Self-care isn’t just a bubble bath by candlelight or spa massage. It’s about making a little space in your every day to focus on you, and the health of your body, mind and spirit. For some, playing a round of golf or game of tennis brings them joy. For others, all it takes is a good book and a cup of coffee. As the days of summer grow longer and weather warmer, you can create lots of opportunities for that kind of personal attention—or maybe even find new ways to support your health and well-being. Here are seven ideas to help make this summer a season of self-care.
1. Walk more.
That warm summer breeze through your open window beckons you outdoors—so lace up your sneakers and heed the call. Exercise doesn’t have to be intense or regimented to an hour-long class. Simply choose to move more often—and it doesn’t get an easier than going for a walk.
Take a “just-because” stroll around the neighborhood or a hike in a nearby park to clear your head and feel that sun on your face. A body of research has shown walking regularly can help ease stress and improve your mood. When the temperature rises, follow these five warm weather walking tips to keep you on track and safe. Here are 10 more reasons to start walking today.
2. Make a songs of summer playlist.
You know exactly what you are going to read when you’re on the beach. But what are you going to listen to on your way to the shore, or while cleaning your house, or waiting to pick up your kids from camp, or anytime you want to feel good?
Music can be an easy way to lift your spirits, reduce stress and motive you to move. A recent review of 26 studies suggests listening to music, and even singing, can improve mental health and overall well-being. In fact, it can have just as much of a positive impact on mind as exercise or weight loss.
Need a little playlist inspiration? Here are 10 of our most favorite, make-you-smile songs:
3. Practice Om outdoors.
If the idea of a yoga class with a large of group of people does the opposite of relax you, no worries. There are lots of ways to meditate, from simple breathing to body scanning. They all offer different benefits and can be done alone (and for free) at home.
Here are some everyday ways to practice meditation. Choose your favorite, then try it outside. Meditating in nature can help activate your senses and make you more mindful.
4. Explore a local farmer’s market.
Bright red and blue berries, fresh-picked peaches and peppers, plump tomatoes, summer squash and tons of greens. Spend a fun Sunday afternoon wandering the aisles of a local market. Not only are these seasonal fruits and veggies gorgeous to look at, but they’re also super healthy and tasty. Let the colors and scents inspire your picks, and maybe even toss a new food or two into your basket.
Need some prep ideas for your bounty? Check out these easy summer salad recipes! >
5. Do a DIY facial.
A little self-pampering is good for your soul but there’s no need to head to a spa. Just slip on your favorite robe or jammies, play some soft music or diffuse essential oils to set the mood. Use a hydrating sheet face mask from your favorite beauty supply store, or search for recipes online and make your own. Then just lay back and let it infuse moisture into your skin, while you relax on your couch.
Check out these easy summer skin care tips to keep your skin glowing, even in the hottest weather:
6. Reconnect with friends.
As important part of self-care is spending time with people who make you feel good. Strong friendships can give you a sense of purpose, boost happiness and reduce stress, so make time to build them.
Enjoy a picnic lunch with a friend at the park or on your patio. Plan a beach day together or search for treasures at neighborhood yard sales. Friends can also encourage you to change unhealthy habits—and even help you lose weight. Here’s how! >
7. Go tech-free.
Not all day, every day—but even for just a couple of hours a week or, say, every morning during breakfast, sign off social media, stop scrolling through pics and posts, and disconnect from all things tech. Maybe you read a book or newspaper with your coffee, or sit outside and chat with a neighbor. No matter how you choose to spend your screen-free time, the point is to put down your phone, turn off the TV and simply unplug so that you can recharge and focus on you.
For ideas to fill your tech-free time, here are six awesome summer activities (that just so happen to burn serious calories).