I tanned today and wow did it feel good. Considering how stressful the holiday season can be (and for me Thanksgiving is the most stressful) tanning plays a role in helping me relax. I find that getting 15 minutes of time to myself, uninterrupted by anyone or anything is a treat during this season. I suppose it is because sunshine and UV rays release endorphins in the system to make us feel better. This is another surprising benefit I’ve been able to experience through tanning. I kind of touched on it in my last blog post about being depressed when I would go long periods of time without the sun. Even though I couldn’t be out in it, I wanted to see it. Now that I am able to be in it, I have a boost in my spirits when I am able to soak up some rays. I really didn’t expect to have this experiment affect me in so many ways: not only physically, but mentally. Tanning can have a calming effect. In years past the holidays were a time of stress and depression for me. I would spend my days in the doldrums, miserable. I had no energy or enthusiasm for the season that so many people were excited about. I had a hard time getting into the spirit of things. Even my family could tell I wasn’t feeling myself. But since I have been tanning and have time for myself, I have noticed that my attitude has improved. My energy level is better and my general outlook is much more positive. Tanning has actually changed the way I deal with the holidays and diminished my stress considerably. I believe that the way UV rays interact with my system has been a key to this transformation. I am more productive at work, I am less likely to over-react to negative situations, and find I handle adversity better. I feel like I am managing things related to the holidays better this year. The one thing that is different this year over years past? Tanning.