Over the last year, it’s no surprise that most of us will need a serotonin boost, something that will impact our mental health positively – rather than a global pandemic with constant lockdowns, rules, and restrictions. Lucky for us, sunshine and sunlight is a free mental health tool – and although it’s not easily accessible all of the time, winter being a prime example, there is scientific evidence conducted by researchers that showcase how important sunshine is for our moods. Studies tend to focus on the brain chemical that’s most directly linked to mood, which is serotonin. This means that the higher levels of serotonin that we have, the better our mood and feelings of satisfaction will be. In addition, this lowers anxiety levels, stress levels and even depression.
The Sun Is a Great Source of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important vitamin for healthy functioning of the body. It’s known as the sunshine vitamin, and it’s produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight! It’s also in a range of foods such as salmon, sardines, egg yolks, meat, and so on. Vitamin D protects the teeth and bones, and helps the body fight against viruses and diseases. It’s safe to say it’s an essential vitamin that helps keep us happy and healthy.
We know that when summer hits, and you’re sat in your office at work, it can be pretty painful. You’ll see the sun peeking out through the windows, and spending 40 hours a week in an office isn’t ideal when all you want to do is be exposed to sunlight and feel good. For the majority of the popular that does work part and full time, your day job doesn’t have to restrict yourself to actually going outside and experiencing warmth and a tiny bit of happiness, even if it’s just for the initial moment that the sun hits your face. So, to reap in the benefits of natural sunlight, schedule time to go outside throughout your working day, because studies have shown that spending around 20-30 minutes outside is able to lower levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone.
Many minimalistic commercial spaces are designed with innovative solutions in mind, and ensuring there’s enough natural sunlight is one of them. Lighting is a must in any space yes, but reduce your electricity usage and invest in rooflights, bifold doors or large windows to really let the sun in. It is a natural mood booster after all, and if you’re an owner of a business, it’s definitely one way to improve your mood and your co-workers.
Here are 12 of the best minimalist office interiors for you to be inspired by!
The Link Between The Sun and Our Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is our internal clock, and if you’re not entirely familiar with this, it refers to an internal system that is designed to regulate feelings of wakefulness and sleepiness over 24 hours. It’s something you don’t necessarily pay much attention to, but it runs in the background, as you like, to perform essential functions for the body. When the sun rises is when we start to wake up, when it’s dark, we know it’s ready for bed as our bodies release a sleep hormone called melatonin.
Your circadian rhythm doesn’t just tell you when to wake up, and when to go to sleep, it helps the performance of your immune system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, and other bodily systems. The reason we’re touching upon this, because it’s a clear sign that if your circadian rhythm becomes out of sync, it does impact your mental health on some level.
How To Get Your Serotonin Boost
We’ve listed a few tips below in order for you to get your daily boost of natural sunlight. And don’t worry, if sunlight is a rate treat where you are from, we’ve got some tips on how to overcome this as well.
We mentioned earlier in the article, that if you’re working a 9-5 job, you only really get an hour lunch break, and within this time you might need to catch up on text messages, prepare and eat food and this costs you time. However, if you prepare quick and easy meals ahead of time, say the night before, and make sure it’s something you can eat outside, it means less time in the office, and more time outdoors which will benefit your mood, and lower stress levels.
Switch out your desk for one by the window
Whether you’re working from home or in the office, choose a spot by the window! You are spending the majority of your day inside a building, so you need to make small changes to bring sunshine into your day. If this isn’t an option, there are light therapy lamps available online which offer the same effect as natural sunlight.
Change your commute
While many of us don’t like waking up early in the morning, we do actually enjoy the morning – there is a slight difference! Witnessing an incredible sunrise really sets a great tone for the day, and by switching up your commute it means you can experience the mornings differently. Not to mention, you also reduce your carbon footprint a little, say if you were to switch to cycling rather than car, train, or bus!
If you are used to working out indoors, it might be time to change your game. It’s a totally different ballpark, and it can actually motivate you more. It doesn’t necessarily have to be 5 mile runs around the city, it could be a nice weekend hike to make the most out of the sunshine, or maybe football in the park with friends – you have your own definition of exercise, so run with it (well, not literally unless you want to).