The month of June has been spectacular this year: perhaps, more so than any other months I have been through in Ireland in the last 15 years. It was exceptionally warm (and even hot), with dramatic thunderstorms, lightning and all. On sunny mornings it felt criminal to stay inside, so our toddler, dog and I have gone on many countryside walks as early as 8 o’clock (and even 7am on one occasion!). In the evenings, it was equally criminal not to open all the windows wide and let the wind in, as the sky flashed with lightning and the rain pounded the ground. These moments, when you can sit down and enjoy the weather, whether it’s sunshine or a storm, is self-care of its own. But I have more ideas of summertime self-care that you can practice anytime and anywhere. They may cost a small effort to build into your routine, but it’s nothing short of possible – and pleasurable.
Self-Care Tips for Blissful Summer
Soak up the sun
There are very few things in life that can compare to a warm sunshine on your face. So don’t shy away! Put on some quality SPF if you’re scared for your skin (especially if you are very fair) and take it outside for a few minutes. The truth is, a little bit of exposure to the sun is fine. Sunlight is the only truly efficient way our bodies are programmed to get the vitamin D. It is also required for the regulation of the circadian rhythms (our sleep-wake cycles). It boosts the immune system and elevates the mood. If you don’t suffer from photosensitivity and do not have a higher risk of skin cancers, a moderate sun exposure of up to 15 minutes in the morning time (before 10 am) is not only safe, but also healthy!
Make a splash
On your day off or in the evening after work, if you are close to the seaside, take a stroll on a beach and maybe take a little dip (check beforehand that the chosen location is safe for swimming). If you don’t live close to the sea, find a river or a lake, or get a paddling pool. A little splash can feel extremely refreshing in the summer, especially during the hot weather spell. Not only does the water has a cooling and soothing effect, it also hydrates your skin – something that is of utmost importance in the summer months.
Hydration works best when done from inside out. Drinking water may seem too simplistic, but it is a basic form of self-care and offers a ton of health benefits, from better skin, hair and nails to better brain function, sleep and energy levels. I am not sure what else can be said here… Drink up your water, guys!
Read summer books
Depending on your preferred genre, there are a lot of books that can be read in summer: the books that carry that perfect summer vibe – from the classic ‘Bonjour Tristesse’ by François Sagan, F. S. Fitzgerald’s ‘Tender is the Night’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles and ‘To The Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf to the more recent ‘The Summer Book’ by Tove Jansson, ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ and ‘Malibu Rising’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid, or ‘The Island’ by Elin Hilderbrand. Disclaimer: I haven’t read all of these books myself, but these are definitely on my ‘To Read’ list. Please bear in mind that we all have different preferences and opinions, so do not take this list literally and make your own research.
Tune into your senses
I don’t know about you, but I am a highly sensitive person. To me, the summer air smells different to spring or autumn, and the summer wind sounds different in the fields to that in winter. But even if you don’t normally notice the difference, there is no harm in trying to do so. In fact, paying close attention to the smells of the wild flowers and sounds of birds and rustling leaves, the feel of the breeze and the sunshine on your skin is a great way to expand your awareness and experience all the colours the summer (and any season, really) has to offer. So try going to the park or a forest, or even to the waterside and really tune into your senses, allowing yourself to immerse in the nature. This is the best mindfulness practice you can do in summer.
Pack juicy snacks
Nourishing your body is another form of self-care and shouldn’t be underestimated. Luckily, summertime has so much to offer in terms of fresh, nutritious foods! We should always aim to include at least 7 servings of vegetables and fruits into our daily diet, and the best way to do this in summer is to make smoothies, add fresh fruit at breakfast and have fresh salads. When you are on the go, whether for work or leisure, pack some fruit and veg as healthy snacks and take with you. Also check out my favourite summer recipe – Spanish Gazpacho.
Exercise in the fresh air
Take your regular yoga or pilates practice outside – whether it’s your garden or a park. Go for brisk walks or slower long walks, hike, jog or sprint. If the weather is not great, or you don’t have a garden, just open the windows wide and let that air boost your mood and energy levels as you exercise. In fact, just open your windows wide and let the fresh air in anyway, whatever you do. It will feel so refreshing!
Early morning sketching or painting at sunset, journalling or a writing course, summer cooking classes or a wine tasting session are a great way to catch a wave of inspiration and get creative. Find something that works for you, or find something new altogether. Maybe find an outdoor dance or tai chi class? I’ve tried a chanting meditation just a couple days ago, and boy, was that inspiring! You never know around which corner you may encounter your muse, so change it up and try new things – your life will only become richer.
I hope this little list inspires you to make self-care a priority over the summer and find your bliss.