The Surprising Ways a Hot Tub Can Help Vanquish the Winter Blues
If you’ve lived in Alaska for a winter or thirty, then you’ve heard about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and perhaps even experienced its symptoms. Even the winter blues, or less severe symptoms, are nothing to sneeze at. Although they don’t last as long as SAD, winter blues can affect us profoundly.
And, although a 1992 study claims that about 10% of Alaskans suffer from SAD symptoms, it seems that most Alaskans we talk with experience some level of related symptoms of low energy, lack of interest in hobbies, social withdrawal, and sadness in the dark winter months.
Why is this?
It has to do with daylight, and how a later sunrise and earlier sunset can affect your circadian rhythms, or internal clocks, as well as your brain chemistry.
What’s more, when it’s only light during your working hours, those winter days can stretch on, seemingly forever. And although we know the seasons will change, it’s hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
However, your hot tub might just be the bearer of more than hot water…
…it could help you vanquish those winter blues.
Can a hot tub really help with SAD?
Although light really seems to be the most significant factor in conquering SAD, if you use your hot tub regularly, you can help combat the effects. In fact, here are a few reasons you’ll love using your hot tub this winter:
It takes less time to get ready.
What sounds better? Gearing up like the kid from A Christmas Story (EMBED) or popping on a suit and sinking into 102° water to relax?
When you feel better physically, you feel better mentally.
A 20-minute soak in warm water every day can improve your physical health, increase circulation, and help you relax. (more on this below!) Plus, the massage feels oh, so lovely!
You can use tub time to connect, either with yourself or your family members. Whether you’re clearing your head, enjoying together time, or sharing a laugh, you can slow down and live in the moment.
So even though it’s cold and dark, and you’d rather be gazing into a warm fireplace than doing…well, anything else, why not spend that time doing something that makes you feel good?
Your seasonal blues may just start to dissipate, but regardless, you’ll be more relaxed, more flexible, and ready to take on that next big thing.
Are There Benefits to Daylight Soaks?
Although we’re still learning about what causes SAD, it seems to be intrinsically linked to the amount of daylight, and by extension, the amount of Vitamin D we’re getting.
Of course, Vitamin D is important for more than our sense of wellbeing, and most Alaskans simply don’t get enough, which is why so many of us take a Vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D aside, getting outside in the daylight can help balance your internal clock as well as enjoying the other benefits of fresh air. A 20-minute daylight soak is a great option for enjoying the winter light, whether during the week or on the weekend.
So in the winter, instead of snuggling deep into a pile of blankets, you can warm up from the inside out in your hot tub as you relax. Don’t forget: you’re also improving circulation, loosening your muscles, and increasing your flexibility.
Can 20 Minutes Make a Difference?
Time is increasingly precious, so sometimes carving out even an hour can be difficult. However, nearly everyone can find 20 minutes, and according to Dr. Doreen Stiskal of Seton Hall University, “the body gains the maximum benefit of warm water therapy within 20 minutes.”
So yes, 20 minutes can make a huge difference. In fact, studies are finding that 20 minutes of warm water therapy in temperatures from 94° to 102° can:
Reduce arthritic joint pain because of water buoyancy.
Strengthening muscles and building endurance because our lungs work up to 60% harder in warm water.
Enhance relaxation by balancing the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous systems.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get you in hot water.
Grab our list of 10 things you can do immediately to start enjoying your tub more this winter!