Darkness is great when you’re trying to sleep at night! But when nightfall starts creeping in before 5:00 p.m.—as often happens during winter months—it can be rather depressive for many people.
Normally, I enjoy walking on paths close to my home during evening hours after supper. But this time of year doesn’t allow for that, unless I choose to walk in the pitch-dark. No thanks! That’s hardly optimal time for outdoor exercise. Plus, I’m a true scaredy-cat when it comes to darkness in the outdoors.
I’ve found the best remedy for this “early darkness issue” is to enjoy sunshine much earlier in the day. In fact, exposure to sunshine provides several benefits—including major mood boosts, creation of vitamin D—which helps prevent sickness (great timing for cold & flu season), as well as significant contributions to our bone and skin well-being. Of course, moderation in direct sunlight is key to attaining these benefits without surrendering to health damage caused by overexposure.
How to incorporate more light in the darkness of winter:
- Bundle up and go out!
Even when temps drop, we can take advantage of the sunshine. This winter I decided to get a jacket designed for activewear during colder weather. We all need exercise—especially during holiday festivities—so this seemed to be the perfect answer for staying fit during wintertime. Finding the right amount of layers is key.You may work full-time during the daytime, making it hard to exercise when you get home after dark. In this case, consider going for a brisk walk during your lunch and/or break times. Keep some tennis shoes handy in your desk at work, and then head outside to enjoy the sunshine throughout your work day. Even fifteen minutes of sunlight several times each week is beneficial to your overall health.
- Bring the outdoors inside
Obviously, winter weather can be tricky to maneuver at times. Even “winter-weather-warriors” need to be careful when snow or ice make walking paths dangerous. Don’t compromise your well-being by slipping in the slush. But do let the sunshine in if you absolutely can’t go out! Sit near a window when warm sunlight is pouring in. Open the blinds and curtains to enjoy the sun while you read, browse the Internet, or talk to a friend on the phone. Your eyes can even soak in the rays, which will provide the benefit of boosting your hormone levels—for the good!
- Enjoy the brightness of others
Great friends bring so much joy to our lives! In a way, they can be sparks of light on otherwise dreary days. Hopefully you have friendships that bring brightness of laughter to your face and in your heart. These types of relationships can boost our joy when circumstances may be dark otherwise.
Isn’t it amazing how God provides exactly what we need when we need it? Winter months are normally prime time for illness and depression, but you can beat those odds by taking advantage of this awesome heavenly gift of sunshine.