Many of us look forward to Summer. The warmer weather lifts our spirits and pushes us out from hibernation. We eat and drink outdoors, travel, take time off work, see friends more then usual, and soak in the Vitamin D while we can. Sometimes, though, we get so caught up in our chaotic schedules that we end up drained instead of refreshed. Here are 5 suggestions for making the most out of your Summer while still maintaining your self-care practices.
1. Capitalize on your time outdoors. Numerous scientific studies have shed light on the positive health benefits of being outside and amongst nature. “Green exercise”- activity in the presence of nature- has demonstrated both short and long term positive health effects on mood and self esteem. Spending time in nature has also been linked with decreases in depression/anxiety and increases in productivity and creativity. Most of us spend the majority of our day inside simply as a byproduct of working full time. With the warmer weather, there are less excuses about getting outside. Prioritize outdoor activities on weekends, or take an evening stroll in your neighborhood after a long day of work. Even if you live in an urban area, visit a local park or botanical garden whenever possible.
2. Recharge – We all lead busy lives, often going through each day on autopilot without taking any breaks. Over time, our brains and bodies get used to operating in a heightened state of stress. This can lead to chronic elevated stress levels, fatigue, and overall burnout. To prevent this, try carve out some time for yourself to recharge and reset. Implement whatever restorative self-care practices feel good for you, whether that’s setting aside extra time for meditation, a dance class, reading, time with friends- whatever you enjoy that helps you mentally decompress.
3. Try something new. Have you ever noticed yourself saying, “if only I had the time, I would do (fill in the blank). Well, it’s time to fill in the blank. With longer days and more daylight afforded to us in the summer, it can feel like we are given the gift of extra time. Consider taking that seminar, course, or workshop that you’ve been meaning to sign up for. Check your neighborhood guide or Time Out NY and attend a Summer event. Explore a new neighborhood. Our brains need novelty to grow, and continuing to learn new skills benefits us throughout our lifetime. Summer can therefore be a great opportunity to get our feet wet in a new opportunity that may have a significant impact on our mental health.
4. Budget your time and money wisely- Summer is often filled with events and celebrations with loved ones. While these are joyous and exciting occasions, they can also leave us stretched a little thin- both financially, and emotionally. If you have a lot going on this Summer, be thoughtful and deliberate with your financial spending, and even the amount of events you commit to. Between money, time, and travel commitments, saying “yes” to everything simply might not be possible.
5. Plan and organize for the fall – The last thing you want to feel at Summer’s end is exhausted, especially if you’ve just used up all your vacation time. Don’t forget leave some time to organize yourself and prepare for whatever is on deck in your life. Maybe that means cleaning out your closet, balancing your checkbook, or scheduling appointments you’ve been putting off. You’ll feel better about the transition to a new season if you don’t feel overwhelmed with all the things you have to do.