1 Thing You Can Do Today

Get some sunshine

During rainy or overcast days you might notice how a lack of sunshine can affect how you feel. Here’s why getting outside and soaking up some sun will benefit your health.

Builds strong bones and immune system.

When the sun’s UVB rays hit your skin, they trigger the production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to absorb calcium to support healthy bones, may reduce inflammation, and is important for a healthy immune system.

Sun exposure times will vary depending on season and location – depending on the time of year and your location, you will need more or less time in the sun to produce adequate vitamin D.


Promotes better mood.

Exposure to sunlight is believed to increase your brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin, associated with better mood and feeling calm. Without enough sunlight your serotonin levels can dip, and researchers have found lower levels in people during winter, when there are less hours of daylight. This may explain the prevalence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in some parts of the world.



The UV rays from the sun increase the risk of skin cancer, including the most deadly type, melanoma. That is why we must get the balance right between too much and not enough sunlight. Check the UV level before you head outside. If it is three or above, go out when it is not so intense, or use sun protection measures. There are plenty of apps that will let you know what the UV level is at your location, or you can try your local weather bureau.

Can Blood Pressure Ever Get Too Low?

Yes, it can. If it drops below 90/60 mmHg, doctors will say you have low blood pressure.

It is not always bad news. Low blood pressure can be a sign of good health in people who are very fit and have a slow pulse. As a bonus, people with low blood pressure tend to lead longer lives.

You can also experience low blood pressure from overheating; having too little blood circulating (from blood donation or bleeding heavily); being dehydrated; being pregnant; taking one of many different types of medicine; or having a lot of drugs or alcohol in your system.

Certain medical conditions may also cause your blood pressure to drop. These include allergic reactions, infections, certain heart conditions, nutritional deficiencies or severe pain.

There is also a type of low blood pressure called ‘postural hypotension’ where blood pressure drops suddenly when a person stands, making them feel dizzy.

Low blood pressure can cause some unpleasant symptoms. These include:

  • Light headedness or dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Fatigue
  • Fainting

See your doctor if you think you have symptoms of low blood pressure as an underlying cause may need treatment. But if it isn’t causing you problems, treatment won’t be needed.

Your doctor may advise that you take precautions to prevent episodes of low blood pressure, such as avoiding dehydration, hot showers, or standing up too quickly.

Don’t Show Up to Work Sick

You may feel a little off colour. A few sniffles, a headache, some aches and pains. But you ‘soldier on’ – such a common and acceptable term that it’s even been used in an ad for a cold remedy.

‘Soldiering on’ is also known as ‘sickness presenteeism – being at work but being ineffective due to ill health. Presenteeism is also used to describe working excessively long hours, and working when you are burned out or mentally unwell.

We know absenteeism can be a problem for workplace, but presenteeism can be an even bigger issue. A study by the World Health Organization suggested that while absenteeism costs companies about 4 days a year per employee, up to 57.5 days are lost to presenteeism.

Since the pandemic we have learnt not to show up to work if we have tested positive to COVID-19, not least for the sake of our workmates’ health and that of their families. So what should you do instead to get better quickly?

  • OTC remedies. It is tempting to pop a pain reliever or flu remedy and head off to work. After all, they make you feel much better. But while these may help cover the symptoms, they do nothing to address the cause of the illness, and you will still be infectious. Stay home until your symptoms stop.
  • Take time to recover. If you do not take time off, it is going to take you longer to recover, whether you are working from your workplace or working from home.

While working from home does mean you will not spread a contagious illness to your workmates, there are downsides. Studies show that wherever you work, working while sick will affect the quality of your work, can increase the risks of poor health in the future, and increases the risk that you will have to take more time off due to sickness 18 months later.

Why Doctors Are Prescribing Social Connection

Science has shown that connection and social support are essential to our health – so essential that doctors are now prescribing it like a drug. Here’s why.

As humans we need connection, just like we need oxygen and water. Even for the most introverted among us, social connection is vital to our physical and mental health.

Lack of social support and not feeling connected to others has been linked to many chronic illnesses.

‘Social prescription’ is being used by doctors around the world, particularly for marginalised communities who struggle to access social services.

In this context, social prescription involves linking the patient with activities and services provided by community organisations, in a way that is trackable and measurable. It’s accepted in community health as a preventative and early-intervention service.

Research shows that it works. In Britain, social prescribing is a formal part of the National Health Service. An Australian literature review found it reduces chronic disease, depression and suicidal behaviour, reliance on medication and substance abuse, while improving social confidence, physical and mental wellbeing, sense of purpose and health self-management.

How social prescribing can work for you

You might not necessarily need help with linking to community services, but you might benefit from permission to socialise more.

For many of us, a doctor’s ‘prescription’ gives us both permission AND accountability. With a prescription for social connection, you won’t need to justify it, but embrace it as part of your health care plan.

Too often, we put socialising way down the list of things to do. We get caught up in the necessities of work, housework and caring for children or ageing parents. We try to find time for exercise and preparing good food, but catching up with friends, or joining a hobby group, can sometimes seem like a luxury.

What if you prioritised social connection, in the same way you prioritise drinking water, or getting exercise, or taking daily medication?

What if you scheduled it into your day as a non-negotiable?


Action item:

1. Next time you plan your weekly schedule, add in non-negotiable time for connecting and socialising with others. Make it fun!

2. If you think you need more permission or accountability to make this happen, consider raising it with your doctor during your next visit, and ask them to prescribe it for you on a formal prescription pad. It will do wonders for your health!