Brighten Your Mood: Top Tips for Incorporating More Sunlight into Your Daily Routine

With my depression at an all-time high, I went on a search for answers over many years. A reoccurring factor for me? Sunlight. 

Blood work revealed I was at a dangerous low of vitamin D, and the lack of sunlight due to my remote desk job didn't help my "outdoor" time.

I wanted to share some things I've learned from various professionals, as your mental health friend and cheerleader.

How sunlight affects mental wellness

Sunlight is an essential component of our body's natural rhythm. Our circadian rhythm, or internal body clock, is largely influenced by the amount of light exposure we receive throughout the day.

I recall being in my naturopath's office and thinking that circadian sounded like a giant, loud, summer bug. How was this going to contribute to my mental health?

When we're exposed to sunlight, our bodies produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. This can help to boost our mood and overall sense of well-being.

I'd later learn this was going to be an essential thing to pay attention to in my day and routine.

On the other hand, lack of sunlight can have the opposite effect. Studies have shown that people who live in regions with less sunlight, or who spend the majority of their time indoors, are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and other mood disorders.

Tips for incorporating more sunlight into your daily routine

If you're looking to improve your mental wellness and overall health, here are some top tips for incorporating more sunlight into your daily routine:

Creating a morning sunlight routine

Starting your day with exposure to sunlight can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and boost your mood for the rest of the day. Try waking up a little earlier and spending some time outside, either by taking a walk or simply sitting in the sun with your morning coffee.

This was the first tip I was given and it's a big deal for me now. In the morning I work in a fully sunny office (I even moved furniture around to do so). In the afternoon I work in the sunroom as well as go for a daily walk outside.

Getting outside during the workday

If you work in an office or spend most of your day indoors, try to get outside for a few minutes during your lunch break or between meetings. Even a short walk around the block can provide a much-needed boost of sunlight and fresh air. Bonus points if you motivate yourself by walking to pick up lunch or a coffee!

Finding indoor spaces with natural light

If you're unable to spend much time outside, try to find indoor spaces with natural light. This might mean positioning your workspace near a window or taking frequent breaks to step outside and soak up some sun. I just did an entire cozy vlog on cleaning out my sunroom to make it a working space! Check it out, I hope it inspires you.

Other ways to improve mental wellness

While sunlight exposure can be a powerful tool for improving mental wellness, several other strategies can help. These might include practicing mindfulness meditation, prayer, getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and seeking support from a mental health professional when needed.

So why not give it a try and see how it can brighten your mood?

What are your favorite ways to incorporate more sunlight into your daily routine? Share your tips in the comments below!

Written by Sarah Edwards. Want to get to know me? Say hi!

This article was originally posted for Set Apart Magazine at

Disclaimer: Sarah Edwards is not a certified or licensed mental health professional. Rather someone sharing real life experience and findings for others to find commonality and seek actionable steps needed for them.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 1). Effects of light on circadian rhythms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, December 14). Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from 

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