Beat the winter blues with these 11 gadgets and techniques

In the bleak midwinter

Don't Get Me Down

Every January, it’s the same old thing. The holiday parties have come and gone. It’s dark. We’re sad. Apparently the correct term for that phenomenon is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and you just know that if medical science has coined a term for something, it’s also working on a pill for it. But before you offer yourself up for some experimental drug treatment or jet off to the Southern Hemisphere, we’ve got 11 options for keeping the winter blues at bay.

Fight the Dark (Literally)
While the exact causes of SAD are not known, there’s an established link between the lack of sunlight and the onset of symptoms. Hence the apparent efficacy of light therapy boxes, which mimic outdoor light, to alleviate depression – users typically sit in front of the light for 30 minutes every morning.

However, light therapy boxes aren’t regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to investigate your options before buying anything. The Mayo Clinic offers an excellent set of recommendations, but if you’re feeling too lethargic to make the effort, the Philips Wake-Up Light comes highly recommended from various outlets.

The Air Around You
Research has also shown that high doses of negative air ionization can be effective in treating SAD. Air ionizers use high voltage to charge air molecules with one or more extra electrons – the devices have been shown to eliminate certain bacteria as well.

Unfortunately the world of air purification is also largely unregulated. A 2005 study from Consumer Reports discovered that many devices performed poorly, occasionally introducing dangerous levels of ozone to rooms. After over 100 hours of testing, The Sweethome provides four recommendations, starting at $200.

Get Weird
If the change in daylight has affected your circadian rhythms and sleep habits, the Re-Timer wearable could be worth a try. Wear the glasses for 30 minutes a day (preferably not in public), and Re-Timer promises that its green-blue wavelengths will both alleviate SAD and get your circadian rhythms back to normal. The $299 device comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.

Further down the dubious science scale falls HumanCharger, a set of light-emitting headphones developed by two sunlight-deprived Finns. Unfortunately, the idea of “blue-enriched white light… flowing through the ear canals to the light-sensitive regions of the brain” doesn’t have quite the scientific backing the company would have you believe. Save yourself the $205.

Get Natural
We know you don’t want to hear it, but regular exercise has proven incredibly effective in shaking the winter blues. It’s also possible that Vitamin D supplements are also useful in treatment.

And remember, if you’re suffering from severe depression, nothing can replace professional help. Reach out to your doctor and get some help.

Now go forth (and pray for sun).