a name! Where I live tends to be gray on more days than not. It really does make you feel blue. I would love this to brighten my days.

  • Melanie D
  • Linda Lansford

    I always thought of it as winter depression. By the time February comes I am bonkers

  • Amie

    I definitely have seasonal affective disorder. I live in Central Illinois and can’t wait for winter to be over.

  • janeh

    Living in the Midwest, the winters are so long……I’m fine and happy as long as the sun is shining, but when those clouds roll in it makes me lose all ambition and the longer it lasts the worse I feel. I need this light!!

  • http://pregnantkatiesmom.blogspot.com/ Susan C

    Yes, I suffer from this. I get so sad and feel so tired. I feel only half alive. I am only truly myself in spring and summer. I would love to try this and see if it helps!
    smchester at gmail dot com

  • Monique Rizzo

    I LOVE winter but hubby has a hard time. Thanks for the chance.
    mogrill@comcast.net

  • susan varney

    i suffer from cabin fever every year here in maine it hard and boring to be locked down for months each year
    mverno@roadrunner.com

  • http://auntiethesis.blogspot.com shel

    I work second and third shifts, so seeing daylight anytime is already rare for me..couple that with being stuck inside most of the time due to Cleveland weather and I’m in a blue funk many days.

  • http://auntiethesis.blogspot.com shel
  • Cynthia C

    I’ve been wanting to check into light therapy for a long time. Thanks for the chance.

  • Mellissa C

    I live where it can get very cold and gloomy, this can help me out.

  • Tee

    Now there is hope for the winter blues….would love to win this!

  • Saffa

    I have had depression for years now but ever since I moved to Ireland, the intensity of it escalated around winter months and I realised that it was surely SAD. Last year was the worst and it lasted well into the summer and barely lifted by September. Of course it started as SAD and then developed into a full depressive episode… Was thinking of getting one myself so would hugely appreciate this if I won it.

  • Brandon Ralston

    Three months ago I became single after being in a seven year relationship. Now I’m really lonely.

  • Jen

    I also suffer from SAD and cannot wait for summer. This would be the perfect pick-me-up for me!

  • Jen
  • evelyn

    very cool

  • Jessica

    This is such a great idea. I used to love going tanning in winter. This seems like a much healthier option!

  • Jessica
  • http://www.superdumbsupervillain.com Naomi

    I grew up in Hawaii, where we don’t really have seasons, so living on the mainland with the bleak winter can be pretty depressing. I’d love to try the GoLite Blu to see if it helped me feel less draggy on grey days.

  • http://www.superdumbsupervillain.com Naomi

    @superdumb retweeted!

  • Tari Lawson

    Actually I would like to win this for my husband. I can’t say for sure he suffers from the winter blues. However, he is couped up in an office for 8 hours a day and rarely has time to enjoy the out doors in the winter which can be a bit of a downer.

  • AE

    I just graduated from undergraduate, thought was immediately [read: 5 days after graduation] ready to begin a post- grad program only to stress out and wear out so badly that I had to take time off. I had to relocate, cross country from the city where my program was located, move back in with my parents, disabled 35 year old brother, and 30 year old sister who was recently laid off. I usually suffer from SAD [moody, over- eating, incredible insomnia] but my change of circumstances has absolutely been no help. Usually a good boost of sun, activity, and people watching helps pick me up– but with everyone stuck inside because it’s been so snowy and cold, and the lack of sun– I’m left stuck suffering from SAD and wishing I had this GoLite Blu to help me.

    *pick me :)

  • http://samsakara.blogspot.com/ Shilo Beedy

    Every winter I get depressed so easily and end up lacking ambition. I end up very cranky and try to pull myself out of that mood but it can be rather difficult. Other members of my family also have the same problem once winter starts and the snow hits.

  • Deanna G.

    During the winter I always feel crabby and tired. Here in Oregon, the winters are so dreary there’s hardly any sunlight, it makes you not want to do anything. I’m always waiting for spring and summer for the sun to come out & shine! It always makes me feel great :)

  • Deanna G.
  • hj

    I recently got a new job and find that I’m inside all day and get no real sunlight- the sun is setting as soon as I get out. I can tell that I lose energy being around dim fake light all day. I used to walk outside at lunch and now I’m too busy. I would love to try this and see if it helps. I could even use it at work.

  • Rosie

    I live in an area where there isn’t any (good) public transportation so everyone drives for the most part. I try to go for walks when the weather is nice but that can be difficult during the cold winter months. It’s especially difficult to feel happy when you’re stuck in the house with little money. A family member has been out of work for a year so they are stuck in a rut and depressed some of the time because there is nowhere to go! At least if you live in a place like NYC, you can take the subway and go somewhere and do something even with a little money. When you live in a cold place with no transportation and nothing fun to do, the winters can be very depressing and gloomy. I’d really like to try the golite blu and let my other family members try it as well. Thanks.

  • Aisling

    In some Norweigen countries, doctors prescribe vacations to sunny locales for their patients with SAD (that is paid by their healthcare system). I know that on sunny days, I make sure to spend some time outdoors even if I have to be totally bundled up. I’d love to try a goLITE BLU so I could make sure to get some “sunlight” every single day and avoid the down feelings.

  • Erma

    I hate winter. It lasts so long and it is so dark and cold.

  • Erica C.

    I think this would be great to have to be able to pick up my mood. I could sit it on my desk while I work and reap the benefits :)

  • Jill Myrick

    With all of the cold, snow and dreary weather we have had this year I have really been in a slump. As most of my time is spent indoors to try and stay warm. This sounds as if it would be a definite plus to me.

