Sunshine on a rainy day: On sunlight and wellbeing

By Erin Stewart

In this author’s humble opinion, autumn and winter are the best seasons of the year! It’s cosy, scarfs become mainstream, the ski fields start to open and hot chocolates become essential. A whole range of brilliant things! However, as summer disappears, the days become shorter, the sun is covered more and more by cloud and inevitably, the sunshine becomes less frequent.

Sunshine is such an important element of our wellbeing and happiness. So how can we enjoy the coming cooler months but also make sure we keep up with the essential Vitamin D our body needs as well as that sunshine to brighten our mood?

Try these 4 simple steps to make the best out of the sun in the cooler months!

1. Optimise sun exposure at the right time of day!

  • Getting outside around midday in the winter months will increase your chance of getting the most amount of sunshine (compared to mid-afternoon in Summer)
  • Increase the amount of time you are outside compared to summer – try for around 15-30minutes per day
  • Make sure arms or legs are exposed to the sunlight. We absorb Vitamin D through the skin so try your best to take off that 2nd coat!
  • For most of us, this will mean eating lunch outside in the sunshine. Take that Zouki overpriced stir-fry and sit outside on the grass!
  • Always remember that even in winter months, UV damage still occurs. So Slip, slop, slap!

2. Make sunshine a useful stress reliever!

  • Exposure to light and sunshine decreases the risk of mental health issues and reduces our level of stress
  • At exam times, MSTs or with all those assignments due, incorporating sunshine will not only improve your mood, it will be a useful tool to reduce that stress and help you concentrate.

3. Open up your home!

  • Open the windows, doors, curtains. Open your house up to the sunshine, whether you are home or not.
  • Flooding your house with fresh air and sunlight light is a great way to bring the outdoors indoors.
  • Having a bright and fresh home will encourage you to get up and move and be more productive in those cold winter months.

4. Make it fun!

  • Make getting out in the sunshine fun! Walk with friends, with a pet, with a partner. Go fishing, or bike riding or just drink your coffee outside on a weekend with a book.
  • Even though it may be cold, rug up, grab a friend and get out in the sun!

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