Now the days are hotting up and summer is within touching distance, we are celebrating the mood-boosting benefits of the sun (from now until October whinging is banned in our office!) And because it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we’re sharing our tips on how to fit as much sunlight into your busy schedule as poss. It is Mother Nature’s antidepressant after all!
Benefits of Sunlight on Mental Health
Have you ever noticed that you sleep so much better after a day in the sunshine? This could be because sunlight actually promotes the production of melatonin in your body, which helps you to sleep. This leaves you feeling more resilient and alert during the day which can work wonders for your mental health.
Sunlight also triggers the release of serotonin (a neurotransmitter which regulates mood), which is why some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months when the days are much shorter.
Vitamin D for Mental Health
Increased vitamin D is another positive side effect of sunlight, and there is lots of evidence that it helps to regulate mood and decrease symptoms of mild depression (as well as a host of physical benefits such as strengthening your immune system).
We get it, it’s all very well us harking on, but when you’re stuck at your desk looking out onto a beautiful Summer’s day, the FOMO is real. So our advice would be…
-Make the most of your lunch break
Go al-fresco and eat your lunch outside if you can. If your office is based in a less-than-picturesque area, maybe swap the picnic for a stroll round the block to build up an appetite for when you get back to the office!
-Wake up earlier
Squeeze in a bit of sun before you go to work. Whether you walk to the office, sit in the garden for your morning coffee or give the dog an early morning walk, get out there!
-Plan after-work activities
Rather than arranging to meet friends in the late evening (for a session of sports or a session of beers), bring it forward a few hours and go straight from work. You’ll catch the sun while it’s still at its strongest.
-Position your desk near a window
You can still feel the bens of sunshine through a pane of glass (even double glazed) so drag your desk to the nearest window and bask in the golden glow all day long. Plus it’s cheaper than having the lights on…energy crisis and all that.
So now you’re going to have to think of a new excuse for being moody 😉