Make the Most of the Sunshine

by: Danielle Ternyila

It has been one hell of a year, as most of us were sent to learn and work from home just a year ago, some of you even taking on a new teaching gig subsequently too. For many, it has been the most anxious of times, myself included. Suffice to say, it is time we all get some more light in our lives, and spring is finally here for exactly that!

The transition to work from home and the restrictions for social distancing only sugarcoat the major changes that have unfolded in our lives. We are seeing less friends and family; we are getting out less, perhaps missing days at the gym. Our lives have become more sedentary with more reasons to stay in than go out now, and after months of cold weather, it’s time we start taking advantage of the sunshine.

Being in the sun can really brighten your mood, and there are scientific reasons for it; the sunshine provides us with vitamin D, and exposure to those UVB rays helps the skin produce beta-endorphins, which are known to reduce pain. The sunshine can boost your immune system, promote relaxation and an overall sensation of well-being.

Spending time in the sun can improve your mood, and after a year of this pandemic, I think we could all use a walk outside with some fresh air and sunshine.

Challenge yourself to get outside on our new sunny days! Whether you’re just enjoying your morning coffee in your yard or going for a walk around the block with your furry friend, you’re sure to feel the difference in your mood after you get some more sunshine in your life.

Last May, my mom and I joined our town’s virtual scavenger hunt challenge, which was the inspiration for April’s Challenge in our Fit for a Queen Facebook Empowerment group. For the first time in 2 months after the pandemic had sent us all home, we had an excuse to get outside. We started going on brief 20- or 30-minute walks on our lunch breaks together to find the scavenger hunt item, and we were so thankful for that motivation to get out every day.

That’s not to say we made it every day! There were plenty where we only got down our street and back due to rain or busy schedules, but at least we got out there, and we were able to enjoy the sun! By the time the challenge had ended, it was June, and we couldn’t handle the heat anymore! It’s spring now, and before it starts getting too hot, it is so important to get out and enjoy the sun before it starts to become torture with the summer humidity.

Still be mindful of the dangers of the sun; use protection and lather on that sunscreen when it’s needed, but don’t let that stop you from getting out there! Sunshine in the early morning has the lowest risk of sunburn, so try to start your day with a brisk walk outside. This is a great way to change the mood of your day – start with that free boost of happiness from the sun and a walk that gets your muscles moving, prepared for anything the day will throw at you!

I feel more accomplished and fulfilled on the days I start with a walk, so challenge yourself to give it a try! You may feel tired and groggy, but it will wake you up and start your day on the right foot.

How often are you getting out in the sun every week?

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