While the majority of newscasts in the past week have centered on the deep freeze blanketing the country, another item caught my eye: Researchers in the U.K. have dubbed the first Monday of January “Blue Monday,” or the most depressing day of the year. Apparently this is the day we’re most likely to feel the effects of adverse weather conditions, anxiety related to over-spending during the holidays, broken resolutions (already!), the return to work and school, and even the feeling of melancholy that accompanies the “de-decorating” process of carefully wrapping up all the treasured decorations and packing them away for another year.
With all the twinkle tucked and sparkle stashed, no wonder many of us feel like heading back to bed for a long winter’s nap. But there’s more to the urge to hibernate for some people than a mild case of the blues. Approximately 3% of all Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a low- to moderate-grade depression that appears to be triggered by the absence of light. Scientists theorize the lack of sunlight during the darker winter months increases the secretion of melatonin, which regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Lack of light causes the body to produce more of the chemical, making us feel tired and sluggish.
Since most of us can’t simply retire to the bedroom and pull the covers over our heads, it makes sense to reassess just where we’re doing all that sleeping. The key to creating sanctuary of serenity designed for rest and rejuvenation may be to do what we can to fool Mother Nature by counteracting the lack of available light.
Given the dark winters in Scandinavia, where daylight hours are very short, and the sun doesn’t even make it over the horizon for days on end in some areas, it’s not too surprising that Scandinavian design has evolved into an oasis of light finishes, reflective surfaces, and a whisper pale palette of ivories, creams and snow-inspired winter whites. The overall effect is clean, calming, elegant and chic, and yes, uplifting. Need a dose of light and serenity? Try a bringing in light, sparkle and soothing colors through your furniture and décor, such as these pieces from the Sanctuary Collection.
There’s nothing sterile about the Scandinavian approach to winter white. Bedrooms in such close proximity to the Arctic Circle are made plush, romantic and most of all warm with clouds of goose down comforters, pillows and feather bed toppers. Candles in all shapes and sizes add visual warmth and more welcome light.
Along with beautiful linens and comfortable seating for reading and knitting, an ethereal, meditative look is achieved in this peaceful sanctuary with clean surfaces and reflective accents that bounce the available light. Here, a simple, silver branch in a transparent vase brings the beauty of winter indoors.