    Thank you so much for the chance to win.

    jweezie43[at]aol[dot]com

  • http://ascendingbutterfly.blogspot.com Tracy @Ascending Butterfly
  • Benita

    I really need this-for my health that is. Winters really do get me down.

    bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  • http://thethingswehopefor.blogspot.com/ Em

    Winter brings out the worst of my depression that medication can barely control. With the weather and the dark and the lack of activity, I become extremely secluded from people, even friends and family. I become lethargic and hopeless. It’s horrible really ;(

  • Joe Kiefer

    This winter has been even more brutal than usual. Help me find the light! A friend swears by these, I’ve been curious all winter…

  • Megan H

    I get bad winter blues and cabin fever from living through the Minnesota winters. It has been an annual thing since I was sixteen and progressed postpartum. This may prove to be my saving grace!

  • adrian

    Would definately would like to try this. With the long winter and snowy days were I live, this would be great to have.

  • adrian
  • http://www.everydaybabysteps.com Mary@Everyday Baby Steps

    My husband suffers from SAD a great deal. He gets quite depressed and angry. It’s hard to see him that way, but also hard to live with him, despite the fact that I’m aware of his problem. I’d love for him to be able to try this. I’ve read that light therapy is tremendously helpful.

  • Pamela S

    I’ve been having almost all of the symptoms you mention….wanting to sleep all the time, no energy, craving carbs, etc but thought I might just be depressed. I never thought about seasonal disorder. I likewise spend very little time outside so hopefully the light could help until the weather gets better. Thanks.

  • karen

    All of the cold, dreary days of winter do start to get me down after a while. Thanks.

  • Huguette English

    I hibernate in the Winter and rarely go out of the house. I miss the warm days full of sunshine, flowers and songs of the birds. Winter has me down a lot and I hate to drag myself around. Thanks for the chance to try this :)

  • Huguette English
  • Janette

    I could definitely use on of these during the winter. I hate being in the cold, so I rarely go outside when it’s not warm.

  • katie s.

    This has been a long rough winter for me so far. Hopefully it breaks soon and starts getting warm and sunny again. I had a baby in late November, so its been a double whammy of seasonal affective disorder and baby blues. It would be nice to have something… anything… to help out thats not a medication. Thanks for this giveaway!

  • Happi Shopr

    I don’t suffer, but my mil does. And a terrible case of it too! To make matters much worse she lives alone, is in her 80s and lives 600 miles from family. She suffers during the spring, summer and fall too if it is cloudy and/or rainy. I try to help by calling her more often on those days, but I have a life too and am busy running the household so it’s usually not enough. Something like this would be a God-send to her and her family, belive me!

  • carol ~

    I walk 45 minutes a day but still crave carbs and am tired.

  • http://jennifer@thegifttherapist.com Jennifer Carota

    This winter has been super tough on us Pittsburgh folks! We haven’t seen this much snow (and lack of sunshine) since 1978!!! It really does takes it’s tool over time, especially when you are already prone to SAD. I would love to win this light…or a cruise…or an all inclusive Caribbean vacation…LOL!

  • kathy pease

    i would love this for my hubby in the summer when he can go fishing and swimming and things like that he is fine but in the winter he just stays in the bedroom watching tv and is very moody which makes it very hard on everyone

  • kathy pease
  • Brian E.

    Thanks for the giveaway…My doctor prescribed Vitamin D supplements, 2000 units, and told me to get some sun each day, outside the office !!!

  • Brian E.
  • Melanie

    During the winter, I just don’t want to get out of bed in the morning most of the time. I know Im not depressed, but I just lack the energy, and I know its the winter blues!

  • brooke

    OH I dislike the winter blues… At first you don’t even realize you have them but after snapping off your hubby’s head a few times and giving your kids the evil look for daring to ask for a second cup of hot coco; it hits you. I get so moody and all I want it to curl up in bed and hibernate.

  • Christine

    Where I live, people do not get enough sunlight due to winter lasting for 6 months of the year. It’s hard to wake up to darkness and then leave work to another dark sky. In the winter when I go to bed, I’d end up lying there for hours even though I’m exhausted – very frustrating. And on work days I feel like I’m dragging myself through the motions.

  • http://auriette.blogspot.com Auriette

    I’ve been feel really dismal lately and have wondered if I could have a touch of SAD. My mom had it really bad when my dad was stationed in Scotland. This was about 40 years ago (wow, I’m getting old!), and back then I don’t know that they had a name for it. She just knew that it was cold and gray all the time and she couldn’t go outside and she felt like she was going crazy. It’s been a particularly cold and gray winter in Florida this year, and I’d love to bask in the glow of that little blue light for a pick-me-up.

  • http://thriftyjinxy.blogspot.com Chrysa

    I live in Minnesota and we have about 8 months of winter so it can get really depressing. This would really help!

  • heather c

    I don’t, but my husband does. Good grief, he walks around saying ‘I’m bored, I’m bored, I’m restless!’ Ack!

  • Lily Kwan

    I get the winter blues from time to time and think a GoLite Blu would help me alot.

  • becky

    It is so hard not to feel down in the winter! i leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark. takes a toll on your body after awhile. anyways, i used to tan to keep my spirits up gave that up after hearing so many scary stories about skin cancer and such. so now to snap out of it, when i feel down, i get my hair high lighted! this light would be a great addition to the long winters we have in upstate ny!

  • andrew b

    i always wanted to see if these work

  • Kehau

    So happy I live in Hawaii… I’ve never heard of this or realized how depressing winters can be for some people.

  • http://ascendingbutterfly.blogspot.com Tracy @Ascending Butterfly
  • http://www.facebook.com/jane.a.ivey Jane Ivey

    I always get this in the winter time and need the help. Would love to win this light!