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A Summer “Stress Check-up”

If you’re thinking the words “summer” and “stress” paired together in the same sentence must be an oxymoron, rested assured those two words do indeed have something in common.

Yes, we look forward to the “lazy days of summer,” complete with visions of the pool, the beach, backyard BBQs, and vacations. Especially after the likes of never-ending winter, just thinking about sunshine and the great outdoors warms not only our toes but our souls as well.

That’s why one would imagine that winter—the snow, the cold, the shorter days—would equate to the most stressful season of the calendar year. But it turns out “one” would be wrong.

In the study presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego April of 2018, researchers found that women had higher levels of cortisol—AKA the “stress hormone,”—in summer than they did in winter. “We, of course, see seasonality in animals, but more and more results show that seasonality also connects with human beings,” lead study author Dominika Kanikowska, MD, Ph.D., told the New York Post.

One culprit is thought to be a lack of sleep. According to a SleepRate survey, one-third of Americans found summertime to be more stressful than any other time of the year, mostly because summertime means less sleep. Multiple social obligations per week, coupled with planning for a vacation, and adjusting to a new schools-out routine added up to less slumber in the summer.

Worker Care concludes, “For some of us, summer is the most stressful time of the year. Kids are out of school, relatives are visiting, the temperatures outside are rising, and co-workers are taking vacations, leaving you to pick up the slack around the office.”

Both men and women tend to tack on extra to-do’s during the summer months as well. For Dad, it could be the yard work and gardening, and of course, the home improvement projects screaming for attention. For mom, the children’s schedules and activities have her managing a chauffeur service, shuttling the offspring to their ballgames, play dates, swimming lessons, and nature day camp. Or the roles may be reversed. Regardless, these extra tasks can pile on the stress.

This summer, choose to focus on breathing. Long, deep breaths will tell the brain to turn off the “fight or flight” defense that gets triggered by stress. Breathe in, breathe out and—

  • Set a routine for going to bed and getting up for kids and parents too.
  • Choose the activities your family most enjoys and don’t be afraid to say “no” to events and social functions that overwhelm you and turn your calendar into a maze that only a sprinter could navigate.
  • Make a family effort to maintain realistic expectations and be flexible with who does what. If the mowing gets pushed back a day in favor of watching your son/daughter’s t-ball game, so be it.
  • And then ENJOY SUMMER!

At Medical Temporaries, Inc., we have the connections and resources to get your foot in the door, so why not let us assist you in reaching your career goals this summer and throughout the coming year?

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