Stop them in their tracks and make the most of the longer daylight hours
Summertime means our days seem longer. We are blessed with more sunlight. This means more serotonin (a key hormone in stabilising our moods and making us feel happy) and less melatonin (a hormone which signals our bodies to go to sleep). This makes summer the ideal time to wake up earlier and make the most of the extra daylight hours.
The additional exposure to daylight summer brings has also been found to boost our moods, energy levels and mental alertness. So, what can you do to take advantage of this serotonin boost?
Whilst many hit the gym after New Year’s – full of resolution to work off the excesses Christmas inevitably encourages – this is the worst time of year to try to start an exercise habit. Dark mornings and nights which draw in quickly bring on ‘nesting’ instincts meaning the allure of cosying up in bed can be too hard to ignore. In contrast, summer allows you to maximise your mornings with its gift of extra light. Open your curtains or blinds and allow the natural light to work its magic. Lay out your workout gear the night before to act as a visual reminder that you have set aside time to work out. Log the time into your calendar as an appointment with yourself that you need to keep.
If exercise isn’t your idea of fun, use the extra hours of morning sun to do something you enjoy. Perhaps try meditation or do something creative like painting. Even zoning out with a good book you’ve been meaning to read for ages will fill you with a sense of accomplishment before your day has really begun.
With evenings becoming milder and lighter, grab a drink or bite to eat with a colleague or friend after work. Boosting your social bonds will make you feel great too.
Take a Risk:
Stressful situations may feel a little bit more manageable in summer as daylight boosts the cognitive processes that result in ‘approach and engage’ behaviour (the opposite of what happens for SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, sufferers). Make the most of your new adventurous side and step out of your comfort zone.
Try to make the most of the ‘longer’ summer days and ensure you get your daylight ‘fix’ every day. Choose a desk near a window at work or use your lunch hour to get outside. You’ll reap the benefits in more ways than one.