As humans, we need sunlight and warmth to flourish. Our ancestors adapted to use the sunlight to hunt for food and the dark of night for rest and hibernation. As creatures, we’re genetically predisposed to favor the warm light of the sun for all its nourishing and life-giving traits. It’s fundamental in the human experience; we need sunshine. This is one of the reasons why addicts seeking recovery can benefit from living in warm, sunny climates.
Health Benefits of Sunshine
The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) rays that contain vitamin D, which has many health benefits. Vitamin D regulates the body's absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and facilitates normal immune system function. It is vital to a healthy immune system, strong bones and teeth, and can even fight disease. Vitamin D lowers your chance of developing heart disease, the flu, and multiple sclerosis. Sunshine can also help improve your mood by reducing stress and giving you energy. All of these positive things can offer massive benefit during your journey to recovery. There can be a few unsavory consequences to excessive exposure to direct sunlight, however. Some of the sun's UV rays can be harmful to the skin and SPF can protect you from those. It's important to wear sunscreen if you will be in direct sunlight for an extended period of time in order to keep your skin healthy and supple. Don't let this deter you from spending enough time outside in the sun, however. Make good decisions and pay attention to how much sun your body can handle, as it differs from person to person.
Health Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency
A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause a range of poor health conditions including depression, loss of appetite or digestive trouble, hair loss, anxiety, and a greater propensity to get sick due to the hit taken by your immune system. People with darker skin and those over fifty years of age are at a greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Factors of daily life that cause vitamin D deficiency include spending most of your time indoors, working longer hours in an office, living in big cities where buildings block sunlight, living in cities where sunlight is not prevalent, and pollution, among others.
If you have the opportunity, try to spend your first months and/or years of recovery in a warmer climate where sunshine is in abundance. Fighting addiction is hard enough on it's own, and you don't need any negative feelings to interfere with that. Being stuck indoors all day during the winter is one of the worst things for you when you're new to recovery. The sunshine will help battle anxiety and depression that comes along with addiction and boost your overall health to make you feel better physically and mentally.