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Beat S.A.D. this winter with design

If you're like me, you start to feel lethargic and unmotivated in the winter as the days get shorter, there's a lack of greenery, and the cold weather makes you want to stay in bed, hibernating all day.

Only about 2-3% of Canadians experience true seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), but many people experience a lesser form of winter blues. Most people who start to feel icky in the winter are still able to go about their daily lives, but they notice symptoms such as increased irritability, fatigue, changes in appetite, and feelings of sadness and hopelessness. And unfortunately for the ladies, women are about 9 times more likely to develop seasonal depression.

The good news? There are things you can do to beat S.A.D.!

Yes, you could take a nice trip somewhere sunny partway through the winter or take vitamin D supplements ... but there are also some surprising design changes you can make in your home that might help!


Getting more sunlight can help you feel better and brighten your day! But in the winter, it can be hard to get sunlight. Try faking it with artificial lighting! Adding more lights that have warmer bulbs can mimic the warmth of sunlight. Some people also find that light therapy boxes and lamps that are specifically designed to combat S.A.D. can be helpful and effective.


In addition to lighting, you can trick your brain with colour into feeling more summery. Adding colours that are warm like orange, red, and other earthy tones can make you think back to summer days instead of focusing on the cold, white landscapes outside. And I'm not saying you have to paint your house red every winter, doing small things like changing out decor and accents can accomplish this summery colour scheme.


When the foliage disappears outside for the winter, it can help to bring the greenery indoors! Houseplants can have a calming effect on us and bring some life into our spaces. The "biophilia hypothesis" is the idea that, as humans, we have positive feelings towards other living things and living systems, and we search out connections to nature. With all of the time we spend indoors, especially in the winter, we can start to miss this connection.

Biophilic design has become very popular in architecture and interior design and is meant to reconnect people with nature. Bringing plants and natural elements indoors can actually improve our health.

So don't let the cold weather and dreary days get you down!

Brighten up your spaces with light and colour, and try integrating some greenery and life back into your home.


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