We all know it’s important to take care of ourselves, but sometimes that can be difficult during the summer months when we also want to enjoy time with those we love. Summer can feel downright busy, with children needing to be taxied around, friends stopping by for a chat and parties, family reunions, and family road trips galore. Not to mention yard work, yard work, and more yard work. So, how do we take care of ourselves during these months of sunshine and abundance?
Self-care is important all year-round
The term self-care is becoming more and more mainstream as people feel the inevitable burnout from the past few years of difficulty. This word, however, does get misused quite often. You see, sometimes we perceive self-care as a shopping trip, a day at the spa, or a night out drinking with friends. Although these are fun, enjoyable, and necessary to leading a balanced life, real self-care means taking care of your body and mind so you can be fully in the moment with your one wild and precious life. So, the question we need to ask ourselves is, “What do I need to feel balanced and healthy both mentally and physically right now?”
If your answer is a day out with friends or shopping for some new clothes so you can feel better in your body, then that is a great way to care for yourself right now. However, if those things just become another way to distract you from your thoughts and feelings, you will eventually feel even more burned out than before. Real self-care happens when you can be with your experience right now, shuffling through difficulties, celebrating successes, and loving yourself for the glorious being you are.
Here comes the sun
OK, so maybe you are ready to take care of yourself and feel some balance in your life. What next? If you need some ideas for summer self-care, then look no further than this list. Although it is not exhaustive (the sky’s the limit!) we guarantee that you can find something on here to make you feel calmer, more balanced, and ready to enjoy all that quality time with your loved ones and friends.
- Start a new book
- Get out for a walk without the dog, kids or other people who need your attention
- Choose an area of your home that you would like to organize and go for it
- Fix yourself a delicious meal and eat it outside or go for a picnic
- Take a personal retreat
- Plan a weekend with your close friends
- Take care of your skin at the spa or at home with special lotions and potions
- Try a yoga class
- Create a beautiful garden
- Meditate in the morning and evening
- Create some mindful art
- Find a new hobby
- Take a nap
- Listen to beautiful music (live is even better!)
- Put your phone (and iPad and computer and smartwatch) away for a whole day
- Try a new exercise like Pilates, paddle boarding, cycling, or HIIT
- Sit quietly alone
- Reconnect with an old friend
Assess your needs
After you try something on our list and before you get back to the grind, take a needs assessment. This is a great journaling exercise that can help you to understand what you have needed but you aren’t getting as well as how to intentionally fulfill that need for yourself in the future. Grab your journal, pen and paper, or even your computer and answer any or all the following prompts:
- How did your last week go? Was there anything that happened that caused you to feel out of balance, troubled or burned out?
- What can you do to make next week better? For example, do you need more sleep, more time alone, more exercise, healthier eating, etc.
- What makes you feel happy?
- What makes you feel calm?
- How can you celebrate yourself this week?
- What goal do you want to accomplish?
By asking yourself the initial question of “What do I need right now?” and then going after it with your self-care regimen, you will bring your life back into balance. Then you can create an even more intentional and sustainable way of caring for yourself when you use these reflection questions to see if anything could change in your overall life so that you can be your strong, powerful, and amazing self more often.