“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris
The summer months can lead to a lot of stress. Whether it’s the heat, or your schedule, from June – September for some reason my stress levels ramp up significantly. When, to be honest, it should probably be the opposite. Summer should be the season of carefree. A time to forget about your worries, get outside and bask in the amazing sunshine.
Because of this, there are certain things that I do during summer to help make it a little bit easier on myself. Little routines or rituals that I know will stop me from getting overworked, stressed or wiped out. Things to keep me grounded and feeling great during weeks when I feel like everything could topple over or there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Do you ever feel the same way? And, do you have certain routines that help you feel less stressed when things are getting too much? Comment them below and let’s focus on helping each other out!
Here are the things that help me when I feel like I’m drowning in my to-do list…
Take Five Minutes to Yourself
Never underestimate the power of taking five minutes to gather your thoughts. Whether I need to just sit and think, or do something that I can just switch my brain off during, taking a tiny chunk of the day to have a breather and remind myself that everything is going to be okay is undoubtedly powerful.
If you’re super on it, you could also use this time to do something like meditation or yoga – both are activities that have been shown in studies to drop your stress levels significantly. Also, reading – studies show that stress levels drop up to 65%* during just five minutes of reading. A really helpful fact to remember if you need to find your bearings on a hectic day!
Clean, Sort and Organise Your Surroundings
When the space that I’m spending a lot of time in is cluttered or messy, I always tend to feel like I’m a bit all over the place, too. It’s like a visual reminder of work that you have to do – you have to clean, but you’ll get to it later. For now you’ll just push that to the back of your head and ignore it, although you’re literally sat among the mess…
Instead, I like to just get it over with and clean and organise my surroundings right then and there. Whether it’s your work space, or your home space, reorganising the layout, cleaning and wiping down the surfaces and generally taking pride in the atmosphere of your surroundings make a huge difference to your stress levels.
Every 6 months or so, I like to go through my belongings in each space and do the classic Marie Kondo cleaning method of letting go of items that don’t bring me some kind of joy or emotional worth, too. This keeps me on top of having a space that isn’t cluttered, and helps me make sure that I’m only filling my spaces with items that actually make me happy.
Having a space that’s not just clean, but calming as well is super important. I used to always light candles, but after blowing them out the room would turn into some birthday-cake-smelling-central instead of the calming candle scents that I had invested in!
So, instead, I tried out reed diffusers: and I fell in LOVE. The great thing about reed diffusers is that although they cost averagely the same price as a medium candle (around £16) they last for months and months and MONTHS! I’m talking 6-8 months here, and every time you flip the sticks in them they re-activate and smell like they’re brand new!
Right now I’m loving the Yankee Candle’s Black Coconut scent – I used to have Baylis & Harding’s Black Pepper & Ginseng diffusers but towards the end of it’s life it started to make my room smell musty – whereas Yankee Candle’s Black Coconut smells fresh and sweet all day, every day!
Each time I walk into the room I’m hit with a burst of fresh, coconutty air & I can’t even say how much calmer I feel immediately.
If you’re interested in picking one up, or having a look at the available range, I’ll link a few here that smell absolutely to die for – I honestly can’t recommend them enough!
My favourite is this Black Coconut scent – it’s so fresh and lasts ages for £18! But I also love the look of their Fluffy Towels scent (£10!), Clean Cotton (£13), Black Cherry (£9!) and Garden Sweet Pea (£12!) – I tried their scent Pink Sands, too, but it was too sickly for me. Something about it smelt medical and I didn’t find that relaxing at all!
Journalling, or Writing How I Feel
Before I started a blog, I was unsure of how cathartic writing about your feelings could be. Since, though, I’ve noticed how much it really changes your mood entirely! Whether you’re writing in a physical journal, a digital one, or making good use of the ‘Notes’ app – letting yourself vent through writing will help clear your mind and centre your feelings, I promise you.
When I’m sat at my computer, sometimes I’ll just type without any real intention onto a document and see what comes out. It’s almost therapeutic, letting all of these thoughts and emotions just rush out of you and onto a word file.
It’s also really great if you’re anxious about a conversation you need to have, or you don’t know how to voice your opinion on something – just write about it privately, then see what comes out and work from there. It’s helped me make some really important decisions without the stress building up and feeling overwhelmed.
Get Outside, Get Active
There’s nothing like being out in the fresh air and working out to clear your mind. With the warmer weather, I’ve really been enjoying trail running with my boyfriend, Scott. We live in a seaside town that is surrounded by woodland, so there’s lots of room to run and you can just get lost among the trails for an entire afternoon.
Exercise releases natural endorphins, too, putting you on an emotional high and making you feel like you’re on top of the world!
I understand that you might be saying ‘okay, but the reason I’m stressed is because I don’t have TIME to workout, Michael!’ – and I’d say, give a read of this blog post I did last month, How to Ace Your Exercise Goals with a Busy Schedule, because it has some great tips and tricks for getting on top of your exercise game when you feel like you don’t have any time to (trust me, I’ve been there! A 2 hour work commute daily and long hours on set will make you feel like you have no time to yourself!)
Trying Stress Reducing Activities
Certain activities are proven great for relieving stress, whether that’s meditation, yoga or reading – like I mentioned before – or a craft like sewing, designing or even cooking. Scott and I have become big fans of cooking together recently, we love to go for a shop – buy a bunch of ingredients (and even source a few ourselves thanks to a handy vegetable garden!) and see what we can make with them!
It’s a great way to get out of your head and schedule, while also doing something productive, skilful and necessary (because everybody has to eat!) – there’s no end to the amazing meals you can prepare, desserts you can master and even drinks you could learn to make! It’s fantastic!
Investing in Your Self-care Rituals
We all need to look after ourselves a little better, I think that goes without saying. After a long day the last thing you can think of sometimes is a little pamper session for yourself – especially when you feel like you’re snowed under with other projects and just want to either veg out in front of the TV or eat dinner and go to bed.
Instead, though, if you take ten to twenty minutes when you first get home to get out of your work or outside clothes – into something comfier, and either run a bath, apply some skincare, light a few candles or do an activity that you truly enjoy, it will set your evening off to a great start rather than a run-down, end-of-a-long-day one.
Dealing with stress during months that are so exciting and vibrant can be super annoying, and can sometimes put you in funks that last for days or even weeks – but, with a little bit of self-care, hopefully, your stress doesn’t need to be something that consumes you for longer than it takes just to think about it.
Let me know below of any rituals or routines you have for dealing with stress, whether that’s during summer or any other month you find particularly stressful (I’m sure we all agree that the lead up to Christmas is a pretty big one! Ha!) – let’s help each other with our suggestions!
I hope you have a wonderful day,