Summer is the sweetest time for self-care. If we really listen to ourselves, we know intuitively that summer is the best time to slow down. So let's create the best self-care summer ever for ourselves.
The summer invites us all to do everything at a slower pace. It's ok to relax and be lazy sometimes.
It's a time to get away…it’s vacation time.
And…it’s the summer solstice on June 21st...the longest day of the year. We have more light to be outside, play, and watch the setting sun while it's warm.
When we take this time to take care of ourselves by letting our brains rest, our bodies relax, we create balance and we become more creative. When we slow everything down, then we can see what needs to be changed in our lives.
Last summer I took a personal self-care retreat. It was transformative.
Before leaving, I was exhausted and burned out from too much work. I knew I was out of balance in a big way.
So I decided to get away by myself. I packed my bags, booked an Airbnb, and took myself on retreat. It was the best thing I've ever done for myself. If you missed my story about taking a personal self-care retreat, you can read about it right here.
And if you are thinking about taking a personal self-care retreat, download your free guide to taking a personal retreat.
What do you long for?
How many summers will you have left in your life?
What if when you come to the end of your life, you remember THIS summer as the best one?
What would make this summer the best one?
I have a wee challenge for you that my friend, Helene Van Manen, challenged me to do.
She invited me to make a list of 100 things I'd like to do this summer that would make it the best summer of my life. And then we committed to sharing a few of those things with each other.
When I told her my first 10 things, she's a coach, so naturally, she encouraged me to put these things on my calendar...to make sure they happen.
The first thing on my list has already been checked off.
Last weekend my 8-year-old granddaughter and I picked lavender from my garden and made lavender wands.
That day with her was the best day so far of my summer because not only did we make the lavender wands together but it also led to conversations about what it's like to be 8 years old. We all know that kids having 1:1 time with an adult allows them to be listened to on a deep level.
The part I always seem to forget is that we adults can learn so much from children. She reminded me again of how important it is to take a break and just be in the moment.
Avery and I spent the entire day together, laughing, doing pinky swears, her brushing my hair into a “messy bun,” and choosing the best earrings for me to wear. I will always remember this day and I hope she will, too.
Take a few minutes to do this now. Write it in your journal, on a piece of paper, on your phone or laptop...whatever works for you. If you don’t finish it in one go (most people don’t) you just come back to it. 100 things is a lot!
Just remember that when you make the list of things you’d love to do, you're telling your brain that you're gonna do it. It's the start of making things happen. You tell yourself it's possible when you make that list.
Not sure what to put on your list to make this your best summer ever?
I've got some ideas.
Read that book. Give yourself a break from the list of things that need to be done. Just for today, forget the list and sit outside on your deck or on your porch, or at a park. Take your journal and write about your thoughts.
Notice what you see around you, the smells, the sounds, the colors. Just breathe it in for a minute.
Let go of all the things you “have” to do. Be present with this moment.
Get some exercise and enjoy being outside in nature
Spend time at your favorite swimming pool or the ocean
Play your favorite happy songs and dance like no one is watching
Take a break from social media, phone calls, the news, and emails. It will all be there when you return.
Here are some other ideas for your best self-care summer to make it a healthy and happy one.
Have you been to your local farmer's market lately?
Farming is extremely challenging, especially for small farmers. The farmers around us do back-breaking work to bring us those gorgeous fruits and vegetables you see at the market. Buying local supports farmers
This is the best thing you can do for your body and the environment. It’s atrocious what gets sprayed on vegetables that are toxic.
And yes, organic does cost a bit more. I believe it’s worth it for your health. And BTW, why does an organically grown peach or nectarine cost more to buy than a bag of Cheetos? Ever think about that?
If you're traveling this summer, visiting the farmer’s market wherever you’re there is a great way to get a sense of what is available in that area.
Take some time this summer to slow down while you're eating your meal and allow all your senses to be focused on the food.
One of the first things to think about when you begin to eat is how you’re feeling...before you eat. Notice what emotions may be driving you to eat.
Is it because you’re legitimately hungry or is there something else like boredom or stress that’s leading you to reach for a certain food? Pay attention to when you feel full.
Choose healthy foods. It's tempting to pick a food because you like it, despite the fact that it may not agree with you or it might not give you energy.
Try a different veggie that you’ve never tried before this summer.
It’s more likely you’ll overeat if you’re distracted by the TV or on your cell phone. Try to minimize what’s going on around you so that you can truly give your meal and the people you’re with your undivided attention.
Make sure you have enough time to enjoy your meal so you’re not tempted to wolf it down and run. Eat your food slowly and notice each bite. Savor the flavors and enjoy what you’ve prepared. This is a way to help notice when you're full so that you don't overeat.
Simply put, farm to table or farm to fork refers to food that comes directly from farms and goes straight to the table, bypassing grocery stories.
You can create your own farm-to-table experience.
Think about your favorite meals, look through cookbooks or websites for recipes and ask your friends for their favorite recommendations. And then shop for these at your local farmer's market or roadside stands.
You want the freshest, in-season ingredients.
Take time to enjoy preparing your farm-to-table meals.
Gather the family or your friends to cook with you and decide if you can eat outside.
With practice, farm-to-table eating will likely become a cherished ritual you look forward to.
I invite you to take the challenge of writing 100 things you'd like to see, be, or do this summer.
Put it on your calendar so that you'll make sure it happens.
As your role model, I will also be slowing down this summer. So I will be taking a break from the blog. I'm recognizing that it's time to unplug a little and enjoy my own time away so that I can come back refreshed. Besides, it is the summertime after all.
If by chance you're reading this and you're not on my list, be sure to sign up for my weekly emails which I'll continue. And take advantage of all the free resources available to you here
Life is short. We only have this moment.
What are you waiting for? The days will not wait for you to decide. You are the one who is in charge.
Will you join me in making this your best self-care summer ever?
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.