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How sunlight can affect moods and working from home

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 10:00:28-04

HELENA -- With many businesses choosing to keep their employees working from home, the time spent inside presents significant challenges from a mental health aspect.

“Causes of concern are just isolation from people as well as the potential for burnout," said Brittany Kizer, a behavioral health professional at Saint Peter's Regional Medical Center.

One way to deter the feelings of burnout is by keeping a routine similar to the one people had prior to working from home on a regular basis. Getting up with enough time to shower, and eat something healthy before a day of virtual meetings is a good start said Kizer.

Another way that people can push away the work from home blues is by getting exercise, but that exercise doesn't always have to be an hour-long gym session.

"We're at our desk, on our couches, wherever it is that we have found the ability to work from home, and we continue working without a set routine to go outside," said Kizer.

The World Health Organization recommend people go for a 5 to 15 minute walk a few times a week to get direct sunlight. By getting that sunlight, the body's vitamin D and serotonin levels will increase, ultimately improving people's moods.

"Having access to sunlight can affect the way that we experience calmness, relaxation, it can increase our mood. It acts as a natural stabilizer," said Kizer.

Though some days, nothing will go right. A daily routine, exercise and a healthy diet can be dropped by the wayside, and Kizer noted that these days are normal, as long as they're done in moderation and don't become the new routine.

“Moderation is key, particularly around being in the sun without sunscreen on, or what type of food or eating, or how much exercise," said Kizer. "All of it as moderation.”