Mental health awareness week: sun power ☀️

Posted 4 weeks ago

Getting outside can make all the difference!

Between those library sessions, exams, and the general rollercoaster of student life - getting outside in the sunshine can do wonders for your mental health. Here’s why you might want to toss the textbooks aside for a few minutes and catch some rays.

1. Boosts your vitamin D levels

Sunshine is a top-notch natural source of Vitamin D, a crucial nutrient that's not only good for your bones but also essential for brain health. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of depression and mood swings. So, stepping out into the sunlight for just 10-20 minutes a day can help keep these levels topped up and your mood on a more even keel.

2. Enhances your sleep quality

Regular exposure to natural light, especially in the morning, helps regulate your body’s internal clock, the circadian rhythm. This means better sleep quality and timing, which are crucial when you're trying to stay on top of your studies. Improved sleep can reduce stress, enhance your memory, and boost overall mental health.

3. Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression

Natural environments have a pretty impressive calming effect. Being outdoors and soaking up some sun can significantly decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even a brief walk through the campus park can lift your spirits and provide a fresh perspective on whatever’s weighing on your mind.

4. Increases your physical activity

When it's sunny, you're more likely to head outside, and this usually means more physical activity. Whether it's a brisk walk to your next class or a quick game of 5 aside, moving your body increases endorphins (those feel-good hormones) and decreases stress hormones like cortisol.

5. Improves your cognitive function

Sunlight exposure has been found to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip, leading to an increased risk of major depression with a seasonal pattern (previously known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD).

University life is a blend of fun, challenges, and the occasional chaos. While you're navigating this unique time, remember that something as simple as stepping outside and enjoying a bit of sunshine can be incredibly beneficial for your mental health. Remember, every bit helps, and taking time for your mental health is never a wasted effort.

Enjoy the sunshine!