Winter can take a toll on our spirits. The short days and the colder temperatures have a way of draining us that often goes unnoticed, but feels like veil over our mood. As we move into summer, we naturally start to feel more energetic and positive. Summer is a time to take advantage of our natural energy and to heal ourselves through self-care. The beautiful weather and many hours of daylight make prioritizing self-care easier than ever. Go outside and feel the warmth from the sun. Let your mind and body wander. I like to think of it as embracing the new season with open arms. Take this time to nurture you, so that you can be your best in all of your endeavors, professional and personal.
In addition to simply coming out of winter, we are also coming out of an unprecedented pandemic. The world has been different for over a year and many people have felt bogged down by the inconvenient changes and unpleasant circumstances. I know that this preoccupation with safety and health has felt overwhelming at times, and it’s easy to distract ourselves with unhealthy habits in order to check out from reality. With the onset of this new season, I suggest taking some time for intentional self-awareness. Take note of how you’re spending your time. Are you engaging in unhealthy or unproductive activities just to get some relief from the pandemic mindset? How can you spend your time doing things that are important to you and that make you feel good?
In this case, self-care is about focusing only on what we can handle at the moment. Narrow your list of responsibilities and do your best to complete just those things. Whenever you tackle a project, do it with intention and to the best of your ability. You will feel like you have accomplished something, which will automatically put you in a happier mindset. The world may be moving fast, but that does not mean that you cannot slow down for a minute or two.
Taking care of your body and mind is a refreshing experience, especially because we do not always have the time. For many, summer is filled with more downtime, which is the perfect opportunity to engage in self-care activities. Even if your schedule doesn’t lighten with the season, you have more hours of daylight to do the things that recharge your spirits. Make sure to take advantage of this. Use what the season gives you. When nature gives you time, use it to nurture you, so that when there is less time, you’ll have more stamina.
Some great ways to take advantage of the season include things like:
2. Being thankful
3. Reading a book
4. Taking a hike
5. Lounging by the pool
6. Taking a nap in the shade
7. Eating healthy foods
Even if we feel like life cannot be put on pause, a day of rest is nurturing for your mental health. Rearrange your schedule at work so you can take a walk during lunch. On the weekend, organize a trip with your family that involves the outdoors. Prepare a vegetable platter as a snack instead of chips. Nurturing your mental health can also mean turning off your cell phone, visiting friends and making your bed in the morning. Doing something small can go a long way.
Surrounding yourself with positive people can also influence your self-care. These people will want you to succeed and not stress about the things out of your control. Remain well-rested and focus on the relationships that lift you up. Lean on your friends for support. Open your eyes and really see the world. Making the time to care for yourself is the greatest way to nurture your mind, body and soul.
When the summer months roll in, many people take vacations or days off to rejuvenate after being cooped up inside for so long. You may find yourself at the mercy of coworkers or friends handing off their projects to you. This may seem like a great opportunity to ask for a raise or a favor but in actuality, it is putting stress on your wellness. It is appropriate to say “no”, especially if your wellness is being put in jeopardy. If you are overwhelmed or feel obligated to help out, just remember that you are allowed to say “no” and you don’t owe anyone a “yes”. Choosing for yourself can help you focus your energy on things that will strengthen your mental health and give you the ability to take on more things when you are ready.
Picking a healthy lunch and walking for 20 minutes on a break may seem like insignificant changes, but those changes can do wonders for your wellness and mental health. Each change adds a stepping stone to the end result of a healthy mind, body and soul. The only way to get there is to wake up every day and choose yourself – choose to say “no”, eat healthier, go for walks, take naps, read your favorite books, take a hike or lay by the pool. Your body and mind will respond to the treatment it receives, so never feel like taking care of you is selfish or greedy. When you are well, you are able to share all of your gifts. You make the world a better place, and you motivate those around you. Self-care is never a bad decision. Your wellness matters, and now is a great time to start.