Our Wellbeing Expert, Sam Sample, explains why a little daily dose of sensible sunshine can help to alleviate the winter blues.
Do you ever suffer from the winter blues? Chances are you might need a little top up of sensible sunshine. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be staying snuggled up in bed a little longer, and avoiding the wind and winter chill as best as possible. Whilst this does sound enticing, it does leave you wide open to vitamin D depletion. You might wonder “where’s the sun?” on those grey days, but trust me, it’s still up there, and still capable of gifting you its rays of sunlight.
For years, doctors have repeatedly told us that the sun is bad for you and that it causes cancer. The fact is, the majority of all living things require sun to survive. The key and most important thing to remember about sunshine is balance, and using your common sense to avoid getting sun damage.
The sun has a remarkable effect on your health and happiness, and is our best source of vitamin D, a hormone that: controls calcium levels in the blood thus maintaining strong bones, muscles and teeth; is involved in making hundreds of enzymes and proteins which are vital for preventing a number of diseases; strengthens the immune system; and has anti-cancer properties.
Research shows that sunshine has a significant effect upon mental health and wellbeing and is recommended in the treatment of depression; for treating psoriasis, eczema and acne; and for regulating circadian rhythms (our internal body clock that when disrupted can result in sleep disorders).
On the flip side, it is important to keep in mind that too much sun exposure does have consequences: an increase in the speed of skin aging and the potential risk of melanomas. So it’s all about finding the “right” balance for you, taking in to consideration your age, skin color, body weight, season of the year, and the latitude of where you live.
Personally, I like the idea of delaying wrinkles for as long as naturally possible as well as maintaining my sanity and happiness levels during winter, so I enjoy the sunshine in the early or late hours of the day, avoiding direct sun exposure between the hours of 11am and 3pm. However, if I am going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, I apply a natural sunscreen that contains non-nano zinc oxide and always wear a hat. Gone are the days where I lay on the beach sunbaking all day!
NOTE ON SUNSCREENS: Please choose a natural sunscreen that contains non-nano zinc oxide. Avoid those that contain fragrance, oxybenzone, PABA, alcohol, parabens, methylisothiazolinone, salicylates, mineral oil, TEA, DEA, MEA, propylene/butylene glycol as these ingredients are linked to dryness of the skin, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity, cancer, skin aging and acne.