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Getting some daylight and spending time outside every day is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing – but it’s not easy when working a 9-5.

As the days get shorter and the dark nights get longer, finding time to catch those rays can become increasingly challenging, especially when most of the day is spent at work.

Shorter days and more darkness can be especially hard to manage if you have seasonal affective disorder (SAD): a type of depression related to changes in the seasons – also known as ‘winter depression’.

But this lack of light and sun can not only impact your mental health, but it can also have an impact on your physical health, impacting your vitamin D levels.

‘It is very important to make sure you can get outside during the brighter hours of the day, as this is great for your mental and physical wellbeing and general health,’ Tyler Woodard from Eden’s Gate tells Metro.co.uk. 

‘Getting up from your desk, sofa or removing yourself from your normal environment helps to refresh your mind, taking a minute to forget any stressful situations you might have lingering in the background.  

‘Sometimes staring at your screens for too long or focusing on a project in great length can cause unnoticed stress levels which can be lowered by a simple stroll around the block whilst it’s light outside. 

‘Research has shown that flooding light into your workspace can improve productivity by 40%.

‘Daylight also improves levels of vitamin D, which regulates calcium around your body, marysville family medicine keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy. 

‘Alongside this, catching daylight helps to stimulate your body clock, recognising times to be alert and awake.’

Tyler explains that getting outside will also improve your quality of sleep too, meaning you’re well-rested and ready to go the next day. 

‘Natural daylight also increases our serotonin,’ adds parent coach and Counsellor Emma Roberts. 

‘Serotonin helps boost our mood and makes us feel calm. Darkness helps our body produce melatonin which helps us sleep. 

‘A nice brisk walk also produces endorphins which help our mood.’ 

So how do we find the time?

With more people working from home since the pandemic, it can be even harder to find time to leave the house without the need for the daily commute, and people may find themselves going days at a time without stepping out of their front door during winter.

Recent ONS data has shown that the average office worker spends 36.5 hours a week at work, while there are only 35 hours of daylight a week during the winter. 

‘There is nothing more soul destroying than getting up in the dark, spending all day inside at work and arriving home in the dark, but all too often, this is the habit we get into once the clocks go back and winter sets in,’ Simone Thomas, a bioenergetics practitioner and founder of Simone Thomas Wellness tells Metro.co.uk.

‘My main advice is to make sure you get outside at least once a day in the daylight. 

‘Whether it’s a walk at lunchtime rather than having a sandwich at your desk, a jog around the park or taking an exercise class outside.

‘If you make the time and effort to leave the house or office and feel the fresh air on your skin, you will feel better for it.’

For any early birds, Tyler suggests that a great way to start your working day is by getting up in the morning and exercising outside. 

‘This can be anything from a brisk walk to a 5k run, whatever suits you,’ he suggests. 

‘With the clocks going back, currently, we have brighter mornings and darker afternoons, so optimising time before you begin work will set you in good speed.

‘Why not grab your morning coffee if you can or take your dog out?’

But Tyler also stresses the importance of utilising lunch breaks to get outside during the day.

‘Even a brief 10-minute walk contributes to your mental and physical health towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise,’ he adds. ‘A daily walk will also remove any stiffness or tension in your body.’

Dr Hana Patel, a GP and Mental Health Coach suggests coinciding quick 5-minute walks with any toilet breaks taken during the day or incorporating a meeting with a stroll outside.

Change up your working environment

‘When you are working, try to position your desk or workstation by the window,’ suggests Simone.

‘Being stuck within the confines of four walls and not being able to see any daylight won’t help your well-being and may make you feel as if you are living through Groundhog Day not knowing what is going on in the outside world. 

‘If you can’t do this, look into buying a sun or SAD lamp that you can have on your desk as this can help mood dips and SAD.’

Make the most of the weekends

‘When it comes to the weekends, do get outside as much as you can,’ says Simone. 

‘You might want to hide under the duvet and watch Netflix as you mainline popcorn and chocolate, but your mood won’t thank you. 

‘We all need downtime, and relaxing is important but get your coat on, tie up the trainer laces and do something your mind and body will thank you for. 

‘This is also a great time to catch up with friends who are also in 9 to 5 roles, and maybe you could try cold water swimming or enjoy brunch in an outdoor café after a long walk catching up.’

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