Rockford Should Copy Sweden’s “Light Cafes” For Winter Blues
So here we are, two weeks into the new year, and we've had about 2 days of sunshine here in the Rockford area. Okay, maybe not two full days of it, but two days with some sunshine. Are you okay with that?
Personally, it doesn't bother me that much. My wife Amy (who's celebrating her birthday today) is quite different. Too many sun-free days starts to weigh on her psyche a bit.
Before I go any farther, I want to point out that "weighs on her psyche" doesn't mean she starts to lose her mind, sitting around an abandoned hotel in the mountains typing "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over again like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I'll let you know if she tries to get into our bathroom with an axe while shouting "Heeeeeeres Johnny!" assuming I survive.
I'm sure many of you have the same difficulties with an abundance of grey, cloudy weather that goes on for days at a time. Maybe you've even been diagnosed with something called "Seasonal Affective Disorder," or SAD.
If you're not familiar, SAD is basically a type of depression linked to the changing of the seasons, usually fall and winter, according to the Mayo Clinic. They say that the symptoms include feeling like your energy has been sapped and being moody. In other words (like the ones I used earlier) it weighs on your psyche. Mayo says that treatments "may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications and psychotherapy."
That's where I think the importation of Swedish "Light Cafes" to Rockford would be a great idea for Rockford area folks who could use a pick-me-up during times like we're experiencing right now.
The Local.se, a Swedish news site which luckily publishes in English, says the all-white interior of light cafes gives customers the opportunity to hang out in comfortable chairs and soak up artificial sunlight for an hour or so to fight off SAD or just kick the winter blues for a few minutes.
The Local.se describes how it works at one light cafe:
After placing their shoes in a locker they walk to the breakfast table in their socks, stocking up on healthy foods such as freshly squeezed exotic juices, organic cereals, yoghurts and fruits before taking a seat in one of the 10 comfy white chairs. The hexagon shape of the room enables the light to reflect off the walls in all directions, and thick white curtains block out any outdoor light to maximize the effect of the white light.
Here's what one looks like: