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sphere of hot gas does remarkable
things for our bodies. Here are some
• In a complex relay of nerve signals,
sunlight stimulates our pineal gland
(a pea-size gland within our brain) to
make melatonin, which helps protect
our skin and regulates our sleep-wake
cycles. The precursor of melatonin
in the pineal gland is serotonin, the
“feel-good” brain chemical.
• We’re familiar with Vitamin D, the
“Sunshine Vitamin,” which can be
made by the body through the action
of sunlight on our skin. Vitamin
D’s role in the body is impressive,
including: bone and teeth health by
promoting the absorption of calcium;
increasing the body’s nitric oxide
production which reduces blood
pressure and increases blood flow to
the brain and kidneys (by relaxing
blood vessels); strengthening our
immune system and heart: regulating
insulin; and helping control
inflammation in the body.
Low levels of Vitamin D are
associated with a higher incidence
of autoimmune diseases, including
multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes,
lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and
autoimmune thyroid diseases. And,
SAD (season a;ective disorder) seems
to be triggered by a combination of
particular genes and shorter days
with less sunlight.
The average American spends
22 hours a day indoors, but we
think we spend only 16 hours a
day inside, according to YouGov,
an international research company.
And, a study published in Nutritional
Research found that the rate of
Vitamin D deficiency in the United
States was 41.6%. Perhaps we’ve been
too successful touting the downside
of sunlight and ignoring its many
benefits. Go outside and play!
Forced decluttering. Ah…how good
does it feel to go through a closet or
a garage, and give away/get rid of all
of that stu; you don’t want/need?
Relocating is decluttering on steroids.
You feel lighter and leaner as you
throw o; the yoke of all unnecessary
belongings. I found that moving to a
house without a basement was truly
liberating – it forced me to get rid of
my Organic Chemistry books from the
1980s, and give away piles of things I
wouldn’t use/didn’t need any longer.
Save Money. Moving to a place with
a lower cost of living or downsizing to
a smaller house can save you money.
And, if you can ditch your car because
you can either walk or use public
transportation, you may be able to
save even more.
You call the shots. Relocate before
you can no longer live in your home
and are forced to move. Most newer
homes are built with “universal
design” principles so you can age in
place. No more low toilets, bathtubs
you have to climb into to use the
shower, or door handles that are
di;cult to turn. Be proactive, not
reactive. And, remember – if for some
reason it doesn’t work out, nothing is
We’ve all heard the quote about
being more disappointed by the things
you DIDN’T do than by the ones
you did do. Change is invigorating.
Jan Cullinane is an award-winning retirement author, speaker, and
consultant. Her current book is The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley).
Change is invigorating. Embrace it.