If the winter months have you feeling tired, don’t despair! Taking a tropical vacation is not the only way to get away when you invest in a daily hot tub escape. Winter blues are usually caused by a combination of missing the energizing effect of longer days of sunlight and feeling stir crazy with fewer opportunities for getting outdoors in the cold. Combat this with the year-round outdoor retreat that a hot tub in your yard can provide. In addition to giving you a reason to get up off the couch and into the fresh air, wintertime hot tub soaking will rejuvenate you, improving both your health and your temperament.
The following health benefits of hot tub soaking will help keep the winter blues at bay:
1) Balancing hormones Studies have shown that soaking in hot water results in a combination of increased blood flow and relaxed breathing, which in turn causes an increase in levels of “happy” hormones like serotonin and dopamine and a decrease in “stress” hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. This balance in hormones can help to treat the emotional and physical symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.
2) Achieving deeper sleep The heat of hot tub water naturally raises your core body temperature. As you exit, your body temperature will enter a cooling period. This process mimics the pattern of body temperature changes before and during sleep, which ultimately helps you achieve a deeper sleep. And improved sleep is one of the best weapons you can have to combat stress on an ongoing basis.
3) Mental reprieve from physical symptoms Whether your ailment is standard post-workout muscle soreness or advanced arthritis; physical pain understandably takes a toll on mental energy. While your body is healing inside the bubbling water of your hot tub, your mind will be freed from thoughts of pain. Use this opportunity to practice letting go of other mentally draining thoughts, such as work worries or routine responsibilities, and just focus on indulging in the solitude of your backyard oasis.
4) Opportunity for meditation If you’ve ever wished you could master clearing your mind and achieving perfect serenity, your hot tub is the ideal place to practice meditation. You can use aromatherapy candles (in soothing scents of lavender or vanilla), and play calming nature sounds to help distract you from racing thoughts. Practice taking slow deep belly breaths as you focus on the warm water enveloping your body and the strains of the music if you choose to use it. Begin with a goal of 4-5 minutes of consistent focus, and slowly work your way up to sessions of 15 minutes. Eventually, you’ll be able to harness the calmness and clarity that you can achieve here and call upon it during moments of stress in your day. And remember to stay mindful of your water temperature and level during the winter months for maximum energy efficiency!