Hey all. How wonderful was it when we were easing out of lockdown number 5.0. How unfortunate that we find ourselves in lockdown 6!
I know the uncertainty of lockdown can take a toll on our mental health, and the cold Melbourne weather certainly makes it all the more miserable. But, luckily, given what’s been going on in the other states with COVID in recent months, I’m kinda glad we are in Victoria; there’s sunlight at the end of the tunnel.
As some of you know, I was very blessed to be able to get across the border and enjoy my holiday in Far North Queensland when it and Victoria were complete green zones before lockdown 5. In contrast to Melbourne, the weather was warm and sunny. I’m sorry for those people who were not as fortunate as I with their holidays and I hope you get there soon.
While I was away and enjoying the sunshine, I began thinking about how sunshine is one of natures best wellbeing remedies. So, on my return, I asked Eireann, my very competent admin assistant, to source some information about the sunshine’s benefits. Whilst we are back in lockdown, take the opportunity everyday, to get whatever bit of sunshine available.
We are all aware that too much sun exposure can be damaging to our skin. But, what a lot of people don’t know is that there are also many mood-lifting benefits associated with it. Hormones in the brain can be triggered by different levels of sunlight and darkness. Serotonin is the mood lifting hormone in the brain. It has calming effects, and is thought to be stimulated by exposure to sunlight. Conversely, melatonin is the ‘sleep hormone’ and is triggered by darkness, which consequently explains why sometimes we feel lethargic and fatigued when staying indoors for too long.
When we don’t get enough sunlight, our serotonin levels can drop, which is associated with depression. This can also explain why many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months, as exposure to sunlight is far more limited compared to that in Summer.
Beyond the mood-lifting benefits, the sun’s UV also causes the skin to create vitamin D. This helps to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. Conversely, a lack of sunlight can result in depleted levels of vitamin D, which can lead to bone density issues and deformities. Getting just 15 minutes of sunlight a couple of times a week is enough to activate the vitamin D benefits.
Additionally, the World Health Organisation has also reported skin healing properties of UV rays, including the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne.
Even in the winter months, it is possible to get enough sunlight! You don’t have to be outside for hours on end to see the benefits. A simple 15 minute walk around the block would be sufficient. If you are working from home you could move your ‘setup’ to an open window, or read a book outside. I encourage you to try and improve your amount of sun exposure, but always remember to slip, slop, slap during extended exposures especially!!
Healthline. 2020. What are the Benefits of Sunlight? https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight
Healthline. 2020. 3 Surprising Benefits of Vitamin D. https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#fights-disease
WHO. 2017. Radiation: The known health effects of ultraviolet radiation. https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/radiation-the-known-health-effects-of-ultraviolet-radiation
Thanks Eireann. I’m sure that most of us prefer to be outdoors during a sunny day. I don’t mean a hot hot day like we get during our Aussie summers. But, a nice sunny, mild day. Remember, if you need some support emotionally, call me on 0411 319 990.
Or any of my colleagues:
Remedial & Relaxation Massage Therapist
Naturopath and Sports Kinesiologist
Psychologist & Neuropsychological Rehabilitation
Counsellor and Art Therapist
Meditation & Holistic Counsellor