Let’s face it – summer can get pretty crazy, and craziness tends to create stress. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness, at the expense of your health and overall wellbeing. Today I’m going to suggest 10 ways you can minimize stress, so that you can more fully enjoy your summer.
- Have quiet time every day. Set aside some time each day to relax. Put on some peaceful music, do some relaxing stretches, or just lay back and let your mind be still for awhile. Even just 20-30 minutes a day can make a huge difference. I know how hard it can be to sit still for even 10 minutes when there’s so much to do, but trust me – if you make daily quiet time a habit, your future self will thank you for it.
- Start a new hobby. What is something you’ve always wanted to try? Maybe you’d love to draw or paint, but just haven’t set aside the time to learn. Maybe you would really like to go rock climbing, but haven’t had the courage to try it. Or maybe there is something you used to really enjoy doing, but you haven’t done it for awhile. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to get out there and do it. Learn to play an instrument. Buy a good camera and try photography. Find some new recipes and have fun in the kitchen. Remember it’s always OK to experiment. If you try something and after awhile decide it really isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to move on to something else. Have fun exploring ideas and see what you can discover about yourself in the process.
- Get a massage. Massage therapy has numerous health benefits, not the least of which is stress relief. Search online or ask around to see if there are any massage therapists in your area. You could try a full body massage, or something along the lines of reflexology, where the masseuse massages various points on your feet to improve your overall health.
- Go for a hike. Find a scenic spot (even if you have to drive for a few hours to get there), and hike around for awhile. Being out in nature can be very relaxing. Invite a good friend or two to come along. Or, if you prefer, just take some time to be alone, which can be equally refreshing.
- Say “no”. If you have too much on your plate, don’t be afraid to say “no” once in awhile. Give yourself a day or two where you have nothing going on. Constant busyness can really wear a person out. Don’t wait until you are overwhelmed to take a break.
- Spend time with loved ones. Broken and dying relationships are all too common these days. Be proactive and spend regular time with those closest to you. Take a relative out to eat. Go bowling with a friend. Or maybe there is someone you haven’t seen for a long time. Call them up and see if you can get together to rekindle your friendship. Even something as simple as a phone call to an old friend could be a great way to brighten your day.
- Color. As you may already know, coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. A lot of adults are getting back into their favorite childhood pastime as a way to relieve stress and as a creative outlet. Go out and find an adult coloring book you like, get some colored pencils and/or markers, and set aside some time to try it out. Art can be a great distraction from the stresses of daily life.
- Read a book. I’m not talking about an article or two online. I mean a full length chapter book. Allow your imagination to run wild. Google authors and genres and see if you find one you like. Ask your friends for a recommendation. Or you could try creating a free account with GoodReads. They are a great resource for finding new books.
- Journal. Journaling is a proven way to relieve stress and mental tension. Not sure what to write about? Google search “journal prompts.” You’re bound to find something fun to write about.
- Exercise. Even 20 minutes a day of extra movement can do wonders for your health and mental wellbeing. And don’t worry – I’m not talking about spending hours in the gym. Just get out and move. Go for a walk. Jump rope. Join a fitness group. Try Pilates. Martial arts. Dance. Find something you love, and do it regularly.