hero image couple in a hot tub discuss summer time health and happiness

Health & Happiness Tips: A Summer Round-Up

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If your life is anything like ours, by the time summer is over you can't remember swapping out your wardrobe from wool to light airy cotton, or switching your go-to drink from hot cocoa to iced green tea. In a bit of a surprise twist, beach weather sometimes comes and goes without much notice lately. Like many of you we work right through the summers and often they pass before there is time for a trip to the beach.

The approach of bathing suit season is typically the time when many of us high-tail it to a fitness trainer in a quest for a bathing suit body. What about focusing more on how you feel more than how you look? It can been transformational. And while some of the changes are subtle our outlook can shift from worrying about the number on the scale to something more empowering.

Why do some of us get depressed in the summer season?

Summer season can be a downer for some, especially if you have to work full time. In our line of work here at Caldera® located in sunny southern California, spring and summer are the busy seasons and the time we have to be most dedicated, keep a grinding schedule and be most productive. It can be a bummer when we don't get enough time to ourselves and we have to be sure to make time for taking exercise and eating properly. To be truthful, summer passes so quickly recently that there isn't really time to miss the beach and the traditional summer celebration. According to the WebMD website, some people get depressed in summer for biological reasons. Sometimes we feel bummed when summer ends and realize we didn't get a chance to do much in the way of fun. Apparently we can also get depressed during summer when we realize we aren't getting enough fun time while it is happening in mid-season as well.

Dr. Norman Rosenthal, MD, and colleagues at the National Institute for Mental Health report on a malady known as "seasonal affective disorder (SAD)"; seems appropriately named. Fortunately it is a somewhat rare disorder but it seems that due to the increase in the hours of daylight in many areas of the world during summer, that this can cause a malfunction in the circadian rhythm affecting sleep. The main symptoms are the inability to sleep and the jitters. It can be quite a serious situation and you should consult a doctor if you get those symptoms in the summer or really any time of the year. You can have this issue in the seasons of the year when the daylight hours are shorter as well as longer. Probably best to see a doctor if you suffer these symptoms at any time of the year.

Does the season of your birth have anything to do with seasonal depression?

This really sounds like some kind of astrologic mumbo-jumbo at first consideration but apparently there may be some connection to the season of your birth and the way you feel during the seasonal changes. An article on the Smithsonian website makes reference to a study about seasonal depression and SAD involving mice that were purposefully birthed and raised in controlled environments to mimic the seasons of the year in regards to sunlight and basic weather conditions. The initial results suggest that mice born in the summer were measurably happier than those born in months with less sun. Apparently they measured brain activity to understand the differences. Hmmm, seems like there needs to be more research done in that area.

Time Magazine recently did an expo about the ways in wich the season of your birth is related to your personality directly. One of the studies they refer to also involves mice but in more recent years these studies are being extended to humans with similar findings about how we react to seasonal changes dependent upon our season of birth. They even came up with a chart that shows your personality types dependent upon the season you were born in. Compare these to yourself, your family and your other loved ones to see whether you think there might be any correlation or truth to these studies:

  • If you were born in Spring

    Apparently hyperthemia is a common trait which amounts to a positive outlook on life in general. On the con side of things, according to the Time article, it turns out that people born in the spring have a higher tendency towards depression than others. They site a massive study of 58,000 subjects in the U.K. in 2012 with the results that people born in May are the most susceptible and people born in November are the least susceptible to depression.

  • If you were born in Summer

    It appears that people born in the summer months of June, July and August are the least likely to suffer from SAD, according to the Time article. They go on to say that summer babies are susceptible to cyclothymia which involves wide mood swings, but not to be confused with bipolar disorder which is lowest among people born in August.

  • If you were born in Fall

    The Time article reports that babies born in the fall season have less incidence of depression but are more likely to be people who are easily irritated. It goes on to report that fall babies are also the least-likely to suffer bi-polar disorder.

  • If you were born in Winter

    Here the Time article reports that babies born in the winter months have the highest tendency towards "schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, SAD and depression". November is one of the bordering months with Winter and it is interesting that unlike Winter babies, babies born in November are the least likely to be depressed. But take heart Winter babies; there is still a lot of research that needs to be done in this area and a "tendency " is not the same as a diagnosis by any means. We hope that Winter readers do not feel as though they have been thrown under the bus in regards to seasonal depression.

What can I do to beat the end of summer blues?

Feeling healthy and having a positive outlook on life should be our top priorities. Have a plan. Structure and schedule your days in a way that supports a balanced (or at least more balanced) lifestyle that includes time for daily exercise and relaxation - often relaxing in your hot tub. We also should plan our meals ahead of time and strive for 8 hours of sleep each night. We have bookmarked several health, happiness and well-being sites that are great inspiration resources. Here are five of our favorite articles from the summer in the hopes they will inspire you, too.

My list of ways to feel happier and healthier after the summer is over:

25 Things Happy People Do Differently – Ponder this list of advice from Mind Body Green during your time in the hot tub. The soothing hot tub massage jets release tension and open our minds to think about attitude and how we can continue to approach life joyfully.

Six Reasons to Sleep Seven Hours – The infographic explains the importance of sleep in protecting your heart, and helping your lungs function. Still struggling to catch more zzz's? I find that 20 minutes in a hot tub can help.

4 Running Motivation Tricks – One of the hardest things about exercising is just getting started. These tips from Women's Health will help motivate you for your next fitness activity. These suggestions will help to motivate you to hit a few early-morning Pilates classes. How will they motivate you? Ready, Set, Go!

25 Happiest, Healthiest Cities in AmericaPrevention highlights the top 25 Healthiest Cities in America. See what put these towns on the list, and incorporate some of the ideas where you live.

5 Everyday Dishes that Offer Natural Summer Sun-Protection Organic Spa Living shares foods that provide extra defense against the sun. If you're a runner or a daytime hot tubber, this post is a great resource.

These are a few of our favorites. We're hoping you can help us add to this list. What blogs or websites do you look to for information on self-care and well-being? Let us know in the comments section so we can add your recommended sites to the list.

  

  


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