Summer is approaching and lockdown is easing; this has created a mix of emotions for a lot of people.
I’m excited to enjoy the warmer days and spend time doing things with my friends. But coming out of what has been an incredibly anxious and stressful year (or more), it’s totally understandable to not feel quite ready to go back to life as it was before just yet.
So, whether you’re feeling stressed with work/school, overwhelmed with the current situation (however it is at the time you’re reading this) or are just needing a way to relax, here are some of my favourite, low-effort ways to destress in the summer months.
Read a book outside
Summer is my favourite season for reading. There’s just something about sitting out in the sun (with lotion on of course) with a good book (be it a thriller, romance or non-fiction) that helps me read more deeply.
Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel I need to ‘get through’ a book– I can simply put it down if I’m not enjoying it.
And it really is so nice to take the opportunity in the warmer months to slow down a little and remove any pressure you have for myself about how much you should read.
Go for a walk
Walking is a calming activity any time of year, but it’s especially nice when the weather is warm.
Recently, I’ve been catching myself checking social media or constantly replying to comments whilst I walk, but I find it a so much more relaxing experience when its just me and my thoughts, music or a podcast.
Some of my favourite pocasts right now are I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, How to Fail with Elizabeth Day and The Guilty Feminist with Deborah Frances-White.
Go for a picnic
What’s more fun than food and friends? And good weather of course.
If you’re feeling quite panicked about going back out into the world (like a lot of us are right now), this is a low-effort, free activity that allows to get outdoors, without any pressure.
Practice yoga outdoors
Working out releases a whole host of happy endorphins to set you up for the day. But if you don’t fancy anything high intensity, yoga is a really fun and calming way to stretch out and get your blood pumping.
When the days get longer, I enjoy practicing yoga at either sunrise (if I can drag myself up in time) or sunset. There’s something really special about moving intentionally at either ends of the day.
Take time to breathe
It’s a cliché but we really do forget the importance of taking deep breaths when life gets stressful.
This isn’t me saying that a few deep breaths can sort out all your problems, but it really does help to momentarily destress and over time, help you to manage anxiety more effectively.
If you’re not sure how to go about this, or maybe get bored easily, there are a lot of guided meditation Youtube videos, or you could download a free app like Headspace or Calm.
Take a day off social media
Social media can be a really inviting space, but it can also be toxic at times, especially if you find yourself following the wrong kinds of accounts.
There’s no shame in finding social media overwhelming and its so important to set boundaries for your own mental health.
And if you do get the chance to go on holiday this year, or even just have some days off work, that’s the perfect opportunity to set the phone down and be more present in whatever new experience you’re having. Remember, you have every other day of the year to scroll Instagram.
Make a smoothie
Making a berry smoothie has become a part of my daily ritual, and it’s even more enjoyable in the summer. It’s also a great way to make use of all the fresh fruit and veg in season in the summertime.
Making yourself a meal or drink (even better if it’s something easy like a smoothie) is also a really good way to slow down and force yourself to be present.
Alternatively, you could dig out a recipe and bake something for your family, friends or just for yourself. BBC Good Foods has some fun Summer recipes to try out here.
Or just any outdoor activity that brings you joy– gardening, hiking, swimming (if you’re lucky enough to have a pool near you), biking are all ways to unwind and take a break from whatever work or stress you’re worried about.
Spending time in nature is great for mental health and being able to nurture something, even if it isn’t particularly high maintenance, is an important practice.
Do you take more time to practise self-care in the Summer months? Will you be trying out any of these ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can connect with me directly in my Instagram dms.