IT’S SUM­MER AND I FEEL ANY­THING BUT CARE­FREE. ANY TIPS?

So many of us count down the days un­til the warmth and re­lax­ation of sum­mer ar­rives. It’s an ex­cit­ing time filled with long sunny days, new ad­ven­tures and a less for­mal rou­tine. But for some, es­pe­cially those who strug­gle with anx­i­ety, the sum­mer months c

Best Health - - ADVICE -

EL­IZ­A­BETH SAYS...

AGET MOV­ING Ex­er­cise has long been known as a great way to defuse anx­i­ety. For me, en­joy­ing the warm weather, soak­ing up the sun­shine and hit­ting the pave­ment is a win­ning com­bi­na­tion to calm my rac­ing mind. Get a pool mem­ber­ship, find a great bike trail, go for reg­u­lar hikes or take part in an out­door boot camp to get those en­dor­phins pump­ing while you en­joy a healthy dose of vi­ta­min D.

SET A GOAL I like to chal­lenge my­self to train for a race or take on a new ac­tiv­ity. Last year, I signed up for my first en­durance race and, al­though daunt­ing, com­plet­ing it fu­elled my sense of ad­ven­ture, showed me that I could over­come my fears and made me feel proud and ac­com­plished. Don’t avoid chal­lenges this sum­mer. Though it can be scary at first, that feel­ing of step­ping out­side your com­fort zone is ul­ti­mately ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

PLAN A GET­AWAY A change of scenery has al­ways been a great way for me to un­wind and curb anx­ious thoughts. Be­ing in a new en­vi­ron­ment, em­bark­ing on ad­ven­tures and re­con­nect­ing with my hus­band al­low me to leave my daily rou­tine and stresses be­hind and feel re­freshed and recharged. Book a get­away with your favourite travel part­ner, even if it’s just a stay­ca­tion. An es­cape from the hus­tle and bus­tle of your daily grind can do you a world of good.

LISA SAYS...

AGET OUT­SIDE Ex­po­sure to sun­light and fresh air has long been known to in­crease sero­tonin lev­els and re­duce anx­i­ety. Be­ing out­side pro­motes a sense of calm and well-be­ing. This sum­mer, take up a new out­door hobby, such as gar­den­ing. It will force you to spend time out­doors and give you a sense of ac­com­plish­ment as you watch the seeds of your labour take root.

PRAC­TISE MIND­FUL­NESS AND MED­I­TA­TION

The art of mind­ful­ness is sim­ply be­ing in the here and now. Take a few min­utes ev­ery day to fo­cus on the sights and sounds of what’s hap­pen­ing around you. Pay­ing at­ten­tion to the mu­sic of na­ture, smelling freshly cut grass and feel­ing the heat of the sun on your face will help ground you and put a stop to ru­mi­nat­ing thoughts.

MAKE GOOD USE OF VA­CA­TION TIME We of­ten use va­ca­tion time as a way to ac­com­plish un­fin­ished tasks, at­tend long over­due ap­point­ments and get things done around the house. This sum­mer, use some of your hol­i­days for self-care. Pick up a book you’ve been mean­ing to read, hang out by the pool or meet an old friend for lunch. Adding some fun and re­lax­ation to your sum­mer can help you re­boot and re­duce stress.

EL­IZ­A­BETH WIENER AND LISA BROOKMAN

El­iz­a­beth Wiener is an ed­u­ca­tor who lives with de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. Lisa Brookman is a clin­i­cal psy­chother­a­pist based in Mon­treal. To­gether, they form

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