Is the start summer holiday season feeling like a hot mess with stress?
Holiday long weekends, barbecues, and family reunions bring a mixture of joy, food, & sometimes added drama, trauma and stress.
With children out of school, work and home can become a bigger juggling act. Do the lines at the theme parks, movie theaters, and restaurants seem a little longer, hotter, and unmanageable?
I had to be reminded to rest and take a break this week while traveling with a corporate client in South Carolina.
Stand in the sunshine instead of drowning in stress
Are you feeling so stressed right now, that you are not even sure you have time to read this article?
Take a moment, pause, and give this gift to yourself. You can have a summer season full of standing in the sunshine instead of drowning in stress.
Are you one of these people? In an effort to create the most joyful holidays for children or keep peace with extended family members- you are a sponge for negative energy? The summer break to-do lists are just added activities on top of your job and caring for your family.
You find yourself asking where is the joy? Maybe you can try to find it at the bottom of the pitcher of margaritas, the golf course, or a bag of gluten-free tortilla chips.
Summer strategy to reduce stress
Let's talk strategy. You wouldn't walk into a meeting with your board members or softball game without a strategy. The summer season is no different.
Mindset matters, and if you choose to shift out of stress, let's discuss the steps move forward.
1. Frazzled or Dazzled?
Check your emotional pulse before every invitation. Does the thought of attending another graduation or birthday party dazzle you with delight? How about taking the kids to a crowded theme park? Do a gut check. If a task feels joyful, relaxing, or like a warm bonding experience- put it on the dazzle list. If an invitation or task feels like yet another item on a growing to-do list, then it belongs on the frazzle list. We are asked to do a wide variety of activities over the summer holiday that we can easily forget to take a pause. Check in with yourself (and your schedules) and then make an emotionally informed decision.
2. Sleep is sacred; Schedule it
Let us repeat this out loud and together. Sleep is sacred. Parties, entertaining your bored children, work deadlines are not an excuse to take sleep off the schedule. Losing sleep will make the hang-over worse, promote weight gain, and increase the brain's frazzle meter. Focusing on this one issue for my clients has often been the one key to restoring joy during the holidays. Here at #TeamLadyBoss we practice Self-Love Sundays. Sundays are a day of rest, preferrably in PJs or yoga pants. If we are working for a client event on Sundays, the day of rest is scheduled elsehwere on the calendar week. Build your schedule around rest and sleep so that your tolerance and resilience for stressful events builds.
3. Let it go: the power of #digitaldetox
Whether it is one hour, one day, or one week, can you try digital detox? Digital detox is putting down the smartphones, tablets, laptops, video games, and turning off the television. If you worked through my healing insomnia program, you already know I recommend digital detox one hour before bedtime to welcome sleep. Could you try one day a week this summer? Work with your family and/or friends to create outdoor activities that you all enjoy. Disconnect from digital devices in order to reconnect with the people that are important in our lives. Here is a realistic plan to survive digital detox, and actually enjoy it!
4. The Triple D list
The Triple-D list is an exercise that brings instant relief from high-stress levels. Take thirty minutes to write down 10-15 tasks that have to be done by the end of the week. Put them now in one of 3 categories: "do-it" "Delegate it" or "ditch it". If you are feeling guilty around a task, chances are it belongs on your delegate or ditch list, and you have attached unnecessary emotions to the task. Everything on your "do-it" list should be a necessity for life or bring you joy. I get it, folding laundry or doing the dishes is necessary. Is it a task you can delegate? The thought of laundry and dishes piling up takes away my joy. I use that time to catch up listening to my favorite podcasts.
5. Just breathe.
Breathe. I even noticed that as I typed this blog article, my jaw is clenched, and I have not mindfully inhaled or exhaled in the last few minutes. Take a breath break. It is as simple as closing your eyes anywhere (except while driving), inhale to the count of 3, hold the breath for one, and exhale to the count of four. Focus on the counting and repeat this cycle for 3 minutes. The frazzle meter in your emotional center of the brain will be turned off.
6. Mindful Moments: Be One With Nature
As I stood out on the Carolina beach at sunrise, I noticed how many people were viewing the sunrise through the lens of their camera phones. Continue digital detox outdoors at least once daily. Allow your mind to process the sights, sounds, scents and feelings in natural surroundings. Spending at least 30 minutes in nature reduces stress hormones in the brain such as cortisol. Exercising outdoors elevates feel good hormones such as dopamine. In 30 minutes we can achieve more joy than what is contained in a pitcher of calorie-laden fruity cocktails.
I'm standing in the sunshine, extending my hand out to you. Will you join me?
Your Homie Dr. Romie
P.S. What are you looking forward to doing this summer in order to reduce stress? Any exciting vacation plans? Share in the comments below!