So by the photo above you may be thinking, “Great, she’s going to tell me to get away from it all at a lake or beach this summer and go buy a bunch of toys to play in the sun. I don’t have time or money for that!” Nope. Those are all fun ways to enjoy the sun for sure, but not doable for me every day as a busy, frugal mom and probably not doable for you either. I took that picture today on our family fishing outing with the Cub Scouts but this was a rare occasion. Most weekends we stay home, even in the summer.
For my typical, near daily “summer fun in the sun” I stay home and enjoy a super easy “outing” by stepping out my front door in a swimsuit. That gives me the “sun” part of the equation. I’m talking about good old-fashioned sunbathing, or “heliotherapy” if you want a fancy word for it. For the “fun” part I take a stack of books and some tunes.
Then I go enjoy my “tanning bed” by simply lying out in the sun in my yard. I used to do it on the grass or patio. Last year the bugs got really bad on the patio, so this year I am happy to advance upwards by being able to lie out on the trampoline that we got the kids last Christmas. The bugs haven’t figured out how to climb up there I guess. Shhh, don’t tell them! Ahh, it is blissful peace with a light breeze, my view of God’s creations (through the trampoline net): the trees, blue skies, mountains; and no biting ants!
I have been spending the past few summers getting out in the sun conscientiously and safely to increase my Vitamin D levels. I started doing this when I lived in Utah. After getting my Vitamin D level in my blood tested, I found out it was shockingly low. I had it tested through a nutritional therapist. She said that my level was among the lowest she has ever seen. Then I read the articles by Mommypotamus over here and here. I agree with her, that sunshine equals happiness! That prompted me to write this blog post here and here. So then I started lying out in the sun. I did this for one summer and was sad to quit doing it when it got too cold. Then I moved to AZ so now my season of lying out in the sun has increased! Hooray! Instead of my tanning bed season being May to August it’s now more like April, even March, to October!! Since I don’t live in the super hot parts of AZ, it is actually comfortable to lie out in the sun for a short time (not all afternoon of course).
I started gradually increasing my sun exposure, since I easily burn. As a kid I was envious of all the cheerleader-type girls who tanned when I didn’t. Then I realized that hey, actually my arms are tanned from regular sun exposure while playing outside (typical farmer tan), so maybe my legs could get tanned too, and maybe tanned skin isn’t necessarily damaged skin? I started out with just lying out in the middle of the day, between 10 AM and 2 PM (the exact times most people say to avoid the sun, LOL) in my swimsuit. That way at least 60% of my skin is exposed, which is needful to get the best Vitamin D synthesis, according to Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, below.
I started out in my swimsuit with just 5 minutes of the front part of my body exposed, my upper chest, arms, and shoulders, and legs, then 5 minutes of my back parts exposed. I brought out a beach towel, a watch and a book, and I would just lie right out on the towel, on the ground, with a hat and sunglasses to protect my eyes while I am looking upwards. Then I went inside. I gradually added 5 minutes a week, going out every day, until I was doing 20 to 30 minutes on each side, almost every day. The result: no burning, even though I didn’t use sunblock and was out in the middle of the day. It was hard to get out there every day, truthfully, what with child rearing, homeschooling a big family, gardening, errands, homemaking, family vacations and reunions, etc. so on average I probably got 2-3 days a week. The result? I feel better and my Vitamin D level went up. My cortisol (a stress hormone) has decreased as well. (More on getting those tested in another post, or just go read the book The Blood Code.) I also haven’t had a cold or flu in about three years, maybe because of my increased Vitamin D levels. The flu is actually a symptom of Vitamin D deficiency, according to Dr. Eisenstein in the above video.
I spent three seasons of carrying out an armload of books, water bottle, phone and beach towel for my sunbathing. I dropped my phone, thus cracking its screen. So now I sanely put everything in a box and carry it out to the trampoline. Lately I’ve been leaving my phone in the house and just taking out my ancient iPod. That way I can have some music but I unplug from the WiFi and screen. As Elder Ballard says, it is important to unplug in his April 2018 General Conference address:
Too many allow themselves to almost live online with their smart devices—screens illuminating their faces day and night and earbuds in their ears blocking out the still, small voice of the Spirit. If we do not find time to unplug, we may miss opportunities to hear the voice of Him who said, “Be still, and know that I am God.”8 Now, there is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the advances in the technologies inspired by the Lord, but we must be wise in their use.
He was talking about unplugging on the Sabbath Day, which I heartily recommend (Elder Ballard also suggested here to put your phone in airplane mode during the three hour church block of meetings), but I also recommend unplugging at least once during the middle of the day.
So here are the contents of my “Summer Fun in the Sun Kit”:
1. Beach towel
2. Swimsuit that you wear of course
3. Watch, so you can time the exposure, building up 5 minutes at a time, if you are fair skinned and feel like you are super sensitive to burning
5. Sunglasses for when you’re facing the sun. The Healthy Home Economist says that it’s good to go without sunglasses when you can (like when you are not driving into the sun or looking right into the sun) so you can absorb sulphur more.
6. iPod with earbuds (somedays I go without just to hear nature around me. I think my iPod has a clock too but this thing is so old I don’t dare rely on the clock in it)
7. Water bottle with straw. A straw is important, so you don’t have to tilt your head back when you drink, you can just lie there and relax and drink.
8. Books, books, books! (See *footnote below if you need help on reading the titles in my picture)
9. Box to carry it all in. I used the box that my Trim Healthy Mama Workins Exercise Kit came in, which I asked for and got for Mother’s Day from hubby and my adult kids (Thank you, dears! Btw, there is no shame in asking for what gift you want for your birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day! I learned this by reading Ramona Zabriskie’s Wife for Life book. Maybe I will do a book review sometime.)
10. Instructions to the kiddos inside as to where I am going, who’s in charge, what I expect them to have finished by the time I get back, what the consequences will be if they aren’t done, and to only come get me if there’s blood or fire. Lately I’ve been inviting them to come out too with their books but they aren’t interested, which is fine by me, haha. More peace and quiet! I thought it was funny that Karen Andreola, in this talk over here on mother culture, confessed that she would hide from her kids in the afternoon. She would put them in their rooms for “Quiet Time” and then go to her room for her mother culture time and set the timer. Then towards the end she would leave and go hide. When the timer went off they would go seek and find her, which would buy her more time for mother culture.
I guess it’s because I’m a secondary Carol Tuttle energy type 1 that I always have a stack of books I’m into. I also like to read a bunch of books in the hour and not just one. I thrive on having lots of ideas going on in my head!
I read in the Spring 2018 issue of the WAPF journal that the best time to access the sun for Vitamin D synthesis is when it’s at an angle of at least 50 degrees, which is in the middle of the day, but it varies according to where you live. To figure out the time for your latitude where this happens, go here.
Happy sunbathing! Remember, the right amount of sunshine = happiness! Enjoy absorbing those free elements that God gives us in sunlight. Slather on coconut oil or beef tallow afterwards if you feel like your skin is getting too dry.
*list of books in the picture, starting on the lower left and going clockwise:
Receiving Answers to Prayer by Elder Gene R. Cook
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn, see my cautionary note about a risque part in the book here
Miracle at Philadelphia by Catherine Drinker Bowen
The Read Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie
Whence Came They? by Vaughn Hansen
How to Hug a Porcupine by Julie Ross for help on relating to my challenging teen
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