Have you ever noticed your mood change from season to season? Can the climate outside your door really affect your mental health? The answer is yes and no. Studies have shown that while the actual temperature or weather outside may not have a direct effect on mood, exposure to sunlight most definitely does. There is even a scientific term for a form of depression triggered by changing seasons known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The lack of sun exposure during the winter months can cause some people to even become clinically depressed. This is because sunlight has been shown to increase levels of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter found in the human body. Serotonin is mainly found in the brain, bowels and blood platelets, and while it serves other functions, it is best known as the chemical that is responsible for maintaining mood balance, contributing to wellbeing and happiness. In other words, sunlight makes us happy!
The decreased exposure to sun during the winter months does not mean that we will all fall into a deep depression that we will not be able to arise from until June when those first few rays of summer sunlight come peeking through, but rather a notable scientific finding to be aware of. Enjoy moderate sun exposure when possible, let your body stock up on vitamin D, and when you’re feeling blue in the winter, get outside and let your body heal itself. That being said, this does not mean that we have free reign to ditch the sunscreen and ignore all of the negative side effects of too much sun exposure. Over exposure to sun can cause sunburn, headache, dehydration, dizziness and ultimately lead to skin cancer via UV radiation. Be smart and protect yourself, while knowing that the sun is not our enemy. Like most other things in life, the sun can be quite beneficial to your mental and emotional health in moderation.
Winter is wrapping up, time to get outside
As the season starts to change and spring is upon us, what outdoor activities are you and your family looking forward to starting again? We would love to hear from you and share some of our top spring to summer activities that get our batteries recharged after winter!