The kids are out of school; you’re stuck in the car for hours on end on that family vacation or you’re stuck behind a desk and all you want to do is be at the swimming pool. Sometimes summer equals stress!
Here are a few tips on how to keep stress from simmering this summer.
Try the eight-count breath. Breathe in as you count to eight (silently), hold your breath for a few heartbeats, then slowly let it out as you count to eight again. Repeat. This easy and quick exercise can help improve your memory while helping lower stress.
- Relax your muscles one at a time
This works best when seated. Take a break from whatever you’re doing (listening to your annoying coworker, trying to stop your kids from yet another fight) and check your body for tension. Relax your facial muscles and open your jaw slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides (unless you’re driving). Allow your hands to loosen so there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your ankles or legs and feel your thighs sinking into your chair – allowing your legs to fall comfortably apart. Feel your calves and shins become heavier and your feet plan into the floor. Now breathe in and out slowly.
- Look up at the ceiling and count down from 60
When you look up, it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn lowers blood pressure and slows the pace of your breath. Deliberate, slow counting will assist your mind in getting rid of distractions.
- Pretend you are floating on a cloud and imagine what you would see as you pass by
Guided imagery can give you a quick respite from your everyday worries and stresses. Indulge all your senses in this meditation tool: what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? For me – I visit the ocean. I can hear the water, see the kids playing in the sand and smell the salt of the water in the air.
- Write it down and set it aside
Writing your problems down on paper and knowing that you can work through them tomorrow may help you take your mind off them. Don’t worry – they won’t go away but they will be out of your mind!
I hope these tips will help you keep your cool this summer and stay relaxed – even if you can’t get to the beach or the pool.