Top 10 Ways to Reduce Summer Stress

Top 10 Ways to Reduce Summer Stress and Keep Kiddos Engaged

You’re busy thinking about how to reduce summer stress as another school year is draws to a close. While the first day of summer isn’t until June 21st, technically for anyone who has school age children it starts this month. For me, it’s Friday, June 5th at 3:55 p.m., the moment when those two energetic boys finish their kindergarten and third grade year and meet me in the school lobby. We will have 13 weeks together this summer…for better or worse, in begging for electronics and playing board games, in sweet never to be forgotten moments and sibling heated arguments, to laugh and to cry, till school starts again on September 8th. : )

reduce summer stress - Fun with my boys at Millennium Gardens, Plymouth, MN

Fun with my boys at Millennium Gardens, Plymouth, MN

By all means do not interpret that I think the summer will be bad, rather I’m looking forward to time together with my sons and making those memories that will warm my heart far after they have left the house, or are living in our basement. ; ) And yet…when my children are in the throws of a fiery argument of “Did you just look at me?” I think…isn’t it bedtime?

When the difficult times roll in, I always have to tell myself, “I’m normal.” I’m like every other parent out there, we’re praying for an abundance of patience, the ability to temper our temper and establish boundaries with our kiddos so that we strike a balance between family fun and our ability to administer a daily dose of self-care to maintain our sanity.

Speaking of sanity, I’ll get to the point of this entry and provide my “Top 10 Ways to Reduce Summer Stress and Keep Kiddos Engaged” this summer. This is my plan to help manage my stress and keep my boys active, engaged and enjoying this novel thing called “down time.”   : )

  1. Prevent Brain Drain During the first week off from school we head over to the Lakeshore Learning store and grab summer reading and math workbooks. Establish time for workbook, daily or a minimum of four times per week. I always expect that each workbook can be completed prior to heading back to school. Reduce summer stress by setting the expectation that workbook time is finished before any screen time can be enjoyed.
  2. Schedule Activities We live in a society that fully supports and pressures parents to over schedule their kids, so when you’re looking for activities to participate in, make sure that it’s not too heavy of a schedule for them or you. Remember, you’re the one that has to chauffer them to all of these activities, so reduce summer stress by allotting so much time for scheduled activities. ; )
  3. Quiet Time or Downtime Shhh…it’s really important that children know how to self soothe and self entertain. Ensure that there is routine downtime so that they can determine how to spend their time, develop interests, problem solve their own boredom, or do I dare say it – GASP – take a nap. Downtime is a very important element to reduce summer stress.
  4. Fun with Friends If your children are of elementary or middle school age, you’ll want to schedule some fun time with friends. That might mean some time at your local pool/beach, running off physical energy and a picnic at the park or outdoor games of volleyball, croquet, Twister, bocce ball, Chinese jump rope, water balloon fights, etc., at your house.
  5. Create Bookworms Reading not only helps to pass the day, but it increases vocabulary, comprehension and fosters a love for reading. Select a book together and take turns reading it or establish an independent reading time so that you too can sneak in some self-care time. Select a special place for your reading time, under a shady tree, the porch or nook.
  6. Lions, Tigers and Bears Oh My Check out the local attractions where you can spend the day with your kiddos learning, relaxing or having fun! Some great ideas can be found in this article, “100 Things To Do With Your Kids This Summer” or check out your local museums, amusement parks, waterparks, parks, zoos, theater, historic landmarks and other attractions. Perhaps planning something once or twice a month is best, keeping costs in mind and not encourage a bad case of the gimmies with your children.
  7. Workday Yes, we all have to do it. Laundry, dusting, vacuuming, washing the car, mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, etc., doesn’t happen on its own. A workday creates ownership, responsibility and establishes each person’s contribution to the household and family unit. To reduce summer stress also means you being able to be freed up from your household duties.
  8. Rainy Day Rain is bound to show up in the forecast and having a list of rainy day activities is a definite must, i.e., movies, cook special meals, bake, board games, house hide and seek, crafts, puzzles, etc. are all possibilities in passing a dreary day.
  9. Craft Day Whether your children are wee young ones or of elementary, middle or high school age, there’s nothing like a good craft day to connect and get in touch with your creative side. While there may be some moans to start, not too soon after most will enjoy being together and making family connections.
  10. Parents Remember to Care for Yourselves In the middle of all the mayhem it’s sometimes difficult for parents to remember they have to take care of themselves too. If you’re taking care and giving all the time to your children, you’ll eventually find yourself depleted, a bit grouchy and short on patience. I’m very lucky to have a husband that recognizes that I need my downtime occasionally. I’m not certain he recognizes downtime for himself, so I push him to do things that will reenergize him. So pick up a book, go for a walk with a friend, exercise, or garden – whatever you find enjoyment in that recharges you. Additionally, don’t forget to get a babysitter. You and your partner need time to reconnect with each other and your friends.

I’ve shared my view with you; please leave a comment and share your thoughts with me.

Happy Summer!

Take the High Road; Find Your Kind Nature and Giggle

Are you having a hard time dealing with daily annoyances?

Perhaps each spring the neighbor’s roaming cat uses the side of your house as a litter box.

Or the neighbor’s kiddos consistently throw landscaping, pea rock into your grass; resulting in you cursing each time you mow the lawn.

And then there’s Bob, the Neighborhood Watch organizer, who lurks around the house, ringing your doorbell after 9 p.m.  This usually happens when your husband is travelling, scaring you, and the “you know what” out of the cat at the side of the house…possibly causing the whole litter box problem. Well, maybe the cat and Bob situations aren’t related to one another, but it added a little humor.

In case you are wondering, all of the above stories have actually happened between the two houses where my husband and I have lived.

