Summer is truly good for the soul. It’s a season of light, long days, and warm nights. It’s a good season to start healthy and attainable habits that you can commit to throughout the rest of the year. Here are 10 activities that are good for the soul. Try one and see how you feel.
- Connect with Family and Nature by Disconnect from the Media, your Handheld Device and Other Distractions: The easiest way to disconnect from your hectic lifestyle is to plan some time in nature. Whether you take a hike, stare at the stars or plan a full-blown camping trip. Getting out of your everyday routine allows you to unwind and see clearly.
- Get Active: The body was made to move. Get outside. Walk, run, bike, hike, do a HIIT class (high intensity interval training), practice yoga, nurture a garden… The ways to get active are endless.
- Roll Out Tension with a Tennis Ball: One of the best ways to loosen your muscle and fascia is by using a tennis ball. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t cost a thing! The idea is to apply pressure to any areas of tension by using your own body weight against the ball. Google “Myofascial Trigger Points + Tennis Ball” for more information on this technique.
- Eat Food as your Medicine: What we eat affects how we feel. Choose foods that are proven to reduce inflammation, heal symptoms and improve overall health. Eating in-season foods is always best for the body, mind and overall planet. In-season produce taste the best because it is at its freshest. Consider eating an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables during the summer and switch to warming foods come fall to balance out internal temperatures.
- Drink Plenty of Water: It’s important to drink plenty of water on a regular basis. The appropriate amounts of water help to flush out toxins that we are exposed to from our internal and external environments. In the warmer months of the year, our body tends to need more water so why not make it interesting. Experiment with adding flavour to your water. Try slicing lemons and adding a sprig of mint, or cucumbers with raspberries. There are so many combinations to experiment with. Hit up a farmer’s market and use some delicious locally grown produce!
- Pay it Forward: Pick up that garbage you see along the pathway, feed the less fortunate or buy that fellow behind you his morning coffee. Paying it forward feeds the soul and makes everyone feel warm inside. In addition to this, it is contagious. That act of kindness goes a long way.
- Take Inventory of Your Life: As fall gets closer, life tends to pick up and become somewhat busier. Summer is the perfect time to look at your lifestyle, surroundings, and the material things that fill these spaces. Try taking an inventory of what brings you happiness and what doesn’t. What are the areas of your life that bring you love and peace (work, family, friends, culture, etc)? Which people in your life feed your energy and which tend to take it. What areas or rooms in your home are relaxing and which are less inviting? Note the areas, people and things in your life that bring happiness, joy and excitement along with those that cause stress, fear, sadness or anxiety. When we write things down, we draw more awareness towards them and can therefore make informed decision on where, when and who to spend your valuable times with.
- Develop your Urge to Purge: The best way to stay organized is to purge regularly. Clutter can build up in our homes and unintentionally build up in our minds making us feel overwhelmed and stressed. Go through piles of paper regularly and recycle what you don’t need. Go through clothing and other items just as often. If you don’t need it, use it, or have outgrown it, then donate it!
- Make Just One Change: As the season’s change, our mental, emotional and physical landscapes change as well. When we try to remain the same, keeping the same habits and routines, we go against the grain of nature. Spring is a season of growth. This is where we plant the seeds containing a dreams and aspirations. When summer comes, we start to see those aspirations grow. We certainly cannot make multiple changes at once. However, if we focus on one simple change for a given period, we can start to see little transformations take place. These transformations give us momentum. They feed our energy. The keyword here is FOCUS. As we focus on one small change at a time, we become more present and more productive. Focus brings us into the present moment, where the mind is not occupied by reacting to past events or concerned with future possibilities. Focus is what keeps the mind present.
- Have a Relationship with the Idea of Death: Yes is sounds gloomy but it shouldn’t be. We fear death because of the unknown. However, death is our greatest teacher. Death reminds us of the scarcity of life. It reminds us that life is a precious gift. It asks us, “what are we doing with our lives.” Appreciate the moments that you are given because each moment brings you closer to your ultimate teacher. Live life with meaning – whatever it is you do.
By Erica Matechuk, RYT 200