The title may seem obvious, but during the long winter months, it is so important- physically, mentally, and spiritually, to get some rays each and every sunny day. Although New Zealand has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world (a statistic that no one likes), fearing the sun has run on effects than many do not consider.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin our bodies need to function. Plants need sunshine to grow and thrive, and so do we! Although it is present in some foods such as mushrooms and fortified milk substitutes (such as some almond milks and soy), the very best way to get vitamin D is in its rawest form, through the sun, and that way its’ free! Taking the dog for a walk on the beach, having a smoothie with a friend outside, or digging in the garden on a nice day are all excellent ways to get a vitamin D hit.
Just 20 minutes of sun exposure to your face, chest and arms daily between the months of May to August is recommended to reduce the risk of vitamin D deficiency, but also for improved mental health. Many people report feeling mentally low and lacking motivation in winter due to the cold weather and shorter days. Many do not realise that those feelings can develop into a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is a form of depression. It is thought that the condition is caused by a drop in sunlight exposure, which triggers changes to one’s chemical balance, resulting in reduced energy and vitality, and depression.
Then you’ve got to think about babies! In many countries around the world vitamin D supplements are given to infants in the first 12 months of life due to the low number of sunshine hours infants are exposed to. Here in NZ we aren’t quite at that stage, but to ensure an infant develops good bone density, making sure that cute little face gets some rays in winter is very important. In fact, there is some concern that the rates of a condition called Rickets is increasing in NZ and around the world due to our fear of sun exposure which is pretty crazy to think about.
When you’re sitting down reading a book, with a hot drink, we gravitate to the sun and so we should. The pleasant warmth and calm the sun gives us should be celebrated and encouraged, particularly during the colder winter months. So don’t fear the glorious sun, and try make it a part of your everyday winter routine. Remember, the vitamin D doesn’t absorb through glass, so make sure you wind down the windows when driving on a sunny day!
Most importantly, being in the sun feels fantastic.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sunlight on your face.
There’s a reason our planet revolves around the sun. Soak it up people.
Last thing, keep an eye out for your friends, family and colleagues. Check how they’re doing and make sure you make time for others, as winter can be isolating for many. And if you want to chat, we are always free at Vitality Organics down on Maunganui Road! We’re suuuuuper blessed to have our trailer on the sunny side of the street, so come catch some rays with us<3
Do you feel down and insulate during the cold winter months?
What do you do to make sure you get some sunshine over winter?
Any other tricks for boosting mood and morale to keep that sunshine burning bright on the inside?
This is a guest post by our mate Alice! Chur Alice!
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