August is here! The days are longer and hotter, vacation season is wrapping up and back to school season is upon us. And as many of you are enjoying your last summertime hurrahs and prepping back packs and lunch sacks, I am in “back to school” mode myself, gearing up for the crazy conference season ahead. Keep an eye out on Facebook, Twitter, and my website for replays of conferences past and check your email for the upcoming Newsletter with all the details about upcoming conferences in the future!
Even though summer is usually thought of as a time for rest and relaxation, we can still find ourselves exhausted and stressed out, perhaps even more than usual. So why is that? Well, during the dog days of summer, longer periods of daylight can begin to affect our Circadian Rhythm, the pattern of sleep and wakefulness our bodies naturally adapt to in relation to the rising and setting of the sun. Simply put, when the sun is out, our molecules tell our bodies to wake up and get active. And when periods of daylight are extending up to 18 hours in some places, getting your usual 8 hours of sleep can become more difficult than ever.
Because our busy lives don’t slow down as the days get longer (and sleep is just tougher to come by), here are my top three tips for combating stress when your summertime Circadian Rhythm is in a tailspin.
1. Stay hydrated.
Seriously! This may sound too simple but drinking enough water can’t be overstated as a way to combat stress and improve overall health. Every organ in your body, from your skin to your brain, requires proper hydration in order to reach optimal function. But it’s not just about quantity, quality matters, too. Visit EWG’s Tap Water Data Base to find out what’s in your tap water and how to properly filter it for safe, clean hydration. Our friends at PureEffect Advanced Filtration have amazing options for home filtration that I absolutely recommend. By drinking plenty of high-quality water every day, you’re more able to take control of the maxed-out monkey mind and manage your stress level consciously.
And speaking of the monkey mind…
Who among us hasn’t noticed that the more exhausted we feel, the more our minds seem to race when we finally fall into bed to get some much-needed sleep? It’s true, sometimes it feels like our brains are working against us. How can it be that the same command center that is telling our bodies to slow down and rest is also running wild with chatter that keeps us from doing just that? The truth is that when life hands us challenges, we can’t always just “put them to bed” at night when our heads hit the pillow. Calming worries, anticipation (and the myriad other thoughts running full speed through our heads at all hours) requires conscious effort. We need to slow down, take some deep breaths, and remind our brains and bodies that responsibility will be there when we wake up and now is the time for rest.
3. Get in Sync with Your Biorhythms.
The six biorhythmic periods are: The Physical Cycle, The Emotional Cycle, The Intellectual Cycle, The Intuitive Cycle, The Spiritual Cycle, and The Aesthetic Cycle. By their names alone, you can see that these are the core elements of our life experience. The ways we move through existence are dictated by our personal stance in each of these fields of personal reality. Understanding when your mind and body are particularly in tune with managing your emotions or when things might feel emotionally overwhelming (for example) can help you choose strategies to navigate life in a way that nurtures and supports where your natural biorhythms are at. Understanding and getting comfortable with your own biorhythms will allow you to avoid unnecessary stress that would come from attacking challenges from angles that aren’t compatible with your personal sphere of existence at the time. Visit the Biorhythm Calculator to check and assess your own biorhythms.
Although stress may surprise you and seem a bit more overwhelming in the summer, it’s important to remember that a little self-care goes a very long way. Making these three practices a part of your year-round routine is sure way to reduce stress and get more enjoyment out of the longest days of the year. Seek balance in all areas of your life and make slowing down to take time for reflection and recovery a top health priority to get the most from every season of life.