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Can winter sun have an impact on my mental health?

We all need something to look forward to during the cold dark days of winter and a warming winter break maybe just what the doctor ordered.

The short winter days can affect our mood and cause us to feel a bit down, lethargic or even depressed. This is because the strength of the sun in the UK over the winter months is not as strong or never appears, therefore leaving many of us deficient in vitamin D and serotonin, a chemical produced by the brain to help regulate our mood.

According to the Met Office, with just 64% of the average sunshine, November 2015 was the dullest in the series from 1929.

Vitamin D also known as the “sunshine vitamin” is essential for keeping a healthy immune system, strong healthy bones and it is suggested to supply a protective effect against multiple diseases such as cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

A burst of sunshine in the depths of the coldest season can bestow significant health benefits and help to banish the winter blues. Booking a holiday can help to ease the stresses and strains of everyday life and as little as 30 minutes a day of sunshine to your face, hands and arms can boost your vitamin levels and keep you topped up.

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Some of the tell-tale signs it’s time to book your winter sun holiday:

Sallow skin – Is your skin starting to look grey?

Low mood – Do you find yourself irritable or feeling low most days?

Deeper wrinkles – Have you formed tense muscles around your eyes due to stress?

Tiredness – Do you have low stamina from poor sleep or not relaxing enough?

Toothache and face pain – Do you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the night as a result of tensions carrying over into the day?

Weight gain – Are you turning to comfort eating because you have nothing else to look forward to?

Bone and muscle aches – Are you suffering from a lack of Vitamin D?

Holidays can have a very positive impact on your mental health and yes most of us need some sort of routine and purpose to our daily pace, but the psychology of having a winter break provides a goal to work towards to get you through the bleakest time of the year.

You don’t even need to travel abroad to have a holiday, even if you decide to stay closer to home in the UK, just escaping everyday life, enjoying the great outdoors and doing activities at your pace is good for you mentally & physically. Everyone likes a change of scenery and a slower pace of life is great for the body and mind.

Personally I love the sun and a recent trip to Florida elevated my mood and set me up for the winter season but I have to be honest and say, the dark evenings and damp mornings do make me think about booking my next trip. The benefits of sunshine on your body only last a few weeks so it’s worth thinking ahead of where your next trip will take you, in search of winter sun.

Destinations such as the Canaries are good options for families in the winter months or why not travel further to the Caribbean, Thailand or even the Maldives.

Winter in the UK isn’t for everyone so why not book a trip in search of warmer climes but don’t forget to pack up your Santa stocking. Let Free Spirit carry the burden of any travel worries you may have, allowing you to get on with re-charging your batteries, topping up your vitamin D and boosting your mood!

Happy holidays everyone!