Wait a minute; summer and stress in the same sentence? Am I the only one that feels stressed out in the summer? While summer is perceived as a time for vacations and fun it also brings added responsibilities that leave us feeling more stressed than blessed. Some top summer stressors include: heat/humidity, activity overload for parents and kids, over commitment to social obligations, childcare/supervision concerns, yard work, bored kids, work interruptions, family reunions, and less sleep.
Here are some strategies to keep summer stress at bay:
1. Make sleep a priority.Increased daylight hours, kid’s sleepovers, and numerous parties can result in sleep deprivation. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night and prevent fatigue, weight gain, daytime sleepiness, decreased cognitive function and short tempers!
2. Drink more water.Long summer days filled with sun, outdoor activities and alcohol or caffeinated drinks can quickly lead to trouble. Make it a habit to carry a water bottle or icy glass of water around with you to prevent headaches, dizziness and other signs of dehydration.
3. Get a jump on the day.This is my favorite. The peace and quiet of the early morning hours combined with the psychological boost of being ahead of the game gets me off to a good start. Even if you can’t do this every day, try for three times a week and reap the rewards.
4. Eat light.Heavy lunches mean sleepy/zoned out afternoons and a severe case of the three o’clock slump. Up your energy level by eating light during the day and stay productive and alert.
5. Set limits.Too many summer fun activities with no down time can be stressful. Don’t be afraid to say no to some invitations and carefully choose what you want to do with your time. Seriously, do you really need to eat that much bbq?!
6. Plan a ‘staycation’.Fast paced, busy vacations can leave you feeling you need a vacation from your vacation! Try a few small staycations filled with time to relax and short day trips. The result is less stress plus more money and time.
7. List it.To prevent arriving at the end of summer with a whiny list of could’ve, should’ve wishes, take time to list major activities, events or experiences that you truly want to do. Your list might include; weekly family bike rides, books you’d like to read, finally clean out the attic, visit local attractions (see #6), or have a regular cool off movie night. What you put on your list isn’t as important as actually doing what you put on your list.
“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne