Self, Health And Wellness

3 Things To Do If You Actually Want To Relax This Summer

Photo: Unsplash 
How To Relax & Lower Stress This Summer

Summertime is suppossed to be realaxing, but as an adult, this is easier said than done. Your summers may not be filled with the (sometimes fictional) carefree days of your youth, but there are easy ways to leverage the season’s stress fighting powers.

RELATED: The Scary Truth About What Happens To Your Body When You're Stressed

1. Savor

Really taste, feel, smell, or listen to something summery and smile. Be completely in the moment with your senses, even if only for a minute. (Oh, come on… linger! Your heart and brain will thank you!)

Suspend “busy” and “to-do’s” long enough to capture some of the healing power of the season. Feel the sun prickle on your skin (briefly for this one! Let the watermelon juice roll around your tongue. Really listen to the coming storm or the first cicadas. Notice the smell of the blooms outside your door.

The choices are endless—it’s just up to you to decide to be present. Flexing this mindfulness muscle improves your focus, leadership, and resilience, and it’s fun!

2. Send yourself outside 

Extra credit if it’s to play. When we were kids, why did we beg the teacher to take class outside? Besides wanting to get out of work, kids instinctively know we thrive more in nature—we are happier, healthier, and more creative.

Our brainwaves and body rhythms calm in nature; our focus improves. We get the benefit of wider and longer vistas, for our eyes and our stress-prone perspectives. We can facilitate that “aha!” we’ve been banging our heads against the computer trying to force.

Look at your calendar right now. When can you get outside this week? Take one lunch outside the building. Commit to a walk with a colleague, spouse, friend, or kids. (Multipurpose = #stressantidote credits for connecting and moving and nature! = happy brain cells!) Clean up that bike. Find a short trail or just a special tree with a bench. Get an outside outing on your calendar.

RELATED: 7 Ways Mentally Strong People Deal With Stress

3. Schedule more vacations

Hopefully you have something on the calendar for this summer. (If not, put that at the top of your to-do list with 5 stars!) But what about the rest of the year? What do you need to plan and commit to to give your mind and body regular breaks?

Your brain works better when it knows it has chunks of time ahead to disengage, rest, shift perspectives, and play. (Yes, play is part of your wiring—good for brilliance and resilience!) Yet Americans still resist this #stressantidote, with well-practiced excuses.

Can’t get away for too long? Then build in a few short jaunts or stay-cay’s, mini-breaks, or even an few afternoons with someone you love, until you can manage a bigger respite. The point: take the time now put future breaks on your calendar!

How will you leverage the #stressantidote power of your summer?

RELATED: 10 Ways To Get Real With Yourself About Stress (So Life Doesn't Burn You Out)

Cynthia Ackrill leads stress and leadership workshops in many settings from coaching and leadership programs to women's conferences. Want to learn more strategies to tackle your stress and put more you in your future? Contact her or visit her courses and resources on her website.