It seems like the last few winters in central Virginia have been borderline unbearable. This statement is laughable to my northern friends, I am sure. But, for this southern born and bred lady, below zero temperatures only happen in Minnesota, Canada, and in funny movies.
During the dead of winter, my neighbor and I joked (mostly) about investing in a sun lamp because the gray sky was doing a number on our moods and motivation! Though I knew I would be longing for colder days in a few months, I could not help but dream of feeling the sunshine on my face and actually perspiring! No more dry skin! No more bundling up or wind burn. No more depressing weather reports and cursing the snow as it fell. I wanted warmth!
Well, the beauty of living in an area with four distinct seasons is that you know the suffering only lasts a matter of months. ~smile~ Now that summer is here, I dread seeing temperatures in the upper 80s and 90s and I am especially freaked out to see triple digits. But, I know when the frigid days return, I will be dreaming of the heat again!
Summer weather can be excruciating, but we should still, in small doses, enjoy the life giving benefits of the sun – even if we go outside in the early morning and come in during the heat of the day.
Do not quote me on these in a scientific journal, but I believe we need the sun for the following reasons:
- Mood boost! Even when I come in the house with sweat dripping down my back and a pink face, I still feel better than before I went outside. Sun exposure releases endorphins which increases our sense of calm and happiness. It makes us feel good! The sun brightens our mood and spirits – in moderate amounts, of course. Heat stroke, sunburns, and dehydration are not beneficial experiences. ~smile~
- Vitamin D! We can get vitamin D from food, but some would suggest that we should get the vast majority of this nutrient from the sun. We need Vitamin D for bone health, immune boosting, skin conditions, and help treating a plethora of diseases. Some even say that moderate amounts of sun exposes protects against cancer.
- The sun brings out the kid in us. This is highly unscientific, but I believe it is true. When the sun is shining, suddenly we hear the sounds of kids riding their bikes, playing tag, or jumping into the pool. We associate warmth and sunshine with vacation and fun. We should never completely lose our inner-child. We need him or her to keep us young and playful. Embracing the sun, instead of hiding from it, may just make us more amiable and merry! You rarely see irate people at the beach. Surfers are typically mellow. Do Americans not stereotype Australians as easy going? It is the sun, I tell ya!
- We feel better about ourselves after time in the sun. This one may sound strange, but I feel so much more confident after time in the sun than I do after spending the day indoors. Perhaps this is due to getting a little tan or feeling as if I have worked out; but, whatever the reason, I feel ready to conquer the world (and also ready to take a nap lol) after I have soaked in a little sun. I think it goes back to the release of endorphins. Try it!
I am no doctor, but I am aware of how much better I feel when I get a daily shot of sunlight. This recent Spring, I remember spending much of a particular day sitting in my bed with my laptop. It was a gorgeous, sunny day with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The kind of day you do not get many of before the scalding summer weather hits. I kicked myself for not spending some of my day outside.
In a world that sells billions of dollars of supplements and health products each year, we forget that God provided much of what we need in the great outdoors! If you are feeling down, start with some moderate sun therapy and see if it helps your mood and sleep. We all (even you, Eric!) need to spend some time in the sun!
How do you and your sweetheart feel after spending a little time in the sunshine?