Are you counting the days until the kids go back to school?

Do you long for just one relaxed summer evening?

Have you ever said, “I need a vacation from my vacation?”

If you said yes to any of these, it’s time to give yourself permission to de-stress this summer.

Modern parenting and perceived obligations can make your summer one of the most stressful times of the year. Here are a few ways to put the “vacation” back in “summer vacation.”

Keep it Simple

Summer should be a time for you and your kids to relax and get a much-needed break from school. While there is something to be said for staying mentally active during the summer, kids also benefit from unstructured play and time spent in the great outdoors.

Depending on your work obligations, be sure to get your kids a balance of planned activities like day camps, tutoring and sports, and days of free-range play.

What’s on the schedule for today? Not a darn thing. Where do we have to drive? Nowhere.

Permission to Say “No”

Do you have a list of out-of-town friends and family clamoring for you and the kids to visit this summer? If you’re not looking forward to the trip, or if it feels like just one more thing you have to do, give yourself permission to take a raincheck. Make this the summer of self-care for you and your kids.

Consider a “Staycation”

Out-of-town vacations are supposed to be for relaxing, but when you’re a parent they can be loaded with stress. You find yourself in charge of logistics, travel, scheduling and packing for the entire family, not to mention the stress of catching the right flight or driving for hours with kids.

You can have just as much fun with a fraction of the stress if you go with a staycation instead. Just like the name implies, you stay at home for your summer holiday. No packing! Plan short daytrips to local attractions, or forget the plan and just hit the road with a picnic lunch and explore.

You’ll definitely save money, removing the stress of paying for an expensive vacation.

Make Time for Yourself

Remember that vacation is not just about your kids. It’s about you, too. As a parent and caretaker, you probably feel like you have to make everyone’s experience stellar…except yours.

But, if you spend all your energy taking care of others and don’t recharge your batteries, you’ll run out of energy to give. You have permission to take time just for you.

Why not take one day from that staycation to hire a sitter and give yourself a day to do what you want? Sleep in. Enjoy an afternoon with a good book. Treat yourself to dinner and a movie that you want to see. Wander around a museum, or get a spa treatment.

Just 30 minutes of relaxation massage can give you a much-needed break and put you on the right track to a less stressed summer.

Photo Copyright: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo

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