Summer is officially upon us. For most of us, summer triggers feelings of joy, relaxation, and excitement at the same time. Maybe we have more free time on our hands, or we look forward to the warming weather and longer days. We feel alive and full of vitality. We enjoy our summers so much, that when fall arrives, and the first hint of a cool breeze hits the air, some of us begin dreading the retreat of summer and the slow, gradual shift to winter. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe you’ve never stopped to think how the summer naturally induces habits that increase health & vitality; your best self. This winter, you can continue to practice those healthy summertime habits and keep that radiance all year round. Healthy habits that will serve you doses of happiness just as the winter blues strike again. So be aware this summer; it’s just a matter of recognizing these habits and programming them to last year round.
Here are five things you’ll naturally do in the summer, and how to make habits out of them that carry into the rest of the year.
1. Drink more water
It’s hot; you’re sweating more, you’re losing fluids that need to be replaced. Naturally, you drink more water. Even if you’re not a serial water drinker during other times of the year, you know to keep your water on the steady during summer.
How to make it a habit: Find yourself a fun, colorful, or just plain & functional water bottle that you love. We’re more likely to reach for something that looks pleasing to us, and the purpose here is to encourage drinking more water! Fill up that bottle with water every night and place it by your bed. Every morning, right when you wake up and before anything else, drink from it. Finish it with breakfast later, and refill it immediately, to repeat throughout the day.
2. Eat more fruits/veggies
When it’s hot, we’re naturally more inclined to eat cooling foods such as raw fruits and crispy salads. Our core temperature is up, and we crave something that doesn’t take much energy to digest, cools us down, and keeps us feeling light.
How to make it a habit: The next time you go grocery shopping, pick up fresh celery, carrots and bell peppers. As soon as you get back home, immediately wash and cut them into convenient little slices. Store them in the fridge to eat throughout the week. Think of how many times during the day that you want a snack, and go for some chips or pretzels. Now you’ll have a healthy vegetable alternative instead!
3. Exercise regularly outdoors
Do you feel more inclined to go on a run, walk, or bike ride when it’s nice out? Have you noticed how most summertime activities include something active (swimming, hiking, etc.)? For most of us, summertime equals quality time spent being active outdoors or in nature. We’re fine relinquishing the joy of walking on a dirt path amongst trees for a treadmill in the winter. The moment it gets cold out, most people hit the treadmill or gym, forgoing the joy of being outside. Barring those living in freezing temperatures, or dangerous winter ice conditions, bringing your workout outside as the temps cool down is an easy way to connect to nature while working out.
How to make it a habit: Remember that water bottle you’ll be drinking from in the morning? Place a pair of sneakers beside it and take a short morning walk every morning. Go for a brisk walk before you check your email, and before you start your day. You’ll begin to feel better from hydrating and moving your body every morning; you won’t want to stop this habit. Even when it’s cold, your body will crave the routine of movement, as well as getting a dose of natural sunshine outside.
4. Be more social
Backyard barbecues, picnics at the beach, and road trips; these are summertime activities best done in the company of friends. It’s true that when days are longer and warmer, we’re more keen to spend time with others. Being social always lifts the spirits and fulfills a considerable part of what makes us human.
How to make it a habit: Join a group class of any sort. Join a yoga class, a pottery class, do whatever class piques your interest and is in the company of others. Buy a membership package to encourage yourself to continue going. You can invite a friend to join you or meet some new ones in class!
5. Unplug more often
Living in a distraction-filled world, it feels so good to unplug from all devices (phone, social media, email, etc.). There’s no better way to internalize, and take time for yourself than with the help of Mother Nature. During the summer, you’re already enjoying the outdoors, so why end this enjoyment as the frost approaches? Learn to notice all the sounds in your environment: the sound of birds, the distance of the birds from you, the sound of crickets, maybe cars. Just learning to notice things you wouldn’t normally sets the stage for a better mind framework in our lives and wellbeing.
How to make it a habit: Banish your phone, smartwatch, or any electronic device from your morning walks. It may feel awkward at first out of practice of constant connection, but you have the rest of the day for that. Indulge in distraction-free time with nature for at least 15 minutes per day.
There you have it.
You can flourish any time of the year with some physical exercise, mental and social stimulation, water, nutritious food, and some sunlight. With this list and a light therapy lamp to supplement the sun, you’ll be on your way to wintertime bliss in no time.
So get out there and soak up the summer; it’s good for you!