The good weather and fun, summer activities can sometimes be overshadowed by changing routines. You’re juggling work, and kids’ camp schedules, and vacation times, plus a bunch of backyard barbecues and while it’s all good stuff, the shifting schedule can cause a bit o’summer stress and fatigue.
One way to cope is to manage your mindset and reframe potentially difficult situations with a more positive perspective.
Here are three other tips that can keep your summer stress and bay.
1. Follow the flow. If packing up the picnic and the cooler and the water toys and the Frisbee, and slathering on the sunscreen feels hard and stressful, or if you pick a fight with the family when you can’t find the kids’ flip flops, it may be time to change plans and go with what feels better.
Often, obstacles, frustrations and negative emotions are there to show us what isn’t working. They are a sign that we should regroup, adapt, and move toward something that feels better. Sometimes, turning on the sprinklers in the yard is better than packing up the gear and driving across town to a park. Go with the flow, move toward what feels right, adjust the plan, and whatever you decide to do for fun will actually be fun.
2. Move into the light. Natural light can do wonders for a waning mood. Sunshine or even the glare on a cloudy day shuts down the body’s production of melatonin — the naturally occurring hormone which makes us sleepy — and leaves us feeling more refreshed and energized. This, of course, makes it easier to cope with any potential craziness.
When you get up in the morning, open the blinds, or walk out on the porch for few minutes to soak up the light. This will increase blood flow to the brain and leave you feeling more alert. And, I, for one, need all the help I can get.
3. Savor the goodness. Finally, amid the chaos of changing routines and summer schedules, pausing to notice the good things in life can make everything more enjoyable.
Once you identify the good things, take a moment to absorb the positive emotions – wonder, peace, joy, curiosity, appreciation – that come from that awareness and you’ll feel better, says Fred Bryant, PhD, and social psychologist at Loyola University.
Do this several times a day — pause a minute or so to notice the pink of the geraniums, the sweetness of a sip of lemonade, or a favorite song playing during your commute – and you’ll feel less stressed and more sane this summer.
Image by Erin Cairney White
Erin Cairney White uses mixed media – acrylic paints, gelatos and a variety of papers, inks and stamps to create her work from her Snohomish, Washington studio. Her original artwork is available through the little details company.