LWBW: Let there be light! (Light Therapy at the relaxation station)

Hello Moose! The cold weather and short days of winter are predictable. What’s less predictable is the potential for a dip in your mood along with the diminished sunlight. For those mild winter blues, you now have a new ally. We have purchased a limited amount of Light Therapy Lamps that can be borrowed from the college office beginning on 11/30/21. Please contact your RCA/PHAs about them! The lamps are very portable and are especially great for light therapy sessions from the comfort of your dorm, as you can set them up right on your desk. For more information about the Light Therapy Lamps, please visit https://www.taotronics.com/products/miroco-cl003-uv-free-10000lux-therapy-lamp.

Additionally, there will be a SunBox brand lightbox available in Mathey’s Relaxation Station (spot right before the dining hall). For the curious or uninitiated Moose, I encourage you to try using this funky looking lamp. The light therapy lamp is a nonchemical, noninvasive way to give your body a dose of simulated sunlight that’s scarce in the dead of winter. Sunlight lamps provide a concentrated dose of visible light with a minimum of infrared rays and no UV rays. For more information about the Light Therapy Lamps, please visit https://www.sunbox.com/shop/10000-lux-bright-lights/sunsquare/. Using the lightbox does not necessarily cure depression or low mood, but some find it helpful.

How to: During light therapy sessions, you should ideally sit or work 24 inches from the lamp for 15 to 30 minutes. Morning sessions are considered best, but if that doesn’t work with your schedule, then using the lightbox in the late afternoon or evening is OK. To be effective, light from the lamp must reach your eyes. You don’t get any additional benefit by exposing your skin to the light. While your eyes must be open and exposed to the light, you don’t need to stare straight into the box... that could cause eye strain. Remember, effective use of light therapy requires a little time and consistency, but don’t overdo it. For the desk lamps: there are 3 different light modes to choose from, and it is suggested to start with 10 minutes and gradually increase the usage to 30 minutes. The lamp comes with an automatic timer, so you don't have to time yourself and can just enjoy the light!

Please note:

· The University does not guarantee any particular outcome as a result of using Light Therapy Lamps. Students should determine whether use is appropriate for them. If you have any concerns about how light therapy may affect your mood, thoughts, or general health, seek medical advice. In particular, people with bipolar disorder should get advice from their doctor before use, as light therapy may trigger symptoms.

· Avoid the lamp if you have a condition that makes your skin or eyes especially sensitive to light.

· Take special care if you take medications that increase your sensitivity to sunlight, such as certain antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or the herbal supplement St. John's Wort.

· If you have more significant symptoms of depression (problems with sleep, appetite, anxiety, energy, concentration and/or suicidal thoughts), then you should seek professional advice. Consider calling McCosh at 609 258 3141 and requesting a 20-minute initial consultation appointment.

Campus Resources Remember to take care of yourselves and each other, and to make time to relax and decompress. If you need help and aren’t sure where to turn, please reach out and I will help you make the right connection. Here is a link to the “Mind Matters” resource: https://www.mindmattersbook.org/. Developed by Princeton students, Mind Matters provides a comprehensive list of resources specifically for Princeton students, and it is based on interviews with Princeton students. Please review it and let me know if you have any thoughts and/or questions. I am here for you Moose!

Be well, live well,

Dr. Cepin