Summer is knocking and soon we’ll be opening our doors to this precious time of year. The warm days seem endless when they first begin, but if we don’t guard them, they will slip right through our fingers.
With longer, lazier days often comes a laxity in our schedules and lifestyles. Without school-time’s rigid schedule, we look forward to sleeping in a little later, staying in our pajamas a little longer, and having more freedom with our time. But more flexibility means that health and wellness often fall by the wayside.
I am here to tell you that this summer you can maintain—and even gain—optimal health and wellness!
Here are six simple ways to incorporate total-body, whole-person wellness into the summer days ahead.
- Ditch the schedule. Build a routine instead. Summertime certainly invites us to clear our schedules to make way for the spontaneous. Creating routines instead of sticking to strict schedules helps maintain lifestyle choices throughout the summer months and even into the school year. For instance, you might make it your goal to include 30 minutes of exercise a day, but instead of scheduling it daily, look for ways to fit it into your day. That could look like going for a bike ride one morning, while taking an afternoon hike the next. Be firm in your goals but flexible in your methods.
- Make a family bucket list. Brainstorm together: What are some fun things you’d like to do as a family? Adventures you’ve been waiting to do? Places you’d like to eat? I see summer as the time for the not-so-ordinary, like going to a drive-in movie theatre or mini-golfing late at night. Work in a few physical activities, too, like hiking or running a 5K together for a local cause. This not only cultivates a healthy family dynamic but a healthy home environment as well. Not to mention how good it is for the mind and soul to detach from the hundred things commanding our attention and simply be present with the ones that matter most.
- Spend time in the great outdoors. Spending time in nature rejuvenates us. Not only does it slow us down, it provides a tangible way to experience the majesty of our Creator. Go for an early-morning jog, or walk the dog as a family after dinner. Your mental and heart space will expand and you’ll be able to breathe more freely, love more profoundly, and discern more wisely how to spend your time.
- Prepare refreshing meals. Corn on the cob. Grilled shrimp skewers. Strawberries. Iced tea. Gazpacho. Summer is full of fresh, crisp, vibrant foods that are not only delicious, but are also incredible power foods. Cooking doesn’t have to be boring and laborious. Ask your kiddos to help or invite some girlfriends over for an evening of cooking and chatting. Experiment with new and colorful summer produce and cook up a healthy feast for your family and friends. Food is a powerful vehicle. It not only nourishes our bodies but also aids in nourishing our relationships and thereby our souls.
- Connect with loved ones. Research shows that our relationships have an enormous impact on our well-being. Good friends are truly good for our health. The many benefits of healthy relationships include increasing happiness, decreasing stress, improving self-confidence, and increasing our sense of purpose and belonging. They likewise help us cope with traumas, illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one. So spend quality time with your people this summer! It could mean the difference between a surviving you and a thriving you.
- Reflect with God. Our faith walk is a constantly sanctifying relationship with the Lord. It’s vital to our overall well-being that we spend time with Him, reflecting on our circumstances and seeking His heart and wisdom in our lives. When we make our time with God a priority, we fill up in ways we can’t even comprehend. This overflows into not only our bodies but our relationships, impacting how we live our days and love those around us.
Summertime health and wellness is more than just eating kale and hitting up that cycle class at the gym. It’s less about rules and restrictions and more about our mentality, approaching our bodies as a gift and seeking to steward them well for the glory of our Creator.
~ ~ ~
Meghan Meredith is an Air Force wife, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Health and Wellness Coach, an a creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of the lifestyle brand for women, HomeBodySoul, and the creative author of Whole Body Fitness: A Self Guided Fitness Planner. Meghan enjoys sipping on green tea, slow mornings, and sunflowers. She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA but will be making a cross-country move to Atlanta this summer for her husband’s new military assignment. She is excited to call the South home again, where the pace of life is slower and the tea is sweeter! Meghan’s heart is for inspiring and teaching women how to best steward their homes, bodies, and souls for the glory of God. Connect with Meghan on Facebook.