You’ve heard that exercise alleviates depression. Well, it turns out that taking a hot bath works even better!
A new study found that taking a hot bath twice a week can significantly lift your mood – more so than exercise. It has to do with altering the body’s temperature and circadian rhythm. Plus a hot bath is more appealing for some folks than an arduous sweat-filled workout. (Acupuncture, massages, and hot showers by the way also release endorphins – as does laughter! So maybe laughing your head off while soaking in a hot bath might be the medicine for chasing away the blues!)
You can also read in the tub and thereby escape the grasp of that incessant cell phone. No cable news. No email. No political ads. Just you in sudsy bliss in the company of a great book.
And speaking of books, C.S. Lewis famously said, “We read to know we are not alone.” Reading is an additional antidote for depression whose best friend is isolation.
What are Joy and I reading these days, you ask?
We highly recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It’s light reading and it makes you smile, even chuckle. It’s on Reese Witherspoon’s list and may soon be a movie. That gives us the opportunity to envision who might play the characters we have come to know. It’s an account of growth and courage; reinforcement that we are not alone. Reading a book such as this is like being invited into someone’s home you don’t know and hiding behind the curtains as they tell their story.
A word about book clubs… I (Joy) am finding that if I have to convince myself to read the book, perhaps I should come up with my own selection! On the other hand, book clubs force us to read something outside our usual genre. If it’s a good discussion group, maybe a probing question or two might be raised and debated.
So run that bath, grab a book, pour a glass of vino, light a candle. Bubbles add another dimension to the overall experience. Now that we know the heat of the bath is key, make sure it’s hot before you get in. I hate tepid anything! Turn on music. Music soothes the soul and it puts us in the mood to relax. Think of it as water therapy. Close your eyes and indulge.
Who had time for a bath pre retirement?!!
And in the immortal words of L’Oreal, “You’re worth it!”
. Be open to exploring new ways to relieve stress, anxiety, depression. If all it takes is a dunk in a hot tub and the world’s problems melt away, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? Shriveled toes and fingers! No prescription needed!
Enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay & Joy
Check out The Great American Read for more bathtub books!