Ahh, summertime. You count the days till it arrives, but when it does you find yourself feeling more stressed than usual. Why is this? And what can you do about it?
First, know this: If you are feeling stressed now that summer is here, you are not alone. According to this study, summertime might actually be more stressful than wintertime.
Let's explore some reasons why your stress levels may be higher in summer:
Increased social obligations: Feeling pressure to maintain a busy summer social life when all you really want to do is watch something on Netflix, alone, might make you feel guilty for turning down an invitation to a social gathering. Or worse, you might feel like there is something wrong with you because it seems like no one else is saying no.
Social media: You see your friends and loved ones doing all sorts of fun and summery things, and, well, maybe you are not. This can bring on anxious feelings, or make you think that you need to be doing lots of things for fear of missing out (FOMO). It's easy to get caught up in wondering why your life isn't as exciting as everyone else's, (which isn't true) causing you unnecessary stress.
Body judgement: Warmer temps mean you've ditched the layers, fluffy cardigans and overcoats. This can bring on an overwhelming amount of self-consciousness about your figure and appearance. Body insecurity can skyrocket during the summer months creating a negative self-perception if you don't have your "beach body" ready.
So, what are some ways you can melt the stresses of summer?
1. Give yourself permission to say no.
Many feel guilty for saying no when really, saying no to doing something that you just really aren't feeling is a sign of self-love. Prioritizing yourself and setting boundaries can have a very positive effect on your mental health, as it allows you to value yourself more. And guess what? The more you say it, the more natural it will start to feel. Remember, you can say no and still express respect, kindness and gratitude for the invite. It's a win-win!
2. Take a break from social media.
The endless scroll has become a daily ritual for many, but you CAN sign off and still get through your day. If you don't post about it, it doesn't mean that it didn't happen. You never know, you may find yourself more "in the moment" and enjoying your time in a more present way. Plus, those FOMO feelings will dissipate if you aren't feeling like you need to "keep up with the Joneses."
3. Show yourself some compassion.
Develop your self-worth and self-compassion by expressing gratitude for what your body does, rather than how it looks. This can be very helpful in counterbalancing habitual dissatisfaction with your body. Start a summer routine of walking, hiking, swimming or whatever it is that you can do to get your body moving. Replace the negative voice in your head with words of encouragement. Be patient with yourself and become your own best friend. You are so much more than what the eye beholds.
4. Take time to breathe.
When we are stressed, our sympathetic nervous system is activated by the sudden release of hormones including adrenaline and cortisol. Breathing deeply and slowly signals your parasympathetic nervous system to calm your body down. It is one of the simplest ways to calm yourself and you can do it anywhere. Take a long deep breath, hold it for a sec, then release it slowly. Repeat until you feel yourself coming back into a calm and relaxed state. There are other breathing techniques you can practice, like the 4, 7, 8 breathing method, demonstrated here by our Intuitive Energy Healer, and Certified Sound Therapy & Sound Healing Practitioner, Beth Wing, LPN. When you take a minute to place your hand on your chest, take some slow, deep breaths, and really focus your attention on your breathing, you will feel your body easing itself back into calmness as you reset your nervous system.
Summer passes so quickly. Slow down, prioritize your mental health, and hold the space for yourself that you deserve. Make self-care a priority and remember, you do not have to manage your stress alone. Our practitioners are here for you seven days a week, and they will do their best to keep you in optimal health, all year long.
Be kind to yourself, no matter the season. ❤️