The cold weather sure makes you want to stay inside the house under your warm and cozy blanket, doesn’t it? Don’t stay there too long! Get some exercise and some sunshine! Now that our days are getting a little bit longer, it’s the perfect opportunity to get out in the snow and grab some Vitamin D while you’re at it.

We Alaskans know that natural light improves moods and can help get rid of those pesky winter blues. With the shortest days behind us for the season, making an effort to get outside despite the extremely cold temperatures, can be your natural antidepressant.

Here are some ideas to get more natural light during those few precious hours we have it right now. Try stretching or doing yoga near a big window where natural light is abundant. Walk outside on your lunch break. Simple activities like these will lift up your mood as you burn calories. And with the combination of the Vitamin D from the sun and endorphins from the exercise, you’ll be feeling happy and energized in no time!

How to Get More Natural Light

  1. Mirrors, mirrors, on the wall
    Help light bounce around a room with a mirror …or two …or more.
  2. Color wisely
    Colors close to white, such as light-colored pastels, reflect plenty of rays. An eggshell wash or other reflective paint finish compounds their brightness.


Natural light and mood

Exposure to natural light during the day is strongly linked to energy, mood, sleep, and overall quality of life. Lack of natural light is implicated in insomnia, irritability, distraction, and depression.


Health benefits of natural light

  1. Boosts vitamin D – When exposed to sunlight, the skin absorbs vitamin D, a critical nutrient that prevents bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, weight gain, and various cancers.
  2. Wards off seasonal depression – Getting as much natural light as possible can help keep these mood changes at bay.
  3. Improves sleep – Since mental health and sleep often go hand in hand, it’s not surprising that natural light affects both.
  4. Reduces health risks of fluorescent lighting – The more time you spend in a source of natural light, the less time you’ll likely spend in the unnatural light of fluorescent bulbs.