The Benefits of Sunlight for Your Mood
COVID-19 is keeping a lot of people in their homes, out of their regular routines and certainly out of the daylight. But how can this impact your mood? And most importantly, what can you do about it?
The Importance of Sunlight
There just may be something to the saying of “on the bright side.” When we are in sunlight, our bodies receive an important mood-boosting hormone called serotonin. This important hormone can help us feel calm, safe and happy. It is actually the #1 factor that can boost our mood in our environment and it’s totally free! Serotonin is known to be classically low in those who suffer from both depression and anxiety. All that to say, sunlight can also help you stave off some pretty serious things like major depression with a seasonal pattern (previously known as seasonal affective depression, or SAD) and keep you optimistic!
As you can imagine, right now everyone is going through a lot of stress and can already be on the cusp of a high level of anxiety and depression. It is important to remember to be proactive. You don’t have to wait until you feel extreme feelings of depression or even anxiety before you begin taking appropriate and preventative care of your body, mind, and emotions.
What can we do about it?
The good news is that you are not stuck with low levels of serotonin which can lead to low mood! There are definitely some simple solutions you can begin using today. Check out a few ways to get more sunlight into your daily routine:
- Go for Walks at Midday
- It’s a great way to get some good sunlight and movement at the same time. When you travel this is a great trick! Light not only has to do with serotonin production but also with melatonin production – another hormone that’s super important for us, that helps us to have great sleep!
- You are naturally spending time in the sun and are pairing it with a great goal! Both are great mood boosters!
- Walk The Dog
- It’s good for them and it’s good for you! Enjoy spending some time with your furry friend while they explore the world around them and you reap the sunny benefits!
- Go for a Bike Ride
- A lot of people have opted for this lost art. Why not give it a try even if it’s been a while. It can also help you use your brain for balance! Another great brain exercise!
- Read a Book While Outside
- Many of us have had that great experience of “getting lost in the story.” Let’s pair the timeless treasure of reading with much-needed sun exposure.
- Take Tasks Outside
- A lot of people are now taking the time to work on projects in their houses that have been somewhat neglected. Do you have to organize your junk draw? Sort out some jewelry? Why not take that outside!
Well, I think that’s a good place fo us to start. Try changing just one thing about your day and see how it feels. Don’t think you have to completely change everything about your day to feel the positive impacts! It’s okay to start with just 5-10 minutes outside and slowly work your way up to what might feel right. You may be surprised at home much you actually enjoy it.
If you or someone you know could use counseling, please contact our office at 407-630-7529. We would be happy to help you or a loved one find appropriate care when they need it most.
About the Author
Cristina Ally, LMHC, is the owner of Flourish Counseling Co. in Winter Park, Florida. She specializes in women’s issues, sexual abuse recovery and diabetic lifestyle adjustment. She has helped countless individuals and families reach optimal mental and emotional health by providing counseling and trauma resolution in the Orlando area since 2015. She is currently the President of the Mental Health Counselors of Central Florida and is a passionate advocate for mental health.