Welcome, July. It finally actually feels like summer now and many of us are starting to settle into our new summer patterns and structure. While the thought of summer doesn't typically bring to mind the concept of increased stress, many of us do experience this with the change of season and routines. Any sort of change can cause increased stress, and with the increased heat and daylight and decreased structure, you may be feeling this, without even realizing. Additionally, many people are attending more social gatherings, which can cause us to feel busier. In fact, recent research indicates that stress hormones actually increase in the summer. Our sleeping, eating, and exercise routines may look different during the summer. So, what do we need to do to keep stress low and truly enjoy the summer?
1. Find some time to decompress, even if just for a few minutes a couple times a week. (Remember to set realistic expectations for setting new patterns! See my 1/1/18 blog on setting realistic and attainable goals). Meditation or gratitude journaling are favorites of mine and many of my clients for finding ways to re-center and recharge a little. Headspace is a great resource for beginners looking to incorporate meditation practice into their routine in a realistic and manageable way.
2. Set boundaries. You may find yourself invited to picnics, barbecues and pool parties every day of every weekend. You do not have to go to all of them! It is okay to say no to some invitations. Attending because you feel obligated and jam-packing your schedule is a sure-fire way to feel drained and exhausted. In the same vein, be sure to set limits at work. With colleagues on vacation every week, you may feel pressure to pick up extra workload. And while, some of that is part of working as a team, it is okay to examine your priorities and values and make sure you are setting some limits regarding your summer workload. Check out this article on setting boundaries to keep stress down this summer.
3. Maintain your routine regarding the basics. It's easy to get caught up in staying out later with the extended daylight. Or skipping your usual workout to chill at the pool. Or enjoying extra hamburgers or margaritas at a summer gathering. But try to keep it in moderation and stick with some semblance of your typical routine. If you want support in putting together a realistic fitness and nutrition plan this summer, I highly recommend checking out Dylan Irving.
For more de-stressing tips for summer, check out: De-Stress this summer
I'd love to hear how you're working to maintain to stress-free summer!