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4 ways to truly unwind this summer

Summer is supposed to be the ultimate season of relaxation. But if you’re spending a lot of time hosting relatives and friends, ferrying kids to and from activities, or putting your vacation on hold altogether, the season can feel anything but chill.Making a point to truly unwind and unplug is key to having more balance and joy in your life –and can also help recharge your physical and mental batteries.

Take those vacation days
It’s easy to get caught in the hamster wheel of a busy work schedule, where the thought of taking vacation can make you feel even more stressed out. But banking vacation days so you can attack your to-do list at work can put you at risk of burnout. Everyone needs downtime to recover and recharge. Even a short, four-day break can boost your well-being, and can help lower stress for as long as 45 days. If taking a long break is just not in the cards, try taking Mondays or Fridays off during the summer months, so you get multiple long weekends. Pro tip: keep the kids in camp or daycare on those days.

Spend more time outside
Sunny summer days are prime time to reconnect with nature. The fresh air will lift your mood, boost your energy and help lower stress hormones in your body. Think fun local activities: take a stroll in the park, pack a picnic and explore a local beach, hop on your bike for a ride or get your hands dirty in the garden. Be sure to slap on sunscreen and drink lots of water while you’re outside. If you’re feeling social, check with your local library or community centre about their free summer programming, including outdoor yoga classes, gardening workshops and guided walks.

Create some “me time”
Spending time alone can help you relieve stress and relax – especially if you’ve got a house full of company. This could be waking up 15 minutes early to do a quick meditation, writing in a journal or simply sipping your morning coffee alone on the patio. Make time for low-key activities that will keep your hands busy and clear your head – pick up an adult colouring book, knit, paint or find another activity that you enjoy. Turn off your phone notifications or leave your device in another room, so you can truly relax and be in the moment.

Plan just one special thing
There are only so many weekends in the summer, but don’t over-extend yourself trying to attend every family gathering, weekend trip or community event. Instead, pick one special activity or bucket-list trip that you’ve been eyeing but keep putting off. It could be as simple as a day trip to a new place, heading with friends to a festival, trying out a new sport or visiting a museum, art gallery or cultural centre. In Nova Scotia, there’s no shortage of fun summer activities to try out. Find something that’s meaningful to you and make it happen.

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