Secrets to a Lighter, Brighter Summer
Summertime: vacations, beaches, hikes, ice-cold treats, fireflies, wild summer nights, freedom… the best of times, allowing you to just be.
Summertime is also the best time to reframe your goals and focus on your priorities. It’s a great time to plan for how you want to spend your time. Forget your New Year’s resolutions, because July is the perfect time to make resolutions that help you to focus on your own priorities. The following tips will help you to reframe and reset. We are all busy, but taking the time to destress and slow down during the summer months can increase your mental and physical health while the days are longer, the weather is nicer, and the pace of the world feels just a bit slower.
These secrets are not meant to be kept. We’ve broken these secrets into categories so that they are easy to share and remember. Try at least one from each category this month, and see if you can make time to try them all before summer is through.
- Find an easy interesting read for the summer.
- Engage your entire household, including pets! Find a pleasant setting with low distractions and high comfort to curl up with good books together.
- Reading aloud, or listening to a book together allows for shared experiences and benefits.
- If this sounds taxing, consider using print books rather than those via technology to decrease eye fatigue. Or listen to an audiobook, the benefits still hold!
- Benefits: you are creating access to a whole host of pleasure, information, imagination, and relaxation by reading. You are also increasing your vocabulary, widening your perspective, and training to become a faster reader by setting regular reading times. Reading has been called the pause that refreshes.
- According to David Suzuki’s 30×30 Challenge, studies show that spending time in nature results in significant health gains.
- Nature is accessible, even spending 2 minutes outside is shown to reduce stress and tension.
- Check out these benefits and the activity suggestions from the David Suzuki Foundation here.
- We are all prone to be active at certain times of the day. Find when yours is and make a commitment. The consistency of everyday structure might work best for you, or 3x/week at 20 minutes/ session is a great start.
- Think about how you most enjoy exercise, and with whom. Some people enjoy building friendships through exercise.
- Join a gym, use videos or online programs, get outside and involve kids in the activity whenever possible.
- Sometimes a quick 10-minute walk between 3-4PM (along with a healthy snack) is just what’s needed to break up the day.
- Double the benefits: You can combine the physical benefits of exercise with mental ones by listening to audiobooks.
- Make time to sleep and make sure you get enough during the dog days of summer.
- Sliding into slumber is a great practice that involves relaxing ritual leading up to a bedtime that you choose. Stopping the use of digital media at least one hour before bedtime is strongly recommended by many researchers and doctors. Utilizing a walk, aromatherapy, a bath, or meditation before bed signals the brain that it is time for rest.
- If you know you are not getting enough sleep start by increasing sleep bit by bit. Slide bedtime earlier about ½ hour at a time.
- You can start by picking three days to focus on getting enough sleep. Perhaps on the weekend.
- Scientists agree that there really is no such thing as catching up on sleep for those who cannot be well-rested. But naps and relaxation during the day are a great way to balance a stressful or demanding time in your life.
- Stress management is best in small, regular doses. Read about strategies that you can try and integrate them throughout the day. Practicing 3 times per day makes the strategies feel natural to turn to in times of stress.
- Energy shots or drinks can be a cause of stress for your body. Instead, try strategies like yoga stretches and mindfulness exercises.
- Are you eating too much or too little? Try counting calories for a few days to see if you fit the recommended daily allowances.
- Check out this article about some of the new understanding on processed foods: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/16/well/eat/why-eating-processed-foods-might-make-you-fat.html
- Access to healthy fruits and veggies are at a peak this season and now is a great time to reframe your eating habits.
- Stress can be impacted by nutrition or lack of. Eating small meals throughout the day mindfully can lead to better nutrition.
- One lifestyle option is vegetarianism. Start with one vegetarian meal per week and build from there to increase your intake of nutritious vegetables.
- Everyone in the household should take a turn at cooking during the week. It can be rewarding and fun, especially when involving kids in the kitchen.
Increasing fun and family time in the summer months can lead to a decrease in overall stress and strain. These tips are just ideas to improve your mood and mind this summer.
What ideas do you have to make your summer a little lighter and brighter?