FEELING SAD? IMPACT OF SUNSHINE ON WELL-BEING
Have you been feeling SAD already this autumn?
Don’t worry, so have we. Seasonal Affective Disorder affects a large portion of the population, especially in the colder and darker months, with winter linked to emotional distress. The condition is described as feeling very lethargic, sad and hopeless due to the time of year and weather conditions forcing people to stay indoors, reducing light exposure. A study carried out last year by scientists at an American university highlighted that“seasonal increases in sun time were associated with decreased mental health distress”. They also found that days with a high amount of sunshine, even when they were interspersed with cloudy or stormy moments, appeared to have the most positive impact on our well-being. It’s no wonder so many chose to retire abroad or even move abroad for work, as it’s not always just to get a tan, but to improve your well-being too. And with 5 of the top 10 dullest cities in Europe in the UK itself, it’s no surprise that so many Brits ‘up sticks’ for the sunshine.
Moving abroad is a big step, and with so many destinations to choose from, Spain consistently comes out on top for a number of reasons. The majority of Spain is basking in 2,500 to 3,000 hours of glorious sunshine every year- that’s a staggering 8.2 hours a day, which increases during the summer months. With Andalusian cities such as Seville being nicknamed the “frying pan of Europe” due to its record-breaking heat in the summer and over 12 hours of sunshine, Spain is a smart move if you’re looking to improve your well-being.
It’s not just the sunshine and warm weather that can have a direct impact on your well-being either, it’ll be your shift in lifestyle too. In the UK and most Northern European countries, we’re used to grey skies and drizzly mornings. We sit crammed on busy trains on our daily commute and constantly buying new umbrellas to shield us from the fine, pointless rain - all while trying to shield ourselves from feeling SAD. But, moving to a warmer part of Europe such as Southern Spain will turn your daily routine and lifestyle on its head. Walking in the sunshine, meeting friends to play golf, walking the dog along the beach and drinking a lovely glass of vino on the terrace at 10 pm, are all regular activities of an expat in Spain. Something which we can’t always do in the UK due to poor weather. The lifestyle in Southern Spain revolves heavily around the weather and you’ll find yourself trying new things each day which you couldn’t do at home.
Where to Move?
Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Costa de la Luz are the best options if you’re looking for optimum warm weather and a favourable climate all year round. Providing a beautiful and fiery blend of traditional Spanish heritage with a North African flare, Costa de la Luz, or“Costa of Light”, lives up to its name and might spark your interest if you’relooking for a healthy mind, body and soul. Just like its Algarve neighbour, summer temperatures reach the mid-thirties, whilst an ever-present cool Atlantic breeze makes the heat bearable. From the Donana National Parkand the countryside around Conil de la Frontera, to the major port city of Cadiz, there’s countless outdoor activities to take part in, providing maximum VitaminD intake! TheCosta Blanca is so enchanting, offering its own microclimate with averagewinter temperatures rarely dipping below 15 degrees. In 1986 the World Health Organisation even recommended the climate of the area as one of the most equitable in the world - neither too hot in the summer nor too cold in the winter. Finally, the Costa del Sol is a veteran forNorth European expats wanting the perfect lifestyle in the sun.
Don’t get us wrong, we can be perfectly happy in cloudy weather, but there are studies that suggest that a deficiency of VitaminD can be casually linked to depressive symptoms. So, if you’ve been feeling low or have caught the winter blues already, maybe it’s time to start thinking about that holiday home in Spain!