6 Simple stress-busting strategies for summer
Summer is no time to let stress get the best of you. There’s fresh air to enjoy, sunshine to soak up (while wearing sunscreen, of course), pools to dive into and national parks to visit. If you’re already shaking your head, thinking there’s no way you can do any of the above without a meltdown, it’s time to say no to stress so you can enjoy summer sans anxiety. Looming deadlines, never-ending to-dos and family commitments can easily turn summer into your least favorite season -- but it’s time to change all that with our simple, stress-busting strategies for a fun and happy summer.
Talk it out
Feeling the pressure from too many to-dos? The worst thing you can do is hold it all in and hope that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach goes away on its own. Rather than suffer solo through anxiety, enlist the ear of a close friend or family member. Often just getting your worries out in the open makes them seem less significant and much more manageable. Plus, whomever you confide in will likely have some new ideas and a fresh perspective on whatever has you so wound up.
Take a time out
So many things to do you can barely see straight, let alone entertain the thought of heading outside to enjoy the lovely day? Drop everything and seek out the sunshine, even if it's only for a little while. Allowing yourself to take a time out is important if you want t to stay focused for the rest of the day. Getting away from your desk will help clear your head and make it much easier to finish what you were doing and move on to the next task without feeling overwhelmed.
Sometimes stress can take over your brain, and whatever it is that has you worried will be the only thing you're thinking about. Whether it's a big presentation, job interview, upcoming vacation on which you'll be expected to keep three kids under 6 entertained or knowing your in-laws are coming to spend 10 days with you (despite your pleas that a hotel would be preferable) – sometimes you need to distract yourself from stress to give it less power over your thoughts. Go for a walk, get your nails done, treat yourself to an iced latte at your favorite café or hit the gym. The idea is to get outside of your head and away from whatever has you so anxious.
Write your anxiety away
In this digital day and age it might seem strange to physically write anything down – even shopping lists are becoming obsolete with all those note-taking apps available for smartphones – but writing out a list of everything that's currently stressing you out is a great way to figure out how to deal with it. Often stress can feel like a big cloud hanging over you with no shape or definition to speak of, but writing out your worries gives them form and makes them easier to deal with. Once you've listed them, you can even prioritize each one according to urgency and create a plan to tackle them – ideally with time to spare to hit the beach!
Kick up a fuss
You read it right -- we're suggesting you take notes from your finicky toddler or sulky teenager and kick up a fuss about whatever has you tied up in knots. Yell, scream, jump up and down – whatever helps you blow off steam. Sometimes you just need to admit you're overwhelmed -- instead of pretending to have everything under control, let it all hang out and throw a mini (controlled) temper tantrum to allow yourself some breathing room and admit to yourself that no one is perfect and everyone gets stressed out (meaning it's OK not to be a super-woman or super-mom).
Just say no
This is likely the toughest thing for many people to do. We all want to please, but saying yes when you really mean no (or when saying yes means added pressure on you) is best avoided if you want to have fun this summer. No, you can't run the bake sale this year, no, you can't be the only mom to drive six other kids to and from day camp (why do those moms get to enjoy the beach while you're carting kids around?) and no, you won't be entertaining your mother-in-law for most of the summer. She can visit and hang out with you and the kids but she won't be monopolizing your life from June through August. Be nice but don't compromise your own enjoyment just to please other people.