Karen Swartz, M.D., offers some light-therapy options for those on a tight budget:
• A light on a timer.
If your experience with SAD includes difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, try putting a lamp in your bedroom on a timer. You probably won’t want this to be a bedside lamp, however, as the transition from dark to light is an abrupt one.
• Light bulbs.
Natural spectrum light bulbs are touted more of the spectrum of natural daylight. Art supply stories often carry them, as artists prefer full-spectrum light, but even some major manufacturers have jumped on this bandwagon. Consider trying them out in your reading lamps or at your desk. Another option: the “growth lights” sold for plants.
• A midday walk.
Even on cloudy and overcast days, the brief exposure to midday light gained during a walk outside is reported to help some people. This may be due more to exercise’s proven ability to help alleviate depression, but the light exposure may provide some added benefit.