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

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