Dizzy Miss James - A Travel / Food/ Lifestyle Blog


12 Jun 2019

Getting Your Dose Of Sun When It Rains

Everybody knows, nowadays, that sunlight plays a significant role in our health. The simple fact that specialists have come together to describe the effects of the lack of direct sun exposure on the mood in terms of depressive disorder speaks volumes. Sun has been associated with life for as long as humanity has been around, as it’s connected to vegetation growth and the survival of animals. But, it’s only recently that doctors have discovered its influence on our mental health. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a serious illness that can, in its most severe cases, require antidepressive treatment. While getting sufficient sun exposure has never been an issue during the warmer months of the year. In fact, it is the opposite phenomenon as when the weather is warm and pleasant; people are more likely to increase their direct sunlight exposure to a dangerous amount, leading to a high risk of sunburns - which can be just as damaging for your health. However, when the weather is getting cooler, we have a tendency to stay indoors, in our cozy living rooms. The idea of going outside, especially when the weather is cold and potentially rainy is not at the top of your to-do list. 

However, when you know that you need no more than 20 minutes of direct sunlight exposure per day to fight off SAD, there’s no excuse to stay locked inside any longer. Here are some ideas to get more sun into your life. 

Getting Your Dose Of Sun When It Rains

Find solutions that let natural light in

Your skin needs direct exposure to sunlight to absorb UV B and produce vitamin D. Unfortunately, science has demonstrated that sitting behind a window typically doesn’t kickstart vitamin D production as most glass windows stop UV B. However, you can trick your mind out of a depressive state just by surrounding yourself with natural light, even if you are indoors. Indeed, the presence of light coming through the sliding doors in your kitchen or living room throughout the day can encourage your mind to put on a pair of rose-tinted glasses - figuratively speaking. Additionally, direct access to your garden can tempt you into wandering outside during the day, even if you’re only stepping outside for a few minutes. You could drink your morning coffee outside while watching the sun come out, for instance. 

Households in northern climates maximise natural light as part of their decor, with the addition of skylights in the kitchen or even in the bathroom, as a way of making the most of the few hours of sun throughout the day. 

Give your garden all the love it deserves

Most people love their garden as long as the weather is warm and sunny. But as soon as the sky gets grey and the rain is falling, they stay indoors and forget everything about their outdoor scenery. In reality, it only takes some creative DIY to revamp your garden into a weatherproof haven. Ultimately, finding a flooring solution that is safe when wet can be tricky. A helpful rule of thumb is to stay away from slate and ridged softwood decking. Instead, opt for hardwood, which is an elegant alternative that can be treated to be durable and waterproof; giving you the perfect excuse to wander outside! Add a sturdy deck frame to keep your guests dry and a patio that protects you from the rain, and you’re ready to make the most of direct sunlight, even on a rainy day! After all, don’t be fooled into thinking that the rain stops the UV radiation from reaching you. 

Why don’t we like rain anyway?

Ultimately, it’s fair to say that most people dislike the idea of walking in the rain. Unlike Gene Kelly, who seems to enjoy singing in the rain, the rest of us much prefer to stay dry and warm. Ultimately, the attitude is likely to be linked to our childhood. If your parents scold you for playing in the rain as a child, it’s easy to see how the mind associates the rain with negative emotions. In reality, nothing else than getting wet and maybe a little muddy happens when you go outside. You’re unlikely to catch a cold in the rain. Finding a few waterproof basics for you and your family can solve many issues. Additionally, you can create a new rain routine to encourage your family to grab some healthy UV B. For instance, why not make a creamy hot chocolate to welcome everybody back home? It’s the perfect drink to stay warm and put a smile on your face. Besides, what are 20 minutes outside when a cup of warm cocoa awaits you at home? 

Sun brings happiness, and sunny decors do too

While sunlight - direct or indirect - can create happiness, most people tend to ignore the influential power of artificial brightness. For instance, you can create a sunny spot in your interior decor, either by using bright painting colours or by adding items in yellow and orange hues. Nothing spreads happiness as much as a large yellow cushion on your sofa, for instance. Of course, it doesn’t replace sunlight. But it’s enough sun to light your mood! 

Can you replace vitamin D?

Last but not least, the question comes back every year: can you replace vitamin D on rainy days? Some people claim to get all the sun they need during the summer, and therefore ignore the wet weather. In reality, your body doesn’t store UV B excess. However, your diet can also make a significant difference in keeping your mind and body healthy. Indeed, you’ll find some foods that are naturally high in vitamin D such as oily fish and even canned fish. Typically, you should get around 600 IUs of vitamin D a day - international units. Smoke salmon alone gets up to 580. Combined with portobello mushrooms - which have 375 IUs - you can supply your body with plenty of vitamin D! 

In the long term, you shouldn’t replace direct sun exposure only through your diet. If you’re worried about skin damages, you need to know that you’re less likely to get a sunburn when it’s raining - however, it remains a risk. The bottom line is that you can still bring plenty of sun into your life ] figuratively and literally - even during the rainiest of all days! 

This is a partnered post

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