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When we're young, summer means getting away from school, sleeping in, and spending days by a swimming pool. As adults, our summers tend to be no different from any other potentially stressful time of the year. That doesn't mean there aren't still perks of the hot season, though. Stress can have a negative impact on our health, but there are certain ways of relaxing that we can only do in the summer—so take advantage!

01. Succumb to getting sweaty.

It’s a well-known fact that working out immediately reduces stress and that getting enough sunshine does wonders for our mental health. So kill two birds with one stone and embrace the perfect season to exercise outdoors, sans the harsher changes in weather you'd find during the rest of the year. Whether you’re a runner or walker, or you prefer to burn calories via mat Pilates, see what parts of your exercise routine you can take outside. Reward your walk on the beach with a dip in the ocean, or ditch the mat and slip into a swimming pool for aqua Pilates instead.

02. Take advantage of fresh summer produce.

There’s no harm in a good ice cream cone now and again, but don’t equate a stressful day as a free pass to chow down on a "cheat day." Do yourself a favor and trade those chips in for something fresher that tastes better too. Summer is the best time for lots of produce, so check out your local farmers market to see what’s in season in your area (Pro tip: You'll save money and eat healthier). Blueberries and tomatoes are known superfoods rich in antioxidants, which help your body fight disease. Avocados, cucumbers, corn, green beans, melons, salad leaves, squash, and stone fruits reach their prime in summer too, meaning they're at their sweetest, juiciest, and most flavorful peak.

03. Float your cares away. Literally.

It would be remiss of us not to include lounging on a pool float on our summer relaxation list. Iceland’s communal swimming pools are a top reason why it ranks high in general happiness charts, proving the benefits of getting regular swim and social time. Even if you aren’t putting in tons of laps around the pool, the combination of cool water and sunny days is the perfect recipe for spending time with old friends and making new ones, both of which will add to your enjoyment of life. Grab some sunscreen, some shades, and your favorite floaties for the quintessential summer de-stresser.

04. Catch up on your reading list.

OK, so we know that you can technically read outside anytime of the year, but there’s something about a warm summer afternoon that has us grabbing a good book, an iced tea, and a blanket to spread underneath a shady tree. Reading fiction is an especially great way to relax, as studies show it helps you de-stress, improve focus, and sleep better, which all benefit mental health. If you need some good beach reads, we’ve got a few of some of the most talked about books of the year over here.

Photo Credit: Britt Rene