Summer is here and so are a million and one fun ways to care for your body, mind, and spirit. With kids home from school, travel, get-togethers, and the like, summer days fill up fast, so if you want to get the most out of your summer, it’s good to have a little bit of a plan.
The trick is not to make planning feel like work. (It’s summer, after all!) Use a sticky note on the fridge, the margins of your family calendar, or a “notes” page in your planner to jot down fun things you’d like to do this summer. Then, when you find yourself with a free afternoon, weeknight, or long weekend you can quickly scan your ready-made list and find the perfect activity to fill the time.
When making your list, try not to limit yourself. Your list can include small things like reading by the pool and bigger things like camping for the weekend. Try to add ideas that benefit you holistically: that’s body, mind, and spirit. That way you’ll have the fun of the activity and the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting your wellness too!
To get you started, we’ve listed some of our summer faves and looked at some of the holistic benefits of each. Ok, enough talking. Let’s get to the summer fun!
That can mean hiking the trails, tubing the river, working in your garden, or just lapping the office on your lunch break. There are holistic benefits to absolutely any outdoor activity: even standing in the grass for a few moments with your shoes off. We love walking, swimming, hiking, biking, frisbee golf, pickup games of anything, picking up trash as you walk around the neighborhood, walking to errands instead of driving, and even sitting on the porch to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of summer. Here’s why:
Play is great exercise
- If it’s not something you are used to, take a moment to limber up before jumping in. Massage therapy helps with range of motion and flexibility too! Try playing after your next appointment and see if you notice the difference.
- Sunlight gives your body vitamin D.
- Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight. (Yes, you still need sunscreen and/or a hat!) It benefits your body by helping to regulate insulin levels, supporting the immune system, brain function, nervous system, and even heart and lung function! There is even talk that it can help reduce our risks of heart disease, cancer, and depression. If that doesn’t give you a sunny outlook, what will?
Get a new point of view
- Whether you’re exploring the great woods or the great neighborhood you’ve been living in for 20 years, you’ll always have opportunities to reframe and see things in a different way. This can be a great help when looking for creative solutions to a problem or finding inspiration for a new undertaking.
Improve your mood and concentration
- Studies show that something as simple as taking a stroll in a park or walking along a tree-lined street can improve both your mood and your ability to concentrate. It’s not limited to walking. The same goes for eating, playing, meditating, or doing yoga outdoors.
- Earthing, the act of getting “grounded” while standing or sitting with your feet on the grass or the earth, is believed to help connect people to Earth’s natural healing energy. Some people report stress-reduction among other emotional and spiritual benefits. Others report improved sleep and reductions in inflammation and pain. Forest Bathing, being surrounded by and attentive to the sights, sounds, textures, and atmospheres of forests, is understood to have similar benefits. Try them for yourself and see if they work for you!
Get back to nature
- For generations, people from almost every walk of life have respected the benefits that nature has on a person’s heart, soul, and spiritual well-being. If simply being in nature doesn’t do it for you, try adding an audiobook about the secret lives of trees or your favorite wild animals. This little nudge can work wonders!
Get Away for the Weekend
Whether you go by plane, train or automobile, getting away for the weekend (or longer, if you can manage it!) is a great way to make the most of carefree summer days. Whether you have a favorite place that you visit often or adventure to see new sights, you’ll still have amazing opportunities to clear your mind, strengthen connections, try new things and take joy in the simple things. Benefits for your mind, body, and spirit will be everywhere you turn. All you have to do is seize the day!
Sleep in. It can help control your appetite
- Science teaches us that when you don’t get enough sleep, it can disrupt hormones that control your appetite making it easier to make less-than-healthy food and portion choices. We love this benefit, but it’s just one of many. Give yourself a healthy amount of sleep while away (not too much) and your body will thank you. We promise! Read more at Web MD.
Try a new form of activity
- Getaways give us chances to try new things. Find out what physical activities are popular in the place you’re visiting and give them a try! It’s a fun way to stay active and there’s always a chance you’ll discover a new favorite while you’re at it!
- Going screen-free can increase your awareness of the present moment, improve your sleep, deepen your connections to people around you and boost your productivity and learning. Why not unplug for the weekend and see if this holds for you? There’s always a chance it will mean less screen time when you get home and that’s always a healthy thing!
- Tip: Massage therapy helps shut out the world for a while, which can enhance the benefits of being unplugged. Book a massage session while you’re away--we have locations nationwide!
- Getting away, even for a few days, can help you have a fresh perspective on things waiting for you at home. You may return with a little extra compassion for a friend, inspiration for a new project, or a renewed commitment to your self-care. The best part: you don’t have to do anything but take a break. The benefits come naturally.
- Make room for spirituality on your getaway. Try visiting a sacred sight or faith community that’s new to you. You can also commit to regular prayer or meditation just for the time you're away. It’s a great way to open your heart, feed your spirit and take healthy new practices for a test drive.
Spend Time In or Near Water
You know that water is a great place to cool down when the temperatures rise, but did you know it’s a great place to give your body a workout, refresh tired muscles, learn new things and restore your spirit too? We’re betting you did know all that. And even though you know water restores your body and soul, we’re highlighting a few of water’s best benefits, to help make sure you enjoy them all!
Workout in the water
- Swimming, water jogging, water aerobics, and treading water can be great low-impact (and even no-impact) ways to exercise. Not sure where to start? Talk to your fitness coach, look for online tutorials or just get in the water and play! If you’re carrying more weight than you’d like or have a limited range of motion, you may be amazed by what the water empowers you to do!
Canoes, Paddle-Boards, Paddle-Boats, and more!
- Whether you boat for fun or fitness, there are benefits to be had. If you live near a body of water, boating could become your new favorite workout. If you’re just there for the day, it’s a great way to slip some activity in. Before going out, talk to a pro to make sure you have the equipment, knowledge, and support you need to boat safely.
Read a book by the pool
- Research shows that reading can improve your brain connectivity and help prevent cognitive decline as you age. It’s good for your stress level and sleep patterns too! Bring a book and you’ll be bringing benefits along too! Read more benefits at Healthline.
Explore an ecosystem
- All-natural bodies of water, and most person-made bodies of water, have ecosystems all their own. Make it a point to learn more about the plants and animals that enjoy your favorite bodies of water. It keeps your mind engaged, your senses sharp, and may inspire you to help care for the ecosystem you enjoy. That’s great for everybody!
- Floating, in a quiet pool or special chamber, can refresh tired muscles, soothe stressed minds and create a space for spiritual awakening and exploration. Whether you make this a concentrated practice, or just give yourself a few minutes to float in the pool, we think you’ll notice benefits. It’s a great way to remind yourself that you are supported not just by the people who love you, but by the laws of nature too!
Enjoy the benefits of a “blue space”
- Blue spaces, places with visible natural water, offer benefits similar to forests, green spaces, and parks. Studies show that something as simple as a 20-minute walk in a blue space can have positive emotional, psychological, and spiritual benefits. Read more about blue space benefits.
Well, there you have it! Some of our favorite summer activities and the ways they can benefit us. We hope you make a list of your favorites, find times to enjoy them, and treat yourself to the best of the season. We also hope you make room in your summer for regular massage therapy as it can help give you the flexibility, range of motion, and body confidence you need to enjoy summer to the fullest!