• Health & Wellness

    Keep Stress Out of Summer Vacation

woman resting in a tree hammock in the shade on a hot summer day

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. — You may not think that summer and stress go together, but they often do. Routines change frequently, and downtime can lead to complaining and sibling squabbles. Summertime events, such as graduations, family reunions and vacations, come with their own set of stressors. So, what can you do to stress less and have more fun this summer? Dixie Jackson, behavioral health specialist at Mayo Clinic Health System, offers a few time management tips and stress relievers to help you and your family enjoy the summer.

  • Involve the kids in setting up routines for the summer. Cooperation will be much greater if children are part of the activity-planning process.
  • If you’re home with your children during the summer, try to set aside alone time with each child.
  • Find some projects on which the whole family can work together. You’ll be getting your chores done and spending time together as a family.
  • If your children are older, give them a set of daily chores they need to complete before they can play. They can tidy their rooms, make their beds or put away dishes.
  • Plan some low-cost summer activities for the family, like camping in the backyard or afternoons at the swimming pool.
  • Embrace downtime. The school-year can be stressful — kids need downtime to rest and restore.

“Family vacations are a wonderful time to create lasting memories with your children, but they do come with their own set of headaches,” says Jackson. “There’s a lot of extra effort when traveling with children — planning activities for them, packing their stuff and getting them ready.”

Jackson offers these suggestions to help you manufacture a smoother trip:

  • Make sure each family member is involved. Your vacation may not necessarily be ideal for all the entire time, but it can work for each family member. Try to balance days when everyone participates in a shared activity and days when individual members can do their own thing.
  • Be flexible. Expect the unexpected, and be ready to roll with the punches.
  • Value unscheduled time. Your family doesn’t need to see all the sights or ride all the rides at the amusement park to have a successful trip. The most important part of vacation is spending time together.

Summer vacation should be enjoyable for everyone. If you start feeling stressed, try some of these tips to add more fun and less stress to your summer.