What’s the solution to these daily annoyances? It’s challenging yourself to find the humor in a situation and flip the stress to laughter. Let me give a couple examples.

As I listened to my husband rant under his breath, criticizing the neighbor’s parenting skills, while doing his best to pick the pea rock out of our lawn for the ninth time this summer. I think how can I make him laugh? So I say:

“You want me to take care of it? Just think of me out there in my housecoat, curlers in my hair, cold cream on my face and cigarette in hand, yelling in the raspiest voice I can muster, you kids get out of my yard!”

It took the edge off of his anger and gave him a mental picture to reference each time he went pea rock picking before a mow.

Then, there’s the cat that kept using the side of our house as his personal toilet when spring arrived. I did some research for my husband and found three ways to handle this delicate situation:

  1. Outfit my husband in camouflage, night vision goggles and a can of spray paint.
  2. Scatter a couple of bulk, black pepper containers at the side of the house so that the pepper would adhere to the cat’s paws, a couple of licks later, that cat wouldn’t want to come back to our house.
  3. Purchase a super soaker water gun and lay in wait. Continue reading

Chipmunk Espresso

Your Little Beast

Have you ever seen a chipmunk on a double espresso?

Surely you have, or perhaps you have been one. Many times when stress weasels its way into our life, or the lives of the people we love, we see a glimpse of this cute, but anxious and often misguided creature attempting to assemble peace and order to life.

Perhaps work has you tangled, or a relationship seems too toxic to bear, or maybe you feel directionless and wonder, “Is this where my life is suppose to be right now?”

No matter the cause of your stress, know that it can be managed. The first step is to determine the cause of your stress and find healthy ways of dealing with it. Continue reading

More Calm, Less Storms Event

Saturday, January 22 · 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Red Clover Clinic

Experience an afternoon designed to calm and renew your mind, body and spirit. Release the tension and stressful storms that your body manages on a daily basis. Relax and partake in healing mini-treatments and a variety of products: Acupuncture, Life Coaching, Integrative Nutrition, Chinese Tuina Massage, and Aihu Products. Meet the practitioners, learn more about each of their specialties and design your new year to include more calming self-care and less stressful storms.

To reserve your spot, register at, select your preferred time slot and plan to arrive a few minutes prior to your first session. The $20.00 registration fee will be donated to Avenues for Homeless Youth. In addition, The Collaborative is also collecting personal hygiene supplies for Avenues. Registration fee is non-refundable.

View the Official Flyer

HeartMath Webinar, The Science of Self Care

This was a GREAT webinar on self care, by Cheryl Richardson (Personal Coach seen many times on Oprah) and Howard Martin (VP at HeartMath).  I encourage you to take a listen and reflect on your own life.  Can’t we all be taking better care of ourselves, which in turn helps to care for others? Have you ever heard about over-caring?  And, what does over-caring do to our minds, bodies and spirits?  Quickly register with HeartMath and take a listen… would love to hear what you all think.  Enjoy!

HeartMath Webinar: The Science of Self Care

The Rhythm of Routine

We all find ourselves stressed at one time or another… working too many hours, frazzled in traffic, being short-tempered with the kids, not getting enough sleep, making poor eating choices. Stepping back, what does it all mean?  And more importantly, how can we change it?

I recently listened to a HeartMath webinar called The Science of Self Care with Personal Coach Cheryl Richardson and HeartMath VP Howard Martin. Something that stuck with me is thinking about the effects of Anger or Stress versus Care on our bodies. Moreover, how our exhaustion from our over scheduling and sometimes over caring for others, and not ourselves, is leading our minds and bodies into quite a stress and physical illness epidemic.

How maniacal are you about checking voicemail, email, texts, when they immediately arrive? Especially since starting my business, I always want to be so on the spot when a client or potential client contacts me. Studies have shown that checking your business media so often actually makes you less effective than if you check it only at set times during the day. Continue reading

A Trip Back Home

Recently, I travelled to my hometown to visit my father who is in ill health.  It was quite sad and stressful to see my father in his new state of being.  It was just a little over a year ago that he was golfing 2-3 times a week.  He was such an active man who relished the tackling of a good household project around his or his daughters’ houses, like installing hardwood floors, helping to assemble his grandchildren’s swing set or the redesign of landscaping.

How fleeting life is… and how quickly things can change.  It made me reflect on the importance of living life to the fullest and not getting caught up in small stuff, and as the saying goes, it’s all small stuff.  For example, I can remember always getting worked up that my Dad sometimes wore his shoes in my house.  Now, how I wish he could travel and wear his shoes in my house.

Another learning experience for me was watching my eldest son and his Grandpa together, as they have always been like peas and carrots.  This visit was no different than any other… discussing the first preschool year, the latest additions to his Thomas the train collection and his advancement to Little 2 swimming class. Continue reading

What’s The Most Common Stress Symptom?

Physical and mental health experts have long known that stress lowers immunity. But there are some surprising symptoms you need to know about.

In college Sarah Jenkins was diagnosed with a mild case of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition causing gastrointestinal discomfort, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. Since then, “it’s always been manageable,” the now 31-year-old says, adding, “except when I’m under a lot of stress.”

Indeed, in the past six months as Jenkins’ personal life spun out of control, her IBS followed. During this time, she was applying to graduate school for speech pathology, taking prerequisite classes, working at two restaurants and as a tutor and trying to maintain a relationship with her boyfriend.

The result: She either was endlessly on the toilet or had constipation so bad that she could go a week or more without a bowel movement. She also had heartburn so severe she slept sitting up. “I couldn’t be intimate with my boyfriend sometimes because I couldn’t lie down,” Jenkins says.

View the full article at Forbes