Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a chore or boring. Taking care of yourself and building resiliency to weather tough times can be relaxing, delicious, enjoyable to the senses, and fun. For me, there’s no better time to relax, explore, and have fun than summertime. The sun is out, people plan vacations, reap the bounty of the land in flowers, fruits, and vegetables, and enjoy the peace and majesty of the great outdoors. Let’s talk about what you can do this summer to boost your well-being and build resiliency muscle.
The keys to building resilience involve being able to manage emotions so that you can respond reasonably rather than react emotionally, connect to others and access resources, think flexibly, and be open to learn, adapt, and grow from experiences….good and bad. We tend to learn best in small, consistent increments, so consistent habits can seal in new learning. Another important aspect of well-being and resilience is focusing attention on positive experiences. It can take some effort to train your awareness to notice, take in, appreciate and enjoy the positive; and it’s well worth the effort. It doesn’t have to be big, grand positive experiences; it can be simple, brief, daily positive experiences such as truly savoring bites of your meal, a bird singing, a flower, the clouds, the breeze, the smell of rain, the sound of laughter, your favorite music, a smile, acts of kindness. It can be a fun (and good for you) exercise to go through your day looking for all the little things that are pleasing. Get your eyes off your phone and your mind out of its typical loop and look around, be aware of your senses. Don’t find anything positive, go looking for it or create it!
So, go ahead and delight in your senses and enjoy some summer fun. What might you prioritize doing this summer that will promote your well-being, brain health and resilience?
Here’s a quick list of ideas and some of my favorites for summer fun….
- Get out in nature…..hike, walk, camp, backpack
- Fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables from the farmer’s market
- Relax on a hammock, blanket, lounge chair
- Cook over a fire
- Build something with your hands…. a campfire, sandcastle, sidewalk chalk drawing
- Listen to music….live music in the park, make music, sing
- Visit friends or family
- Read a good book….or a cheesy book
- Explore something or somewhere new
- Play….in the water, in the sand, in your yard, at the park
- Exercise….bike, walk, run, kayak, paddle board, swim, climb, jump, dance, hike, surf
- Drink lots of water
Any and all of these experiences in some way can help you positively engage with yourself and the world around you. The activity may encourage new learning, engaging your senses, moving your body, figuring out a problem, planning, connecting with others. Hopefully it’s enjoyable, encourages you to focus on the positive experience, be kind to yourself and others, and be grateful for the beauty, bounty, and fun of summer.
Whatever you do, enjoy the moments, soak it in, do it safely (protect your skin, be safe in the water, etc.), and have fun!