By Diane Lang
Summer is almost in full swing: kids are getting out of school, family vacations, beach outings, BBQs, and many other fun summer activities we all love to do. Although most of us work during the summer, it's also a time to enjoy and relax.
Learning to truly unwind and unplug will help us become happier and more balanced leaving us refreshed for fall saying, "That was a great summer!"
Here are my tips to help you truly relax this summer:
1. Spend some time outdoors. When we spend our time in nature, it naturally calms us and gives us a feeling of inner peace. The bonus is natural sunlight which gives us our vitamin D—great for the bones and a mood booster.
2. Unplug from technology. Use the summer as an excuse to be in vacation mode. Even if you can only do this once a week, take time to connect to nature by unplugging from technology.
3. Start a fitness program that is fun and adventurous. Go hiking, bike riding or swimming—something new and fun! Make it better by bringing a friend.
4. Slow down. It's summer; start living mindfully by doing one task at a time, enjoying the beauty around you and living in the moment.
5. Spend time with friends and family. Set up date nights and fun nights. The days are longer so it's a great time to really go out and have fun!
6. Do activities you love. Read the book you never had time to read, take a day trip to a new town and see new sights, go to the beach and relax. This is the time to do it.
7. Step outside your comfort zone. Try something new. It can be something simple like trying a new drink or food or a new restaurant. Every time we try something new we take a risk and feel a boost of happiness.
8. If you have "personal time" from work, use it. Enjoy some free time with no expectations. It doesn't matter if you go on vacation or just take a walk; it's about enjoying some time off.
9. Create some "me time." I wake up 10 minutes earlier in the summer to sit outside on my deck with my coffee and just enjoy the silence. All you need to do is take 10 to 15 minutes a day for you!
10. Breathe. Even with nice weather and longer days we can still get stressed. So, when you feel the stress coming, take a moment to close your eyes and take a deep breath. It works!
Diane Lang, a positive living expert and psychotherapist, is a nationally recognized speaker, author, educator, therapist and media expert. In addition to holding multiple counseling positions, she is an adjunct professor at Montclair State University. Lang has been interviewed for numerous magazine and newspaper articles and is a frequent guest on radio and TV shows. She also writes columns and blogs for various sites. She is the author of two books: Baby Steps: The Path from Motherhood to Career and Creating Balance and Finding Happiness.