Do you ever find yourself super-stressed in the middle of a gorgeous, sunny summer day?
Does you head fill with “shoulds” like:
It’s summer! I SHOULD be relaxed and happy with my life!
I SHOULD be in vacation mode like (insert friend’s name who is clearly enjoying summer)!
Today SHOULD have been been so much easier and fun. Whyyy….:(
We all get giddy when summer comes around the corner because we know what’s possible…more time enjoying glorious nature, longer days with summer markets and festivals or hanging out with loved ones, all sorts of local summer produce (YUM!) for adventures in the kitchen!
But…summer can also bring a bunch of stress triggers that keep us anything but “chill” (as my daughter would say!)
With everyone out and about or traveling we’ve got long lines ups and traffic, people get a bit rowdier in public with all the extra unwinding and play going on, kids have to be organized, camped up or entertained, it can get uncomfortably HOT and energy-zapping in some places …and let’s face it – life doesn’t gently pause when summer comes. We still have to handle our day to days like work and bills and laundry!
That’s why summer is no exception when it comes to managing your stress levels and your mind, heart and body. You want to be “chill” no matter what craziness is going down around you or how hot it gets, yes?
In fact, when you build in simple and easy ways to automatically decrease your stress levels each day you will more easily enjoy any time of year, summer or not! Remember, stress is vicious. It causes strain on your relationships, it makes you prone to disease and aging and it brings out self-destructive behavior among other things! By taking small steps daily you can prevent a lot of breakdown and setbacks in your life.
Here are the top 5 stress-busters that you can build into your day to automatically keep you calm and cool this summer and all year ’round!
1. Move Your Body
Even a brisk 20-minute walk around the block will change your brain chemistry, helping to detoxify stress hormones and replace them with feel good hormones. If you are having a hard time making a decision, if you are having it out with someone, if you are under the pressure of a deadline or just have a huge to-do list to conquer, some simple light exercise will clear you mind, boost your confidence and energy and get you out of any neurotic stories in you mind about others! Have you moved today? If not drop and do some yoga on your kitchen floor while waiting for the kettle to boil, call a friend for a quick hike or do it summer-style by taking a swim in the lake or ocean!
2. Cut Down on “Stress Foods”
Certain foods impede our neural functioning and fog our brains. When we aren’t nourishing ourselves with brain-positive food it’s like putting sugar in a gas tank…things get sticky and breakdown will eventually happen. Ironically, when we get stressed we often reach for the very foods that trigger more stress in the brain and the digestive system (coffee and donuts anyone?) Focus on potent foods that are easy to digest and that don’t acidify your body. We all know by now that sugar (and foods that easily convert to sugar like refined grains) are not potent source of nourishment. But our bodies still have to spend energy to digest them for very little nutritional reward. When we eat potent plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables and non-wheat grains we get more bang for buck plus these foods will keep you brain calm and happy! Add things to your fridge or pantry that are easy to make and eat but that are nutrient dense and low in sugar!
3. Still Your Mind
Even 5 minutes of meditation per day can work miracles in stress prevention. The great thing about meditation is that there are so many different forms and styles that there really is something for everyone. Plus with resources like YouTube there is no shortage of tutorials, guided meditations or meditation music at your fingertips. Personally, meditation is like water for me. I am religious about my morning meditation because on the rare occasion that I skip it I notice that my levels of stress, anxiety and worry go up big time and that end up having negative repercussions in my life – I am more reactive with my daughter, I choose “stress foods” impulsively and it takes way more energy to get my work and home tasks done. Don’t take my word for it, verify this for yourself. Earnestly commit to at least a 5-10 minute meditation and watch you stress levels melt away!
4. Prioritize Joy!
Do something you love and that lights you up every single day. It’s very simple and yet many of us forget the power in prioritizing our joy! What do you love? Make a list and put it up on your fridge or bathroom mirror so you can scan it each day for ideas. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or it could be! It’s not about the quantity but the quality of joy. Harvesting fresh produce from your garden or watching the humming birds on your patio can be as sweet to your soul as a 2 hour massage or a trip to Europe…if not sweeter BECAUSE of their simplicity. Remember joy is available to you everywhere in the little things. Stop overlooking these things for peak experiences. The more you cultivate joy daily the more you will attract bigger opportunities for joy.
5. Cut the Screen Time
I know, I know. We have to be on screens for all sorts of life things these days. Everything is online. We sign up kids for camp, we make dinner reservations, we even read our fiction with a screen, but staring at a screen all day long is not natural for our body/mind/heart. It shuts down our engagement with real life as if we had a ball and chain. Or as if we were living in a virtual reality. One a deep unconscious level this is unnerving to the Being and keeps a low level of survival stress humming in the background. This is another one I invite you to verify for yourself. When are you on a screen where perhaps you don’t have to be? Can you call the restaurant, can you invite your friend over for a tea instead of updating each other on social media (probably the biggest culprit of screen stress)? Try taking afternoons off or perhaps a whole day!! And, again, watch what magically happens to your stress levels…
So which stress-busters will you commit to starting today to step into your most “chill” summer yet?
Much love and inner peace,