It’s summertime and we all know what that means: time outdoors, kids out of school, weddings, pool parties, zoo trips, holidays, vacationing and stress. Oh, wait — stress? How did that get in there?
That’s the thing about stress; it has a habit of sneaking into our lives when we least expect it, especially during the summer months. Somewhere between the fun, sun and parties that permeate June, July and August, stress quietly tip-toes in, subtly making itself known. At first glance, it’s easy to overlook some of the common signs of stress — feeling tired or cranky; a queasy stomach; or even a headache — but catching these symptoms early-on in the cycle alleviates stress before it has a chance to manifest into something worse, like depression, anxiety, emotional overwhelm or a host of other stress-related illnesses and diseases.
Thankfully, there are myriad things you can do to keep stress at bay this summer, so you can truly relax and enjoy the season, all summer long! Self-care and self-loving actions are a wonderful place to start! Here is a list of 35:
1. Exercise! Run, walk, ride a bike or anything else that gets your body moving!
2. Meditate; the benefits are numerous and it makes for an excellent stress-recess!
3. Get yourself a manicure or pedicure
4. Eat healthy; think greens and lean meats and fish!
5. Learn a deep breathing technique and practice it every day! Here are a few: [http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00521/three-breathing-exercises.html] 6. Practice gratitude! Write down three things you are grateful for every day. Research shows practicing daily gratitude increases physical symptoms and increases optimism [http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/Labs/emmons/PWT/index.cfm?Section=4] 7. Take yourself out for a fancy meal. You deserve it!
8. Eat off your fine china (better yet, swap your ordinary china for your fine china for good!)
9. Write yourself a love letter … and mail it!
10. Buy yourself flowers
11. Take a bath; soak for a minimum of 30 minutes, no interruptions!
12. Write a list of your top 10 strengths
13. Sign up for a personal development course. Always wanted to learn how to draw? Want to become a better cook? Local community organizations are a great place for classes like this!
14. Create a vision board; grab some catalogs and cut and paste away! It’ll get your mind off of what’s wrong and on to what you want!
15. Grab some paints and a canvas and paint! For added fun, use your non-dominant hand!
16. Go to a park and listen to the birds sing. Nature is soothing and relaxing!
17. Write “I love you, (name)!” on 5 sticky notes and put them up on your mirror, bedside table and in your car! You’ll appreciate the nice, loving surprise for days to come!
18. Talk to a trusted friend. Like the old adage says, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”
19. Listen to uplifting music; Andre Reiu and Michael Bernard Beckwith are fantastic places to start!
20. Go to a greenhouse and marvel at the flowers and plants. Their beauty is like food for the soul!
21. Run through a sprinkler!
22. Ask for help in handling household tasks
23. Start planning your next trip
24. Say no to events that don’t feel like a “definite yes”. Do yourself and everyone a favor: don’t say yes to things that don’t feel right for you.
25. Get a facial
26. Buy yourself new undergarments
27. Play a game. Yahtzee, anyone?
28. Do affirmations in the mirror. Such a powerful practice to get you in touch with your soul!
29. Sit in a whirlpool
30. Go swimming
31. Dance in your kitchen … or anywhere! [http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/health-benefits-of-dance.aspx#/slide-1] 32. Swing on a swing set! There’s a reason kids love it!
33. Get a massage
34. Do yoga; the benefits are numerous!
35. Commit to five minutes of daily journaling every day. Observe your thoughts without judgment and just write. It is amazing what an effect just five minutes has in shrinking worries and fears down to size!