The refreshing taste of ice cream, the clickity-clack of flip flops, and the smell of freshly cut grass are sure signs of summer. Naturally, you want to enjoy everything the short-lived season has offer. But let’s be honest: With the days lasting longer and the kids out of school, the demand for your time is greater. Here are four tips to make the most of summer without its pressures getting the best of you.
Keep Control (and Your Cool) by Being Prepared
Getting the kids to shift into summer mode seems like an easy task, right? Though Billy and Chrissy are free from school obligations, try to maintain a sense of structure with daily agendas. Change is an opportunity for growth but can be overwhelming for young ones. And children sometimes fear the unknown. Having a routine can establish expectations, prevent chaos, and help keep your child from becoming upset.
Friends, activities, and part-time jobs will have the teenagers busy until fall, but you’ve got things to do, too. Consider creating a summer events calendar to prevent schedules from getting out of hand and your sanity from slipping away. Post the calendar where everyone in the family can see it, and share updates to avoid any stressful surprises. You’ll know who will be where and when, which also will be helpful when considering a family vacation or group outing.
Make a To-Do List
Have each family member jot down a few (realistic) things he or she would like to do before the end of summer. Maybe you want to take a road trip, spend a day at the lake, or attend an outdoor concert. Keep your lists visible as an obvious reminder. In between the commitments to softball games and family reunions, start making those to-dos happen. Balance activities so the need-to-dos don’t outweigh the want-to-dos. And be sure to rotate your selections to keep them agreeable with your family, your time, and your budget.
Warm weather is finally here, so get outside and let the calming effects of nature improve your mood and your overall health. Studies have shown that spending regular time outdoors can:
- Lower rates of stress-related disorders such as depression and anxiety
- Improve ability to focus
- Help battle mental fatigue by exposing the mind to therapeutic surroundings
- Reduce inflammation and hypertension
- Improve your short-term memory
Being outdoors is also known to improve sleep patterns by resetting your internal clock to be in rhythm with that of nature.
Relax and Enjoy
Unplug and unwind. Put away the gadgets in favor of real human connections. Have a picnic or coordinate a neighborhood barbecue. Play outdoor games as a family. Go on a camping adventure with friends. Research shows that face-to-face time with others builds stronger bonds, a greater understanding of nonverbal cues, and increased awareness of the moment. Don’t be held captive by technology but rather be present to the people and things around you. Create deep, unforgettable memories and make the most of summer.
We hope these tips will help ease any potential tensions of the season so that you can fully enjoy summer while it lasts. If you’re curious about ways to reduce stress any time of year, contact our highly qualified health professionals at Healthwise Behavioral Health & Wellness.