My dad recalls a time when as kids we would run around the yard with only undies protecting us from the sun.

Dad comes from the generation before ‘slip, slop, slap’ and feels now – that as parents, they may have given us too much sun in these early years.

Today, my ‘slip, slop, slap’ generation protect our children in abundance with hats, sunscreen and clothing designed to block the sun. The research shows this is coinciding with an increasing deficiency in vitamin d and immune related problems.

How confusing it must be for parents.

As a country kid spending summer days at the river swinging off branches into the cool river water, I was a diligent 2 hourly sunscreen kid, who went home at lunch to avoid the scorching midday heat. Occasionally I still got a little burnt, but nothing like my best mate with fair skin.The endless blisters, scabs and peeling skin did not reflect her diligence in the ‘slip, slop, slap’ method. As she tried in any way to protect her skin whilst attempting to ‘get a tan’ (just like the models in cleo), failed miserably, over and over again.

What I remember most was the sun’s warmth on my skin, lying on a towel on the grass to warm up or pressing my body against the warmth of the concrete to see my outline after jumping out of the pool.

Sunshine is necessary to exist as a human being. We need it to produce melatonin to sleep well at night. We need the sunshine to stimulate vitamin d production in the skin for healthy bones and healthy immune systems.

Like any medicine-moderation is always the key. Today’s recommendations include 15 minutes exposure to your arms and legs (or surface area thereabouts) early morning before 10am or after 3pm.

All Australians are very well aware of too much sun. How many think of it like a medicine? If I get too much what will it do to my body? If I don’t get enough what will it do to my body? We all know melanoma cancer is a very real disease process. Too many of us know someone who has been affected by this. For me- it was my cousin who passed away 10 years ago at the same age I am now from the sunshine illness. Who would have guessed that little mole on the bottom of her foot could lead to such devastating consequences.

So- in fear do we say the sunshine is bad? No- we can’t, we need it. Temperance and moderation is what makes all natural things a medicine in our daily lives.

Especially during the winter it is important to get your daily dose. This can avoid the winter blues and help keep your neurotransmitters happy. If we listen to our bodies, we can usually read them to say- ‘I really need to get out in the sun’.

Do this and enjoy the warmth, nourishment and joy that sunshine can bring on so many levels.

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