Articles

Five summer stress relief solutions

Could the sun help you tackle stress?

5 minutes

While many of us look forward to the long, balmy days of summertime, the warmer months are not without their seasonal stresses and strains.

Mental health experts offer some surprisingly simple summer stress relief tips to help you keep your cool throughout the warmer months.
  • Why getting active can keep you calm
  • The stress-relieving benefits of nature
  • How to give yourself a break
From sweaty commutes and catching up with work after a bank holiday weekend, to keeping the kids entertained or planning that perfect holiday, there’s plenty that can get you hot under the collar over the summer. Writing for LV= life insurance, Sarah Graham (@SarahGraham7) shares some relaxation techniques that can help you reduce stress and enjoy the sunshine.

Get moving


1. Get active

There's plenty of evidence that exercise has a really powerful mood-boosting effect, and summer's a great time to get active outdoors with minimal fuss required.

‘Exercise doesn't need to be anything fancy,’ says chartered psychologist and health coach Suzy Reading (@SuzyReading). ‘Walking, cycling and swimming are perfect ways to enjoy being outdoors in the summer.’

Indeed, research shows that swimming outdoors in cold water regularly can have a whole host of benefits – what better excuse for a summer dip in the sea off the British coastline? If you’re feeling brave enough, that is!

2. Start the day right

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, columnist for The Telegraph, and author of The Key To Calm (@LindaBlairPsych), recommends waking up to natural light as much as possible, and kicking off each day by focusing on slow, mindful breathing. During the summer, early morning exercise can be a great way to achieve this.

‘Either do some yoga near a window if it's raining, or take a 20-minute walk, to set your stress thermostat to low for the day,’ she recommends.

Could being among trees reduce stress?

Connect with nature


3. Leave your stresses outside

The natural world is not just a great venue for your daily exercise – it also has huge wellbeing benefits in its own right.

‘Walking, lying or sitting bare foot, connecting with the earth, grass or sand can be delightfully grounding,’ says self-care coach Eve Menezes Cuningham (@WellbeingEve), author of 365 Ways to Feel Better. ‘We can imagine ourselves letting go of any stresses and other energies that no longer serve us, visualising them going into the earth.’

Evidence also shows that spending time around trees, listening to bird song, and watching cute animals can all have a stress-relieving effect – further evidence that watching funny pet videos is a good use of your time.

4. Bring nature indoors

Of course, most of us can't spend all summer outside, but bringing the beauty of nature into your home or office can have a similarly stress relieving effect.

‘Collect wildflowers and display them in small jars to create a home environment that matches your mood,’ Suzy suggests. ‘Nature and our environment are key building blocks to wellbeing, alongside movement, nutrition, rest, play, and social connection.’

The sweet scent of flowers and other summery fragrances, as well as aromatherapy oils such as lavender or jasmine, can also have a wonderfully soothing impact, aiding both stress relief and sleep.

Take time for yourself

‘Me’ time


5. Make time for meditation

‘During the summer months we can get hot and bothered really quickly and, even with the longer days, it's often hard to find the time to connect properly to how we're actually feeling at any particular moment,’ says James Langton, Editor of Less-Stress London (@LessStressLDN).

There's strong evidence showing that meditation can reduce mental stress – and it doesn't need to take up too much time during your busy day.

‘A short five or ten-minute quiet meditation moment, where we close our eyes and connect to how we are feeling emotionally, can be really useful to help us gain perspective about what is really important, and what can take care of itself for now,’ James explains.


Whatever your plans for the months ahead, don't let the stress leave your summer in the shade. Whether you're jetting off or enjoying a staycation, find time to check in with yourself and the world.