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This last week has been a whirlwind. Daylight Saving Time, Friday the Thirteenth, and of course the mass hysteria over the outbreak of COVID-19. It’s been exhausting. The good news, though? The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer.
Benefits of the Sun
Increased exposure to the sun has many physical and mental benefits. As many people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) know, when the days get longer, mood and productivity increases.
It has been shown that sunlight increases the release of serotonin-or the happy chemical-in the brain. Increased serotonin not only improves mood, but also increases energy. What is more, not only does sunlight help with mood, but it can improve the immune system.
A recent article spoke of how the sun may benefit those who are currently ill, referencing the 1918 influenza pandemic. The basic premise is, influenza patients who were exposed to fresh air were able to reap the benefits of the sun, which can kill the flu virus and bacteria that causes infection in the lungs.
Getting Sun Amid a Pandemic
With the heightened concern of contracting COVID-19, it has been recommended to postpone any traveling, which may ruin many regular spring break festivities. Taking a flight to the beach is risky, all ski resorts in Colorado have been shut down for a minimum or a week, and a majority of amusement parks are shut down. With all of this going on, what are some things we can do to take advantage of the benefits of the sun, to reap the benefits sunshine provides, while avoiding human interaction?
Go for a Run
Obviously one of my go-tos. I’m sure many people, like me, have been stuck inside on the treadmill due to snowy and icy conditions on the roads. It’s time to break free from the confinement, and get in a good outdoor run. Not only will you benefit from the sunshine, but you will also get the endorphin and immunity boost from exercise.
This one may not be feasible for many people, as many lakes are still too cold or frozen. However, paddle boarding offers a means of exercise and fresh air, with little to no exposure to others.
If you’re looking for a paddle board, I recommend the Go Plus Inflatable SUP, which you can purchase here. I purchased one last year, and while I’ve not used it much yet, I have loved it so far. It’s inexpensive, for those of us who are pinching pennies, and easy to set up. Plus, it has a handy storage bag that makes it easy to transport the paddle board and accessories without taking up too much room.
There is not much better than a sunny day, a fishing pole, and a tackle box! You can even grab a collapsible fishing pole, like the one here, and hike into some backcountry for an even less crowded experience.
Honestly, I’ve never gotten into yoga. I attempt to practice it to help with my running, then I get bored and stop. But, grab your yoga mat, or find a nice, grassy area, and soak up the sun while practicing some mindfulness!
When All Else Fails, Read a Book
Last year, during The Fourth of July, I was pretty well house-ridden with laryngitis. I could barely talk loud enough to call my dogs back into the house, let alone try to do my job and speak to members of the public. During this time I got in a lot of tanning and reading (Ironically, I chose to read Ted Dekker’s Circle series, about a pandemic that will wipe all of humanity from earth). This is a good option if you have contracted COVID-19, or have other reasons you cannot leave the house. To benefit from the sun, sit on your back deck, or even beside an open window. Crack open a book, slather on the sunscreen, and get lost in another world.
Have Fun, Be Smart, Don’t Panic
The moral of this story is, we are entering into a new season. It’s time to shed the winter blues, and enjoy the sunlight and warmth. Don’t give into the panic, but be smart and safe. And it may not hurt to ration on the toilet paper for a month or two.