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making the most of summer bliss

We don’t usually hear anyone speak about the “summer blues”. That’s because most people tend to feel happier and less stressed during the summer time. Let’s look at some of the key reasons why summer is one of the best seasons for mental and physical health and how we can make the most of it.  

Spend more time outdoors:

You probably have noticed feeling significantly better whenever the sun is out. This lift in our mood may have something to do with Vitamin D, which our body produces whenever our skin is exposed to sunshine. This vitamin has a number of beneficial properties and is said to ward against several physical and mental ailments, including osteoporosis, heart attacks, and depression.

Many North Americans are said to be deficient in Vitamin D. One possible cause of this deficiency can be attributed to the long fall and winter seasons with shorter days. During the summer months when the days are longer, it might be a good idea to soak up as much sunshine as possible.

Exercise:

Summer also affords more opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, outdoor swimming, walking/running outside, or even playing a game of volleyball by the beach. Not only does physical exercise improve one's fitness and release feel-good brain chemicals like neurotransmitters and endorphins, University of Essex’s researchers also found that it is even more beneficial if done outside in green spaces.

Spend time with friends and family:

Many summer activities like the ones listed above as well as barbecuing, going to picnics, or camping are social activities. These activities are perfect for relaxing with friends or family at the end of the workday and on the weekends. Healthy relationships are pivotal for good mental health, and social activities can be a wonderful way to bond with our close ones.

Vacation:

There is growing evidence that taking time off work is important for mental health and can make people feel happier and less stressed. A study by Nuffield Health in 2012 found that those who didn’t go away on vacation didn’t sleep as well, had higher blood pressure, and higher levels of stress. Moreover, the benefits of the break lasted weeks and sometimes months after the vacation. So take some time off work during the year to travel away to a holiday destination or to simply be with family and friends. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Sources:

A prescription for better health: go alfresco (2010, July). Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from www. health.harvard.edu.

Depression (major depressive disorder). (2014, October 10). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org.

Pemberton, Becky. (2015, September 17). Revealed: What happens to your physical and mental health if you don’t take enough holiday. Daily Mail. Retrieved from www.dailymail.co.uk.

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