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Do you want to use the sun to support your wellbeing?

As I write this, Spring is in bloom, and vitamin D from the sun is back!

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in many bodily functions.

From bones to brains and immunity to mood, vitamin D supports many aspects of wellbeing.

Every year between October and March, where I live in London, we no longer get access to natural vitamin D from sunlight due to the angle of the sun being so low over winter. This means we rely on the warmer months to get us stocked up on vitamin D.

Where to start

The good news is that vitamin D from the sun is free! But you already knew that.

Here are some different things you can do to build your sunlight practice:

– Daily sunlight exposure. Just 15 minutes of sunlight a day and a balanced diet are all some people need to keep themselves feeling well. Tony Riddle, the Natural Lifestylist, takes this further with the challenge to spend 10% of our day outside (2 hours and 40 minutes).

– Morning sunlight. Maximising sunlight exposure when the sun is at its hottest may feel sensible. However, this can create more risks than benefits. When you only expose yourself to that hot midday sun, the body cannot prepare. But, when you venture out in the morning, the body gets the signal: It’s a hot one today, so I will prepare. This preparation enables the body to deal better with the increased UVI index (sun intensity), protecting the body from sunburn, amongst other things. Morning sunlight will also improve your circadian rhythm fostering healthy sleep.

– Ditch the sunglasses. Consistent sunglasses wear stops your eyes from taking full advantage of sunlight’s benefits. Wear sunglasses for specific reasons like driving or to protect the eyes if you stay out beyond safe recommendations (more on that later). But ditch them for small trips out and about.

– Expose your entire body to sunshine. When we expose our entire body to natural light, we treat our skin to the sunlight it has evolved to expect. However, we must be safe and appropriate. Pick your moments wisely so as not to offend the neighbours!

Make being in the sun a habit. When the sun is shining, find opportunities to go outside:

– Eat a meal outside

– Take a meeting outside

– Walk rather than drive or take public transport

– Find excuses to soak up vitamin D safely!

Sunlight through the trees
Sunlight through the trees

Staying safe

Staying safe in the sun is a crucial part of our sunbathing habit. Some suggestions that help us to stay safe:

Download the app dminder. dminder tells you the local UVI index and combines it with your skin type and clothing coverage to estimate how long you can safely spend in the sun before you need to protect yourself. We use dminder to learn how long we can safely sunbathe without protection before we need to cover up. It can be as little as 10 minutes in the sun in peak summer.

– Cover up. Whether you use clothing, sun cream or something else, covering your skin is critical to staying safe. Our priority is to cover up with clothes, but we also use sun cream to keep us safe when covering up with clothes is not possible. Do not forget you can still have your safe sunbathing time before covering up. Look at dminder’s exposure recommendation for the day, and as soon as you go over the safe limit it recommends, put clothes on to cover up.

– Listen to your doctor. Your journey with sunlight will be personal to you, and this advice does not replace personal advice you may have received from a healthcare professional. If you have any doubts, follow the medical advice you have already been given.

If you are ready to take on a rewilding challenge, take the Seven Practices Challenge today.

dminder phone application
dminder home screen

Links

Take the Seven Practices Challenge: https://beyond-domestication.com/product/seven-practices-challenge/

Download dminder from here or your app store: http://dminder.ontometrics.com/

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