Tips for Destressing this Summer | Summer Guest Blogger Series

This is one I know you’re all going to love! Being in Florida for the entire summer, the struggle is REAL to relax and enjoy our time and also cram as much into these 8 weeks as humanly possible. We don’t want to come back to NoVa wishing we’d done something in “all” of our time here! But as a mom with 2 small-ish kids, I know I have to build in time for us all to sit at home and unwind. I find that the things we do the most are go to the beach, read, and grab ice cream, and for us this creates a nicely balanced day with an activity, some planned rest time, and a fun treat! Together we’ll learn more about quieting those “more more more” voices, minimizing that summer to do list, and destressing this summer. Please share your own personal tips in the comments!


Who’s Driving Your To-Do List? 3 steps to downsize it and de-stress this summer

Traditionally, summer marks a time when routines can loosen up a little. As school winds down, visions of lazier days, family time, vacations, and fun excursions dance in our heads.

Unfortunately, we often forget what the reality of 10 less-structured weeks FEELS like — and it’s usually just as stressful as the school year, just in different ways. So when it comes to coordinating your family’s work, home, fun, and other obligations, can I give you some unsolicited advice? Hop on the “do less” trend and make way for wiggle room – leave as much time, space, and breathing room as you can get away with on your calendar.

Now I know this isn’t easy. Summer feels so fleeting, and between your loved ones constantly asking to make plans and the twinges of FOMO you feel scrolling through social media, the pressure to “make memories” and “complete your summer bucket list” can be intense.

Let me introduce you to 3 sources where your feelings of obligation are coming from so you can deal with them, take a fresh look at your to-do list, and prioritize more of your own needs while paring down everyone else’s.


Voice 1: OTHERS



Work: boss, coworkers, clients, emails, phone calls, interruptions

Home: partner, kids, pets, in-laws, daily have-tos like feeding, bathing, cleaning up, home upkeep

Kid-Related: kid friends/parents, classmates, play dates, teachers, school, PTA, coaches, sports teams, volunteering

Community: neighbors, homeowners associations, volunteering, church

How the voice of “others” affects you: 

The more people and obligations that surround you, the more you’ll feel pulled in multiple directions and the more decision fatigue you’ll have deciding what to say “yes” and “no” to. 

While there may be a time and place in the future where you can juggle dozens of demands like a pro, I especially advise anyone with younger children to recognize that there are already so many “have to” tasks you’ll need energy for: feeding, bathing, soothing, hands-on help and supervision, etc. 

The more you simplify your schedule, the more time you’ll have to keep your resilience up and enjoy the moments that matter.

Action step: 

Do a brain dump and take a close look at where your time is going. Think of what you regularly do daily, weekly, monthly, and occasionally. Is there anything you can eliminate, delegate, or strategize so you have more time to take better care of yourself, fix what frustrates you from day to day, and enjoy more of what lights you up?  


Destressing this summer by identifying 3 sources where your feelings of obligation are coming from so you can prioritize your own needs.


Voice 2: Your “WORST SELF”



This is an internal voice that constantly reminds you of your most negative qualities, making you worry that you’re selfish, lazy, uncaring, a terrible parent, too permissive, fat, undisciplined, disorganized, messy, thoughtless, frazzled, scattered, unloving, etc. 

How the voice of “your worst self” affects you: 

This voice often obligates you to say “yes” to others when you don’t really want to. This voice whispers how terrible you are to say “no,” telling you that if you don’t fulfill their requests, they, too, will think those negative things about you.

Action step: 

Take another look at your brain dump and check for activities and tasks that you don’t enjoy, but you plan anyway because you feel you have to prove yourself somehow. Again, identify ideas you could possibly eliminate, delegate, or strategize. 

I can share a personal example: sometimes I overschedule playdates and kid social activities because my daughter’s an only child and I worry that’s setting her back somehow. Simply by recognizing this inner voice, I can realize what I’m doing before it gets to be too much, and keep the playdates to a more reasonable amount. 

Destressing this summer by identifying 3 sources where your feelings of obligation are coming from so you can  prioritize your own needs.

Voice 3: Your “BEST SELF”



Picture SNL character Stuart Smalley looking in the mirror and telling himself “You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and — gosh darn it — people like you!” This is the ideal voice to filter everything through – a confidence in yourself, knowing that you have a good heart, good intentions, and are doing the best you can for yourself and the important people in your life.

How the voice of “your best self” affects you: 

Your “best self” voice is the one that reminds you how much you love your kids, how smart and resourceful you are, and all the good you’re managing even when life is challenging. 

Action step: 

Take another look at your brain dump through the eyes of your “best self.” If that concept is too foreign to you, imagine a best friend or a trusted mentor reviewing it. What main areas of focus would they tell you to prioritize to keep doing the things you do best, like giving your loved ones time and attention, preventing yourself from snapping at them, and being able to focus on work when you have to? 


Destressing this summer by identifying 3 sources where your feelings of obligation are coming from so you can prioritize your own needs.


The Payoff


It’s not always easy to pull out of reactive mode and find the time to practice this downsizing strategy, but the sooner you can learn to separate what’s most important to YOU from what others want you to do for them, the more time, stress, and even money you can save yourself over the years. 

If you’d like some help connecting with that “best self” voice so you can regain control of your to-do list, I’d love to help you work through the process this article describes. You can schedule a complimentary 30-minute session with me at


About the Author:


Destressing this summer by identifying 3 sources where your feelings of obligation are coming from so you can prioritize your own needs.

Headshot © Mallorie Gayle Photography

Diana Forbes is a certified life coach who lives in Herndon, VA, with her husband, 6-year-old daughter, and kittens Ovi and Bax. Since 2010, she’s been helping dozens of working moms to figure out and prioritize what matters most, one season at a time, so they can hack down their to-do list and craft a work/life rhythm they love NOW instead of “someday.”

If you’re a mom who feels overwhelmed trying to do her best for too many people, you can learn more about her workshops, challenges, and free Facebook community at 

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Hi! I'm Blaire.

I'm a beach bum from New York, living life with a cup of coffee in one hand and a camera in the other.


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