We’ve explained what burnout is and given you some practical tips on how to overcome it such as changing up your daily routines, switching jobs or tasks at work and speaking to a health professional, but don’t underestimate the benefits of sunshine.
The secret is vitamin D, the one thing you may need to get your body and mind in a strong, ready state to tackle symptoms of burnout or stress. And if you’re stuck in the wintry depths of a grey England or chilly Scandinavian country, then vitamin D would be difficult to come by.
But the solution can be just a flight away, to a serene corner of the Earth where you can find sheer sunshine and reap its subsequent health benefits: South Africa.
The southernmost African country offers the perfect opportunity to forget the bustling city life and its monotonous rat race and immerse yourself in nature.
Plus, its constant South African sunshine gets people flying in from all corners of the globe chasing vitamin D’s remarkable healing powers.
Vitamin D and its powerful perks
Often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, the American National Library of Medicine reveals higher doses can increase physical strength, which can give you the energy to help combat fatigue caused from stress or burnout. Many studies also show that vitamin D helps regulate and protect dopamine and other chemicals that contribute to healthy brain function and wellbeing.
A 2022 report revealed low vitamin D levels are associated with increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sunshine, therefore helps elevate mood by boosting serotonin levels — also referred to as the “happiness hormone” — making you calm yet alert.
Some expert bodies and vitamin D researchers suggest, for example, that approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure, particularly between 10am and 4pm, either daily or at least twice a week to the face, arms, hands, and legs without sunscreen usually leads to sufficient vitamin D synthesis.
A good night’s sleep
The brighter your exposure to the sun in the daylight hours, the more melatonin you produce at night, which improves sleep, synchronises your biological clock and lowers stress. When you experience distorted circadian rhythms, you are more prone to lower mood and feelings of worthlessness and anxiety.
Let’s compare South Africa with a destination like London as an example. South Africa has an average of 2,500 hours of sun every year, almost double the 1,675 sunshine hours per year in the English capital.
In London, the sun is rarely seen in the cooler months from November to February. But in South Africa, the sun shines all-year-round, which is important to note if you’re at the mercy of stress or burnout and longing for that warm, comforting touch only a ray of sunlight can offer.