Sunday, February 19, 2012

Winter Sunshine!

Sometimes in the winter months, I find myself craving sunshine. We have many gray days where I live, so when the sun is out, you can be sure I will do my best to be out too, especially during the fall and winter. I may be bundled up, but I'll get a good dose of sunlight that can boost my immune system and help me to keep feeling positive and enthusiastic about life.

Sunlight is important to our overall health and offers many benefits. For one thing, getting 15 minutes of sunlight a day provides us with vitamin D, which boosts our calcium absorption and promotes better bone health. Healthy exposure to the sun actually improves our blood circulation, boosts your metabolism, and helps us to sweat, thereby eliminating toxins and waste from our body. Sun exposure is also known to help with liver issues, such as jaundice, and improve some skin conditions.

One of the best things about the sun is its positive effect on our mood. Natural sunlight stimulates the production of endorphins, which help us to feel good. And then of course there is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which commonly strikes in the winter and is a form of depression caused by too much time spent under artificial lighting and not enough exposure to natural sunlight. Exposure to sun or full spectrum lighting, especially if you work in a building where you don't see the outdoors, can actually help you avoid seasonal depression.

Sadly, many people are afraid of any sun exposure because of concerns about overexposure, sunburn and harm to your eyes. However these concerns can be addressed by using common sense when exposed to sunlight. When the sun is stronger, as it is in the spring and summer, you should be mindful of your exposure and take precautions against sunburn and dehydration. In the winter, the sun's rays are weaker and you can tolerate more exposure.

If you've ever sat in a sunny window or stood in sunlit patch on a cold day and enjoyed feeling those rays soak into your body, you know how wonderful the sun can feel. A bit of natural sunlight can go a long way, so find a way to get your daily dose of sunlight whenever possible.

Hope you can take advantage of the sunlight this week. And be sure to take note and give thanks to the increase in sunlight. We've passed the mid-point of winter now and the daily sunlight is increasing a little more every day!

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