Information and opinions presented here do not always represent the views of the American Heart Association.

Summer is a Stress-Free Zone

Published: 11:25 am CDT, July 23, 2013


Lazy days of summer? Not so fast. The three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day can be one of the busiest – and most stressful – times of the year. With the kids home from school, vacations on the horizon, and an increased social calendar, summer can take its toll on the most calm person. Take a look at some of the tips below to help you make it through the crazy days of summer.

  1. Create a detailed weekly to-do list. Write out every task you need to complete during the week, including appointments, meetings, games, practices, and other commitments. Not only is it satisfying to see a page full of crossed-off items, a list will help you to structure your week more effectively and can help you maximize your time in the car and at home.
  2. Exercise. There is no better way to beat stress and curb unhealthy habits than to get some exercise. You don’t need to run a marathon or spend two hours on a bicycle. Take the dog for a walk; play catch with your spouse or significant other; go swimming with your children. Activity will help you to clear your mind and sort through any worries you may have. As well, people who exercise have been shown to have better sleep habits, allowing you to get the most out of your precious time in bed.
  3. Plan healthy meals at the beginning of the week. Although an occasional trip for take-out is inevitable, it’s a good idea to plan and cook meals for the week ahead. Chop vegetables, cook some whole wheat pasta and sauce and put it in the freezer, or throw a tried-and-true recipe into the slow cooker so your end of the day meal isn’t eaten standing up after you ate half a bag of cookies. Don’t forget to create some healthy and flavorful “on the go” options, like wrap sandwiches or veggie pizza that can be eaten quickly.
  4. Ask for help. There is no shame in asking a family member or friend to run to the grocery store for you or pick up a child from practice. Emergencies and unexpected events can happen and our schedules don’t always permit flexibility.
  5. Make time for relaxation. When you’re trying to beat traffic and keep everyone else’s schedules in order, it’s easy to forget that you love to crochet or golf or read or watch movies. Try to engage in a favorite quiet hobby and hour or two before bed, so you can start winding down naturally.

Summertime stress is a part of life, but you can make it more manageable by staying organized, planning your time wisely, and taking time to take care of yourself.

- Kristine Ritter Wilhelm

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

The American Heart Association’s blog is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment. Only your healthcare provider can provide that. The American Heart Association recommends that you consult your healthcare provider regarding your personal health matters. If you think you are having a heart attack, stroke or another emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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