Stress-Free State of Mind
This summer let’s go stress-free! The kinda stress-free we used to be back when summer was “summer” and it involved being outside and having fun in the sun! Check out these tips to take back your summer and make it stress-free once again!
Summer used to be stress-free…
Once upon a time, summer was the most stress-free season of your life. Without school, you could swim, frolic, sleep in, stay up late…
Unfortunately, adulthood means you don’t get time to be relaxed and free, even when the weather is beckoning you to do so. However, there are things you can do to ensure your summer is a lot less stressful than it usually is, and we propose that this summer marks the return to simplicity — at least, as much as an adult can manage. Here are seven ways to do it:
Spend Time Outside
There are so many benefits to spending time outside, and stress relief is just one of them. Scientists don’t know quite why, but simply enjoying the outdoors — taking a nature walk, bird watching, picking wildflowers — has calming effects, like lowering your heart rate.
Scientists do theorize that the smell of fresh flowers and other natural, botanical scents has a soothing effect, though. Fresh pine also decreases anxiety and feelings of depression.
Yoga and relaxation have long been linked. As part of a typical practice, you will hold poses designed to boost your strength and flexibility and, hey, that feels pretty good. A
dd on top of that deep breathing and meditative techniques that, together, clear your mind, and you can see why yoga fizzles stress.
If you really want to make your yoga practice summery, see if a local studio offers outdoor classes or check out your local Bikram yoga studio and sweat it out. Bikram yoga is an intense practice, and a recent study suggested that intense workouts are linked to a decrease in developing anxiety disorders by 25%.
On top of that, yoga improves your general sense of well-being and fitness levels and can help you minimize the symptoms of chronic illness. Win.
Listen to Tunes
Whether you’re lazing by the pool or grilling burgers for a cookout, it would seem like an incomplete summer scene without music. You probably aren’t listening to soothing music at times like these, but you should probably add some into your rotation.
Research has shown that listening to calming songs can have a relaxing effect on your body — lowering blood pressure, decreasing anxiety and reducing heart rate.
Here’s another nature-based activity to do to can take advantage of summer temps: gardening. If you haven’t tried it before, there’s something extremely soothing about shopping for flowers, arranging them, planting them and continuing to care for them.
In fact, studies have found gardening to fight depression and anxiety, boost energy levels, decrease tension and stress and put you in a better mood. Anyone can garden, too, so start an indoor garden or a traditional outdoor one.
Plan a Trip
Summer is the perfect time for a getaway. Even if your job won’t let you off for a full week’s worth of vacation, try and sneak away for at least one long weekend. The benefits of taking time off extend far beyond stress-relief, although vacations have been shown to reduce stress significantly. You’ll also find that your vacation makes you more productive, healthier and more likely to stay at your job for a longer period of time.
Find a New Hobby
Your stress might come from a packed schedule (more on that later). Often times, however, the majority of activities on that schedule aren’t activities that float your boat. Instead, you’re carpooling, working late hours or taking the dog to the vet.
Whatever the task may be, it’s not something you do for you.
This summer, find a hobby that makes you happy. To decrease your stress levels, try and find one that incorporates a repetitive motion, such as rowing or knitting. As you focus on the repetitive task at hand, you’ll block out any thoughts that would otherwise stress you out. You might also try exercise, as it’s a proven stress-reliever, too.
Finding time to engage in your new hobby even for a few minutes a day will have a huge impact on your stress levels.
Slim Down Your Schedule
You won’t make any of the above changes without looking at your schedule through a critical lens. What are you doing that causes you stress?
What can you eliminate from your weekly schedule to make room for relaxation, your hobby or something that can make you unwind from the day — bubble bath, anyone?
The most important thing you’ll have to do is to improve your willpower to make changes to the schedule you’ve been following. Then, you can add in activities that relax you quickly, or dedicate more time to hobbies that have already started to help.
Clearly, it takes a bit of effort to ensure you feel less stress this summer, but the benefits far outweigh the time it takes. In fact, we foresee a lot of changed people vowing at the end of summer, to maintain their newfound sense of calm into fall, winter, spring and beyond.
All that’s left to do is get out there and make it happen. Welcome back to the summertime state of mind.
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