Thanks to a combination of perimenopause symptoms, January blues, and the lack of natural light and heat that most of us are experiencing, my mood hasn’t been great recently. So, I decided to sit down and create a checklist of everything I could do to improve it. This series of Thrive in Fives is all about bringing you some of those key ideas: simple strategies will help to pick up your mood at any point in the year. To start things off, I want to discuss natural light – and how to get more of it!
We know through very established science that light is critical for our mood. And there are ways of hacking that to get more into our day. For example, I’m lucky enough to have a dog, who needs to go out – whether I want to or not. So, every morning I’ll walk her in the local park or woods, and get that big dose of natural light. Now, I’m not saying you need a dog to be able to enjoy a short walk. This tip is about getting some natural light onto your eyes and skin as early in the day as possible. And that will have a huge impact on not only your mood, but also your circadian rhythm: your sleep patterns.
If you in fact get up before the sun does, I have a few more hacks up my sleeve. One is a piece of technology that is unfortunately no longer available to buy new. You can, however, still get hold of one on various resell sites. It’s called a Human Charger: you put these earbuds in, switch on the little device, and it gives you a 12-minute dose of UV-free, blue-enriched white light.
There is also a set of light therapy glasses that do a similar thing by Re-Timer, which you can find here.
Alternatively, seasonal affective disorder – or SAD – lamps are really helpful. I actually have one, the brand is Lumie by Phillips. Rather simply, it’s a light that automatically comes on in the morning to create the effect of a sunrise. Then, in the evening, you can dim it to replicate a sunset. But there are many other kinds of SAD lamps out there. For example, you can get one for your work desk to mimic natural light during the day.
Over to you
And that’s tip number one: a couple of different methods to try out if you need to improve your mood. Natural light is so important, and exposure actually prompts our bodies to produce serotonin, known as the happiness hormone. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, whenever you need it, or sporadically throughout the day, I cannot overstate the benefits of this tip. So, what can you do to get a little more into your life?
Check out our free posture guide for desk workers. Many of us frequently sit or stand at a desk, our posture guide will show you how to set up your workstation, stretches to do to avoid getting tight, uncomfortable muscles, and how to correct your posture to stay relaxed and energised whilst at work.
Interested in finding out what your health IQ is? Take the Health IQ test to receive free 39-page report built around our six signals: sleep, mental health, energy, body composition, digestion, and fitness.