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10 Tips to Reduce Summer Stress

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10 Tips to Reduce Summer Stress

This guest blog post was written by Gail Ballin, a fun-loving mom of two adult children, a masters level therapist and a 2018 American Heart Association Forsyth County Go Red Woman.

The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer. That means that summer is finally here. School’s out, the pool is open and for many, suitcases are packed for summer vacation. This is a wonderful time of year to let loose and spend fun, relaxing times with those we love and enjoy most in the world.

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The lazy days of summer are called that for good reason, but it’s also a great time to de-stress, focus on health and show your heart some well-deserved love.

Here are 10 tips to help you and your family have healthy hearts this summer:

  1. Start grilling. Summer is the perfect time to try some new recipes on the grill. There are many great heart-healthy options to choose from, including fish, shrimp, chicken and vegetables. They’re low in cholesterol — and great for your heart and your waist. Grilling doesn’t just have to mean burgers and dogs. Try some new varieties and you may even discover some new family favorites.

  2. Go for a walk. Take a walk to help get your heart pumping. But avoid noon to 3 p.m., which is the hottest sun of the day. Try early-morning and after-dinner walks with your family or your four-legged best friend is a great way to fit in 30 minutes of exercise a day.

  3. Throw a dance party. If it’s too hot or too rainy, turn up your favorite playlist, grab your family and have an indoor dance party. You can even play games like “freeze dance” to make it a little more exciting. You’ll get your exercise in, which is great for the heart and your soul.

  4. Do good deeds. Take care of your heart — physically and emotionally. Volunteer at your local AHA office or your favorite charity, donate to a food bank or read to children at the local library. And it’s always a good idea to purge your home of clothes and goods that you haven’t used in over a year.

  5. Swim. Jump in the pool and swim a few laps at your community pool. Not only will it feel great when it’s hot outside, you’ll burn some extra calories. Refresh your CPR skills to stay safe in and around the water.

  6. Stay fresh. Summer is a great time to indulge in seasonal fruits and vegetables. Try to stay away from processed foods and focus on eating fresh to feel fantastic.

  7. Hydrate. As the weather heats up, remember to stay hydrated. The amount of water you need daily can vary based on your age, where you live, how active you are and other factors. But we should all try to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

  8. Take a hike. Plan a day trip to breathe in the fresh air, absorb nature and explore areas around you on foot. Take a hike in the mountains or find a wooded area. Outdoor exercise has a calming effect on the body and is a great way to absorb some Vitamin D.

  9. Try a new sport. Longer days mean greater opportunities to play outdoor sports. If you’re not athletic by nature, try something you’ve always wanted to do, like tennis, volleyball or a game of frisbee with the kids. If you have physical limitations, modifications are usually possible.

  10. Make a go of gardening. Grab some fresh herbs from your local nursery and plant them in pots on your back porch or on your kitchen windowsill. The feeling of earth beneath your fingertips helps you relax and de-stress. Fresh herbs make salads and other heart-healthy dishes divine.

Summer is a great opportunity to love your heart. Focus on what fills your heart with happiness and feel the stress slip away.

How will you slow down to relieve stress this summer?

Gail BallinGail Ballin is a fun-loving mom of two adult children, a masters level therapist and a 2018 American Heart Association Forsyth County Go Red Woman.

Read her full bio.