Worth It: A Light to Ease Dark Days

Much unlike many a magazine editor who recommends you buy all sorts of crap that they most likely got for free, your Jezebel staff doesn't get jack shit (other than books, unsolicited). And that's how it should be. But on our own time, in our personal lives, we still buy stuff. So this is Worth It, our daily recommendation of random things that we've actually spent our own money on. These are the things we buy regularly or really like, things we'd actually tell our friends about. And now we're telling you.

It's winter right now, and although we've gotten hardly any snow in New York, we've experienced plenty of that other depressing thing winter brings: darkness. Since I grew up in LA, where we famously don't really have seasons, I have a lot of trouble with the dark. But I have found a solution.

The HappyLight is basically a lamp that mimics natural light. You can put it in your bedroom or your office — wherever, really — as long as it shines on your face for 30 minutes to an hour every day (they recommend morning). The light is available in a few different sizes and intensities — I have the smallest one, the 4500, and it works fine for me. I put it on the floor next to my standing desk, and use it for about an hour on weekday mornings. It helps me feel more awake, and especially on cloudy days, it makes the room seem a lot more cheery. I think it also puts me in a better mood for the whole day.

I say "think" because this is the kind of thing it's hard to be totally sure about — like anything that's supposed to impact your mental health, the effects can be subtle. But this year, for instance, I started getting down no reason when the days got dark, and especially when I was in dark places, like the subway. I made a commitment to use my light more religiously, and my mood improved. I've never been officially diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I've long felt more depressed and anxious in winter months, and the HappyLight helps with that. I've had it for over a year now, and it continues to work perfectly and brighten my life.

This is the part of the post where I say that if you have mental health problems and aren't seeing a therapist, you should consider doing so (and here are some tips that can help with that). The HappyLight is not a cure. But in my experience, it can help. At the very least, it can fill your room with bright, natural-looking light, which all by itself is pretty nice — especially when it's gross outside.

HappyLight 4500 Sunshine Supplement Light System, $55.00 at Amazon.

Worth It only features things we paid for ourselves and actually like. Don't send us stuff.