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Our 15 Favourite Cathartic Ways to Help with Summer Stress

Stress? In the summer? OY, it happens! When you can’t hide under your duvet without sweltering, you need some new coping mechanisms. Here are our favourites. 

1. Garden
When life seems overwhelming, getting your hands dirty with a simple, nurturing task can be incredibly calming. Also, the slow pace of a garden growing will help remind you to take a deep breath and slow down as you enjoy little victories, like vines growing up a trellis and new blossoms. 

2. Go for a long-ass bike ride
Clear your head by letting the city speed by. A cool breeze on your face and the sensation that, while you’re in motion, you’re unreachable, will help put your stress away for an hour. Try and bike somewhere you’ve never been before-seeing something fresh will help you gain perspective. 

3. Buy a coconut on Spadina, hack it open with a meat cleaver, let the juice run down your chin.
Sometimes, you just need to hit something really hard. This way, you get a reward. 

4. Drive to nowhere blaring Bruce Springsteen. 
Blare your favourite car rock tunes, and take yourself on a road trip. The destination doesn’t matter, just get some time to sing at the top of your lungs. 

5. Run through a sprinkler.
Wheee! It’s like being a little kid again! 

6. Play with someone else’s puppy.
Trinity Bellwoods Dog Bowl, anyone?

7. Get out of the city, even if it’s just somewhere an hour away. 
A change of context makes all the difference when things seem like the end of the world. Get yourself some space to help assess your priorities-even if you only go as far as staring off the other side of the Toronto Island. 

8. Eat a popsicle on your porch
Watch the neighbourhood go by.

9. Listen to a shitload of Abba. 
Abba heals all wounds. That’s just science. 

10. Jump, screaming at the top of your lungs, off a cliff, boathouse or high dive into a freezing cold (AND SAFELY DEEP) body of water. 
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHSPLAAAASH! 

11. Spend an entire Saturday afternoon doing nothing but reading a book and drinking iced tea. 
Don’t even think about opening your laptop or responding to text messages. Turn off and chill out. 

12. Write a far away friend a letter, including sketches, dried flowers, postcards, any little souvenirs of where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to this summer.
This will help you focus on all the small, lovely things your stress might have you missing. It will also remind you there’s a big world out there, and nothing is as overwhelming as it seems. 

13. Find a mad packed dance floor and sweat it out all night long
Dance therapy is the best therapy. 

14. Read The Hunger Games or Game of Thrones to help gain perspective. 
Hey, at least no one is trying to take you out with medieval weaponry. 

15. Go see an extremely cheesy summer movie and bask in the air conditioning. 

~ Haley Cullingham

Image: One of the posters distributed by the good people at http://www.somethingnice.ca/

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