SAD Lamps Are Not Just for Winter Anymore

In these dark days, they can bring you a little cheer.

 Verilux HappyLight SAD lamp
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Verilux HappyLight.

I have, like everyone, been trapped inside a lot lately. Going for walks has been my biggest saving grace. After a rainy day early this week, when going outside wasn’t as fun, I remembered that a few months ago, I’d perched on my windowsill a light that simulates the sun.

I had come by it when assessing the usefulness of these SAD lamps late last year, when we were on the cusp of winter. Literally dark monthsthat’s when people typically need or use these things. (The acronym stands for “seasonal affective disorder,” after all.) But because the coronavirus has robbed me of a little natural outdoor time on my daily commute, and generally depressed my mood, I’ve found new use for mine on this side of daylight savings too. Even on days that I could get outside this week, and even though my apartment gets a fair amount of light, I’ve been turning it on for a bit in the morning to fill my bedroom with a full-force ray of light for 20 minutes or so.

This doesn’t fix anything—I live near a hospital, and the sirens are starting to feel constant—so much as it makes my days slightly less horrifying. But that little bit of “sun” light is nice; it is really truly nice, and I need as much of that as possible right now.