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Light is one of the biggest influences on our mood. Even if everything is going fine, the short, drab days of winter can leave us feeling sluggish or sad. We’re less than a month away from the shortest day of the year, and the lack of light can be oppressive.

If you can’t afford to move to the tropics, how do you cope?

Here are four ways to cheat the clouds and light up your life — and mood.


Yoga (every damn day)

You need yoga most on cold, dark days when you just don’t feel like moving. Getting out of bed for morning yoga can be tough, but the practice will energise your body, refresh your mind, and lift your outlook for the entire day. Evening classes are a great way to get a dose of light, warmth, and positive energy, helping you extract more from your day.

Get smart lights

Not all light is created equal. You’ve probably heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamps that give off special, high-power light that mimics sunlight. These are designed to be used for brief periods of time, specifically to treat seasonal mood disorders. For regular use, smart lights such as Ikea’s Tradfri range offer a spectrum of shades. This means you can adjust the light “temperature” for a mood-boosting natural effect.

Take a lunch break

It is tempting to hide indoors as much as possible this time of year, but it just increases the feeling of being confined and muffled. Bundle up on your lunch break, when daylight is brightest, and go for a walk. Even 15-20 minutes of fresh air and natural light will lift your spirits and help you feel refreshed and energised.

Decorate with mirrors

Adding mirrors to your home is a fast, inexpensive way to brighten it up without burning extra electricity. Look around your living room, bedroom and bath for places where a strategically placed mirror will reflect extra light. They will also make your home feel more spacious, which is a mood-enhancer in its own right.

Have a great tip for bringing more light into your life? Share in the comments!