About this time each year, I start to miss the sun.
Not for the obvious warmth and glory it brings to the summer months, but for the lift to my spirit - the physiological lift that only pure, radiant, living sunlight can bring.
My lifestyle, like most, requires me to be indoors, strapped to my laptop for most of the sunlight hours. And subsequently, it is about this time of year that I start to miss the long evenings, when I am allowed out to play in the sun.
My strategy against the well-documented depressions of lack of sunlight is simple.
Get it when you can
Whenever the sun is shining in the morning, I take advantage of any moments outside to fill my eyes, my brain and my mind with the lifting effects of the sun - however faint.
Even if it is only for a few minutes, opening one's gaze directly to the sun can lift the spirits no end.
I have a more physiological description of this biology involved if you're interested, but if you just want the effects, then keep reading here. Its great for your eyes, your bring, and your bones, plus the whole immune system via the Vitamin D link.
In the summer months, or when the sun is more than a few inches (!!) above the horizon, then it gets too strong to fully engage with, but its ambient effects upon the system are felt.
It is when the sun is lowest on the horizon that it is actually easiest to engage with directly, so clear autumn & winter mornings (or evenings) are perfect.
Simply open your eyes to the sun and gaze at or around it. If you find it too bright, then blink rapidly as you move your eyes around.
You will notice a ring of 'impressions' made by the sun on your retina, so you can start to use this to track the path of your gaze.
Keep your eyes moving (and blinking if necessary) in circles so that the new sun impressions fill in the gaps, or are a little inside or outside the previous ring.
If you find your face and eyes straining to keep this up, then simply close your eyes or look away until you have entirely relaxed, and then start again.
If you are finding too much strain in doing so, then the sun is too high or too bright right then. Try again next time you are outside, a little earlier in the morning or later in the evening.
I have found that a single 2-3 minute dose can lift me for hours thereafter.
And repeating it daily (if you're lucky enough to get outside in the low sun so regularly) will keep your feeling as upbeat and abundant as any winter could ask of you.
There is much more information and detail on this practice and its principles here
In my decade in the tropics I used to miss this practice - because the sun is close to the horizon for the merest of moments in its hasty climb to burning heat. But of course, in such locations, these practices are offset by the ambient sunlight hitting the eyes and body all day.
It is back in our temperate zones that these practices become a pleasure, a necessity and a life-saver.
I hear people talk about the need to fly off to the sun in such times, burning inconceivable amounts of fuel to top up their personal reserves, but if we know how to work with what we have here, there is no need to sell tomorrow's resources...
So, enjoy the sun wherever you are, and send some my way please...