Rev Up for a Fantastic Summer

As summer approaches, your thoughts focus on what you’ll be doing as the weather warms. You think with pleasure of the upcoming possibilities: barbeques, picnics in the park, outings to the beach, frolicking with your family and pets in the back yard, an exciting vacation, and more.

But how are you going to muster up the energy to add all these fun activities into your already busy schedule? After languishing in the cozy house all winter, just thinking of this flurry of activity tires you out!

Try these tips to pump up your energy for summer fun:

  1. Make a commitment to yourself. Look in the mirror and make a vow that you’ll take part in more activities this summer. You’ll worry less about keeping the house and yard in meticulous form and doing the laundry and washing the car on the same days every week. Commit to enjoying a summer full of interesting recreation.
  2. Consider your options. Your kids want to take that 4 hour trip to the new theme park at least once. Your partner wants both of you to join the local boat club and go boating twice monthly. You’ve got one friend who wants you to take golf lessons with him and another who hopes you’ll attend a monthly art discussion group throughout summer.
    • Ponder the type of recreation you’d like to be involved in. Take time to consider which proposed activities you’d enjoy the most. Which activities really call to you?
  3. Get your energy flowing by exercising now if you didn’t start early in spring. To increase your energy levels, try a brisk walk outdoors every day. With your doctor’s blessing, increase your walk by 5 or 10 minutes each week until you reach 45-60 minutes. As you walk and increase your speed you’ll notice you’ve got more energy and stamina to face the day.
    • You’ll be full of vigor by the time summer rolls around.
  4. Use positive self-talk to mentally prepare for activities. Making statements to yourself like, “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my kids this summer” and “I will make an effort to stay in good physical shape so I’ll have more energy” will ensure you maintain a positive mindset and continue putting in effort to have the best summer ever.
  5. Converse with your partner. Hear their ideas on what they want to do this summer. Share your wish to be more actively involved with your loved ones and friends. Make some plans together to enrich your relationship while you enjoy the weather and have fun.
  6. Have gratitude. Recognize you have your family, friends, and health How lucky are you to have the choice to spend more time engaging in activities you love with your family? Very lucky. Look forward to the summer with gratitude in your heart.
  7. Reflect on your efforts. Because you’re changing how you’ll approach life this summer, give yourself some props. Stoking your energy to have an active season while continuing as a busy parent and worker is quite a feat. Yet, you believe enjoying some time with the people you love when the weather is beautiful is worth your effort.

Summer is about to arrive. Isn’t it time to re-invigorate and enjoy a fantastic summer? Vow to embrace your fun-loving side. Think about how you’d like to experience some new and different recreation this season. Exercise often to increase stamina. Practice the cognitive strategy of positive self-talk to pump up energy and prepare for lots of summer activities.

Talk to your partner about both of your wishes as the weather heats up. Recognize what you have and be thankful for it. Start now to get revved up for the summer; you’ll enjoy your best season yet this year!

Living With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Plenty of people experience a hint of the winter blues as harsh weather keeps us shut up indoors, but seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a more serious form of depression. Fortunately, there are effective forms of treatment. These are the basic facts about SAD and how to feel better year round.

Understanding the Facts About SAD

  1. Distinguish between SAD and other forms of depression. SAD often resembles other types of depression. The key difference is that your symptoms are limited to the same season each year.
  2. Recognize the symptoms. With SAD, you’re likely to feel sad and irritable. You may be hungry all the time with especially strong cravings for carbohydrates like bread and pasta. It’s also common to feel drowsy and sleep more.
  3. Be aware of the different varieties of SAD. This condition usually strikes in the winter, but not always. For some people, the heat and humidity of summer serve as triggers.
  4. Know your risk factors. The highest risk of SAD occurs between the ages of 15 and 55. As you age, you’re less likely to develop SAD. It’s more common in women and in areas where winter days are shorter and the amount of light changes dramatically according to the season. Family history also plays a role.

