Recovery is a time of healing. In our addictions, we cared little for the natural world and rarely had time to sit outside and soak up the benefits of sunshine. Early sobriety is the perfect time to embrace the gifts of the natural world, and it turns out, simply being outdoors in sunlight can provide many wonderful physical and mental health benefits. Many health complications resulted from our time in addiction. Many of us entered into treatment malnourished and depressed. Being out in the sun, however, can help our minds and bodies heal more thoroughly from the damage inflicted by addiction.
5 Mental and Physical Benefits of Sunshine During Recovery
1. Boosts Mood
Sunlight increases the production of serotonin, a hormone that relates directly to happiness and well-being. Just 15 minutes of daily sun exposure can significantly improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
2. Promotes Healthy Sleep Patterns
Natural sunlight helps us better regulate our body’s circadian rhythm, balancing our need for rest and activity. Adequate sun exposure during the day can lead to better sleep at night, improving energy and focus the next day.
3. Fights Seasonal Allergies
Sunlight’s natural ultraviolet (UV) radiation helps to reduce allergens in the air by killing off airborne microbial pollutants that trigger seasonal allergies.
4. Strengthens Immunity
Sun exposure helps the body to produce Vitamin D, which strengthens bones and boosts the immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
5. Enhances Cognitive Function
Studies have shown that regular sun exposure can increase cognitive function in adults, leading to improved memory, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
The Importance of Vitamin D in Addiction Recovery
Vitamin D is essential to our health and well-being. In fact, sunshine is one of the best ways to improve our levels of Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D deficiency can cause us to feel tired and run down. As a result, this often exacerbates the depression and lethargy commonly experienced in early recovery.
Dr. Akash Sinha, in a 2013 Newcastle University study, Vitamin D Proven to Boost Energy—from Within the Cells, explains, “Examining this small group of patients with vitamin D deficiency who experienced symptoms of muscle fatigue, we found that those with very low vitamin D levels improved their muscle efficiency significantly when their vitamin D levels were improved.” Even our mood can be improved simply by getting out into the sunlight.
According to a 2016 Active Times article, “6 Things that Make Depression Worse”, “Lack of sunlight has been linked to clinical depression. It is proven that sunlight is a natural mood booster. Sunlight helps regulate your serotonin and melatonin; therefore, having the ability to negatively affect your cognitive functions. If you find yourself depressed on cloudy rainy days, try using an artificial light box.”
Fatigue and depression are extremely common problems in early sobriety. Our fatigue worsens our depression, and our depression worsens our fatigue. We have to find a way to break out of this vicious cycle, and making ourselves get out under the sun is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve both our energy level and mood. Happiness and motivation are essential if we are to thoroughly engage in a program of recovery, and one of the benefits of sunshine is that it may improve our well-being.
Get Help Today From Oceanfront Recovery
The darkness and the pain of addiction don’t have to be a part of your story. You can begin building a brighter future in sobriety by seeking treatment today. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment facility in Orange County, California, offers the opportunity to recover from addiction and alcoholism in a beautiful Laguna Beach environment. For more information about treatment options, please call today at (877) 296-7477.