Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’ | Inquirer Business
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Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Close the curtains, curl up in bed, and switch on your bedside lamps. Yes, it’s bed weather!

I don’t know if its official, but my Windy app shows that the winds are blowing in from the southwest—hence, the southwest monsoon or “habagat” has set in, which ultimately means that the rainy season has arrived.

But the rainy months bring more than cozy bed weather. For some, it becomes a season of melancholia, lethargy, and a lack of enthusiasm. When sunlight is insufficient, “SAD” sets in.


“Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) is a type of depression that develops when there is a lack of natural sunlight. It is quite widespread in countries that go into the darkness of the fall and winter months. People afflicted with SAD develop a dysregulated circadian rhythm and irregular sleep patterns. They also experience a shift in appetite, brain fog, and may have difficulty thinking and focusing. In general, they have a lack of energy or enthusiasm.


The best cure for SAD is to go outdoors and bask in sunlight. But with the rains dampening our outdoor activities, the next best thing is to maximize light while confined to indoor spaces.

If you think you may be suffering from SAD, creating bright and comfortable spaces can help alleviate its symptoms. Here are a few ways to create that mental uplift.

Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Icy pastels, pale neutrals should go onto your walls, floors and ceilings.

Increase natural light exposure first thing in the morning

Being near windows help you maximize soaking in the natural light. I’m really such an advocate for natural lighting. This reflects in the spaces we design, which are always awash with light as it truly has so many benefits!

This natural light therapy is easily accessible and comes from a free source. If it is dark and dreary, incorporate the use artificial lighting in the temperature that mimics natural daylight, which is ideally 4000 to 5000 kelvin. You’ll find this in the fine print of the bulbs you purchase.

Use very light colors as your base or background palette

Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Use very light colors as your base or background palette.

Icy pastels, pale neutrals, and an assortment of whites should go onto your walls, floors, and ceilings. This is the best way to maximize the reflection of light within your spaces.

Use happy colors

Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Use happy colors. (HOUSEANDHOME.COM)

Colors in the warm spectrum like the hues of yellow, orange, and red, like corals, bright pinks, chrome yellows, are uplifting and happy. Cool colors, when saturated and bright, can also be very elevating. Turquoises, chartreuse, periwinkles may not be warm, but are visually soothing. Use these brights as your accent colors against your light background palette.

Introduce greenery

Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Introduce greenery.

Plants and flowers can help bring more texture, color and scents into your spaces. This is where the concept of biophilia contributes to mood elevation: being near or with nature naturally enhances well-being. Variegated species are usually brighter as they are of varying shades of greens and whites. Their patterns also add a sense of warmth and texture.

Keep your room temperature stable

Your thermostat should be set for optimal temperature and humidity levels to keep your space comfortable. Temperatures that are extreme can be physically stifling and immobilizing. During the rainy months, humidity is an issue so a store-bought free-standing dehumidifier will help keep the air comfortable. Ceiling fans also provide cooling during the warmer, humid, days.

Getting regular, healthy hours of sleep is essential in treating SAD

It also allays the development of depression. Invest in a good mattress, pillows compatible with your sleep positions, and blankets with varying thicknesses so you can get the most of your sleep hours. Keep your gadgets away from your bedside and get rid of anything that emits even the tiniest bit of light.

Identify a space near the window for your cardio exercises

Spaces to overcome ‘SAD’

Identify a space near the window for your cardio exercises.

You don’t need a lot of floor area to squeeze this in. Exercise—more specifically cardiovascular-centered workouts, even when done on stationary equipment such as rowing, running, and biking—triggers the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural mood boosters. Other exercises such as yoga or mat Pilates keep the breath in rhythm and help relax the body, enhancing well-being. All you really need is some three square meters of floor space.

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So open up your curtains and let the sunshine in, no matter how dim you think the light is. And when that isn’t enough, work on hacking your indoor spaces to take away the SADness.

TAGS: Business, column, Design Dimensions, property

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