What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of self-care? For most of us it’s a nice hot bath! And let’s get real here… that’s the last thing you want during these hot summer months! Self-care is so important it shouldn’t be skipped or skimped out on as we busy ourselves with relaxation and trying to wring every drop of fun out of this time! Just because you’re planning family vacations and spending time at the pool doesn’t mean you’re nourishing and caring for yourself. Try out these incredible summer self-care ideas that are sure to help you relax and recharge!
1. Get a Pedicure
Few things feel more indulgent and special than a pedicure! There’s nothing like looking down at freshly painted tootsies on smooth, soft feet, especially during sandal season. Treat yourself to a professional pedicure or give yourself one at home. And when it comes to choosing a color, well, my rule is business on the top party on the bottom! So, while I may go with a more neutral, work-place friendly nail polish I tend to choose something totally wild for my toes! Usually some shade of purple… my personal fave!
2. Ground Yourself
This is not what it sounds like… promise. Though let’s get real, as adults I’m pretty sure “grounding” is like naps! Something we once hated but now wish for. So, if you were hoping this meant stay home for a week and enjoy the quiet, well, you deserve it… go ahead and ground yourself!
What I was really referring to though is connecting yourself to the earth! There’s plenty of research that shows that the simple act of grounding ourselves (walking barefoot in the grass) has tons of mental and physical health benefits! So, strip off those shoes, set your feet free, show of that pedicure and get barefoot in the grass! Just be careful where you step! This summer self-care idea can’t wait!
3. Love Your Body
Summer can be hard on our body image! Everyone seems to be wearing far less clothes than usual. And let’s be honest, it’s easier to hide our perceived “flaws” under a bulky fall sweater!
That makes summer arguably the most important time to give our bodies a little extra love and validation! Practice body love by giving yourself a compliment every time you pass the mirror, practicing affirmations or wearing your favorite sundress. Don’t have one… don’t worry… head to the store and find something amazing, treat yourself!
Oh… and one more thing… consider hiding social media accounts that encourage body loathing! I, for one, hide all the accounts with booty pictures! I’m not sure when the trend of thong swimsuits became a thing, but I just don’t need to see that many perfect, air brushed butts on my feed every day!
Keep in mind that this tip isn’t only for summer self-care! Affirmations and positive self talk need to be practiced all year round!
4. Head to the Farmer’s Market
Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is reconnect to the world around us! Heading to the farmer’s market enables us to reconnect with food, our local economy, and the world as a whole. There are few things better for your physical and mental health and the environment than fresh, in season, local produce!
Enjoy the sights, scents, and sounds at your local market. Get to know the amazing men and women who dedicate their lives to nourishing others! There’s nothing quite like the feel, smell and taste of a fresh peach or berry!
Plus, you’ll get to see some super cool artisan products and crafts you may want to try out!
5. