As part of nature, our needs change with the seasons. Even in places where the seasons are not as obvious, our bodies still instinctively crave different things. This is the natural ebb and flow of life, and when we lean into it, we can get so much more out of the season of life we are in.
With summer right around the corner, many people experience changes in their schedules and routines. It is also a high energy season with longer days which means more outdoor activities, exercising, and socializing. I chose three things to focus on this summer that I believe are the best ways to support ourselves mentally and physically: Get out and get moving, hydration, and sleep and rest.
Summer is a great time to switch it up and take your exercise routine outside. Vitamin D from the sun not only helps your bones stay strong, but it also helps reduce depression, boosts weight loss, and is key in immune function. All you need is 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen to absorb maximum vitamin D. Then throw on some sunscreen and get moving to help naturally detox the body through sweat. Plus, exercising outdoors is even more beneficial to your mood and reducing stress because of the endorphins from working out, the vitamin D from the sun, and connecting with nature. It’s the perfect mind, body, and spirit activity.
Hydration goes hand in hand with movement and being outdoors. Staying hydrated is always important but especially as the temperatures rise and more time is spent in the sun. Keeping a water bottle with you wherever you go is an easy way to make sure you never go too long without a drink. Additionally, summer has so many fruits and vegetables available which make it easy to get extra hydration in. Foods like watermelon, berries, celery, and cucumbers all have high water content to help keep you hydrated as well as healthy. If you struggle to drink water regularly, try adding cucumber or watermelon with fresh mint to your water for flavor and a boost of hydration.
This can be a challenge with days being longer and changes in external routines as well as our internal circadian rhythms. Our bodies release serotonin when it’s dark out, so it may feel harder to get those 8 hours during the summer months. That is where sleep hygiene can be helpful. Just like a morning routine to help start your day, a nighttime routine can include a couple things that you enjoy to help prepare you for sleep by helping you fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer.
These can include turning off phones and screens an hour before bed, gentle yoga or stretching, washing your face and/or skincare routine, reading a book, or journaling. The better you sleep, the more you can enjoy your summer days to the fullest. Even if you don’t sleep well every night, you can still take a few minutes out of your day to meditate or stop and take a few breaths. Twenty minutes of meditation equals an extra hour or two of sleep!
I hope you take something from this and use it to make the most of this season and remember that seasons, just like everything else, are temporary. Stay present and enjoy all the little, big, good and bad moments because the cycle of life continues on.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby