The summer has been non-stop in our house. It’s probably like that for many of you. Whether you work full time or are a stay-at-home parent, the summer can bring on some unnecessary stress. Kids are out of school and you are trying to keep them busy.

For me, this summer has been non-stop with work, family obligations, volunteer activities, travel, a teacher training course and a new puppy.

Although, all by my choice, it sure has taken a toll. A toll I wasn’t really expecting.

As many of you already know, my happy place is on the yoga mat. I have found it difficult to carve out the time on the mat to just find my breath as regularly as I was. For me, I know that is what I need to focus on, but if you are feeling the summer stress, I found a few tips that might help with a little de-stressing.

The first tip I saw was don’t treat yourself like a machine. This is my downfall. I must be busy. It is how I operate. That said, it catches up to me and I am sure it catches up with you, too. Life is busy and when 24 hours doesn’t’ seem like enough time in the day, it becomes a sign to me that I need to take a step back. And yes, it is easier said than done.

Give yourself a break. You need time to rest. I need time to rest. It is probably one of the things I struggle with the most.

There are many ways people find to rest.

Sometimes it might be getting some good ol’ shut eye. Other times it might mean doing something for yourself.

Giving yourself a little self-love and self-care.

Move.

Take a walk. Go on a hike. Head out to the water. Get some of that Vitamin D from the beautiful Texas sunshine. But catch the time to be one with nature in the morning or the early evening. The mid-day heat can take a toll on you.

Journal.

I know this might not be for everyone, but if the summer stress is getting to you, think of ways to solve the stress if possible. For some, it might also be drawing; just putting that pencil to paper.

Make lists and tackle them — one step at a time. I often think seeing what you have on your plate, and how you can tackle each thing, allows for a feeling of control and accomplishment, thus relieving some of that summer stress.

Be social.

Sometimes it is nice to just be around other people, reconnecting with friends or family you haven’t seen in a while or catching up with some friends, sharing some laughs and maybe a cold beverage.

My last suggestion for that critical self-care is replenishing your mind, body and spirit. It can come from a variety of places.

With your mind — it may be the journaling I talked about or maybe diving into a new book.

As for feeding your body with nutrients it needs, nourish your body with protein and vegetables.

As for your spirit, find your focus and spend some time with it. It could be just relaxing with your family and friends.

I recently read a book that said, “the art of extreme self-care takes patience, commitment, and practice.”

This can be uncomfortable for many because you are putting yourself first, but the more you practice it, the more you are able to find ways to beat the stress — or at the very least, manage it.

Now I am off to take some of my own advice and get a little rest and give myself a little self-care.

Reena O’Brien is an Army spouse and Herald correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.

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