A couple of weeks ago the sun poked its head out from behind the grey clouds and people around Buckinghamshire/Berkshire rejoiced. We shrugged off extra layers of clothing, dragged our children away from their screens to play at the park, we smiled more – even at perfect strangers (gasp!) – and any niggling troubles we had felt a little further away.
Then, as warned by the weatherman and perhaps more importantly, Facebook memes, we were plunged back into the harsh reality of the British winter. And even I knew though the unseasonable weather wouldn’t last, I couldn’t help but feel miffed about it. Because a little bit of joy went away with the sun.
Which got me wondering. What is it about sunshine that gives us that extra spring in our step and puts the sparkle back in our eyes?
After a little digging, the over-all consensus seems to be that it isn’t so much the temperature that makes us feel better (but hey, it helps right?), but it’s more about the actual amount of sunlight or daylight hours that there are.
This is because spending some time in the sunshine gives our serotonin (our bodies happy hormones) a big boost. At the same time, sunshine also decreases melatonin (the sleep hormone) in our bodies. The upshot? We tend to feel more positive and energetic as a result. In turn, we’re likely to get outside and do something active. Physical activity and spending time in the great outdoors have also been proven to be great for lifting our mood. In all it’s a lovely, bad-mood-busting cycle of all good things.
So as we wait for the real spring to arrive, what can we do to keep our spirits up. Here’s three top tips:
• Spend time outside during daylight hours. As little as ten minutes a day can make a huge difference. And as someone wise once said ‘There’s no such things as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.’ Wrap up and get out. Or failing that, find a window seat at work.
• Eat well. A varied and healthy diet can help us to focus better, reduce anxiety, lift our moods and boost our energy. So, lay off the stodge and reach for the veg.
• Stay active. Go for a walk around the block, head out for a jog, hit the gym or get sweaty to a YouTube video in the comfort of your own home. Anything that gets your heart rate up for around 30 mins is perfect.
So there you have it, hang in there people, the spring equinox is just around the corner!
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