As the temperatures rise and the schedules fill up, it can be easy to get caught up in the business of summer and let our physical and mental health take a spot on the back burner.

Now, you may think that summer time means you’re more active, spending more time outside, and eating more fresh fruit and veggies, so how could that be a bad thing? Unfortunately, those things are often paired with more unhealthy food (hotdogs, hamburgers, etc), alcohol, dehydration, and more. Additionally, we often have less time to rest and recover, as the pressure of wanting to make the most of the season leaves us depleted mentally and physically.

As a nutritionist, I can sometimes be guilty of piling on the information and tasks for people; eat more fruits and veggies, exercise more, do this, don’t do that!

So how can we enjoy every moment of our summer, but still take care of ourselves? We’re going to work on that this week! Read through the tips below and see what you can add or remove from your routine; they may not all work for you, but chance are one or two will!

  • Deep breathing: one of this week’s mini challenges, deep breathing is one of the simplest ways to control how your body responds to stress, which carries over into your mental and physical health. Set a timer for anywhere from 1-3 min, close your eyes, and focus on taking deep inhales through your nose for the entire time. You’ll quickly learn how great you feel after, and will look forward to it each day! Bonus: do your breathing exercise outside to improve the quality of the air and feel even more energized. Image result for coffee outside
  • Morning beverage ritual: whether you enjoy coffee, tea, a smoothie, or just water each morning, find a way to make it more enjoyable. You may choose to sip it outside, or while listening to some music, or just in silence without your phone nearby. Soak in those first few moments of the day in an extra special way.
  • Listen to your body: don’t force workouts just because you have them scheduled. Before you do a workout, ask yourself what your body is really craving; a walk, stretch session, yoga, or just a day off may be more beneficial than the long run or weight session you had planned. Adding physical stress to mental stress is a recipe for disaster, so don’t push through just because you think you should.
  • Say no: when the commitments start to pile up, it can feel like you’re starting to drown. Prioritize what you really need to do, and practice saying “no” to the events or requests that won’t contribute to your happiness. “I’ve just got too much on the go right now, but thank you for considering me,” is a perfectly fine explanation. Use the extra time to rest and recharge!
  • Carve out a little time off: if you have some vacation time available that you haven’t booked off yet, take a look at your schedule and see where you can take a bit of time away from work this summer! If things are busy, talk to your manager to determine the best solution, even a long weekend or two will be something to look forward to and enjoy. If not working means not making money for you, consider budgeting for it in advance to reduce the financial burden.

How will all of these things affect your health? Reduced stress levels is the main goal, as well as improved focus and more time available for the things that really matter in your life. Try implementing tips from this list this all year long, as your schedule likely ebbs and flows throughout different seasons. We hope you have a happy, healthy, low-stress, and enjoyable summer!