Strategies for Living With SAD

  1. Increase your exposure to light. Home remedies are sometimes all you need. Try using brighter lights and spending more time outdoors in the sun. Morning light is especially important.
  2. Try out light therapy. If your symptoms are more intense, your physician will probably prescribe light therapy. You spend just about a half hour a day exposed to a special box lamp. There are few side effects and many people enjoy immediate relief. For others, simple complementary activities do the trick.
  3. Get more exercise. Regular exercise is beneficial for coping with most forms of depression, including SAD. Schedule a workout first thing in the morning like a brisk walk around the neighborhood or Tai Chi in your backyard.
  4. Manage stress. Be extra gentle with yourself while you’re recovering. Take time to relax through meditation or listening to instrumental music.
  5. Aim for good quality sleep. Your body will try to get extra sleep when you have SAD. Help make that slumber restorative by avoiding alcohol and caffeine and sticking to a regular early bedtime.
  6. Watch your weight. SAD can lead to weight gain. Protect your health by exercising longer to burn more calories. When you get cravings, reach for healthy, low-fat carbohydrates like whole wheat bread and brown rice.
  7. Do some traveling. If your budget and schedule permit, SAD is one of the few issues you can run away from. Go where the weather suits your needs better. Try spending a week in Jamaica.
  8. Stick with your doctor’s recommendations. Your doctor can advise you on whether antidepressants may be helpful. Even if your symptoms clear up, follow your doctor’s recommendations. If you discontinue treatment too soon, you may suffer a rebound.
  9. See a counselor. Talk therapy is another valuable resource. It may help you address underlying issues and keep SAD from interfering with your daily life.

While winter cold can be daunting, the change of seasons can also be an opportunity to appreciate nature and shake up your daily routines. A little more exposure to morning light may be all you need to stay well. If you think you could be experiencing symptoms of SAD, talk with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you.

Stressed at Work? How to Handle Difficult Days

If you’re employed, you’re almost guaranteed to feel stressed at work, at least once in a while. Sometimes that tension may feel like it’s getting the better of you.

As you continue to encounter stressful situations, your resilience may feel more worn down with each incident. You may eventually find yourself reacting instead of responding, which can have negative physical, mental and emotional repercussions.

However, you can control how you react to stress. If you feel like you’re at your limit with workplace tension, take action now.

Surefire Techniques to Combat Job-Related Stress

Try these ideas to develop the ability to cope positively with on-the-job stress:

  1. Take a walk. Walking is perhaps one of the most underrated techniques for reversing the effects of negative situations. For handling stress at work, a brisk walk around the building or around the block can really help to clear your head. A little exercise will also give you the push to make it through the rest of the day.
    • Maintain a brisk pace from beginning to end
    • Stretch your limbs fully
    • Concentrate on your pace and take your mind off of your challenges in the office
  2. Take deep breaths. For centuries, deep breathing has been pinpointed as an effective technique for relaxation. It’s an integral part of popular forms of exercise like yoga, Pilates and even swimming. The bottom line is that your brain needsoxygen, and deep breathing helps your brain get it!To use breathing to help maintain your composure under stress:
    • Stand upright when taking your deep breaths. That way, you’ll feel the effects from head to toe.
    • Keep your eyes closed and focus on listening to your body inhale and exhale.
    • Combine breathing with stretches, lifting yourself up onto your toes and extending your arms above your head.
  3. Avoid engaging with the stressors. Sometimes, having stressors right in your face can make you feel like you’re going to explode! Instead, try bidding a hasty retreat. If you can’t get rid of what’s stressing you, take yourself away from it. Remember, everything ends at some point.
    • If your stressor is a person, take a break from the confrontation. Walk out if you must!
    • If an issue is what’s causing tension, get help addressing the challenge. That way, you won’t feel like you’re in the boat alone.
    • When you return, the issue will either be out of your way completely, or will seem much easier to manage!
  4. Drink cool water. Surprisingly, it’s pretty easy to get immediate stress relief by drinking cool water. When we get worked up, our entire body reacts, and not just our emotions. Drinking water helps to cool down the body and can restore a sense of calmness.

Eliminating stress factors from the workplace completely is almost impossible, even if you work at a spa. On those days when tension seems to get the better of you, you’ll find relief by adapting some of these tips to your situation. You can start forming your stress-reduction habits today and feel the relief immediately!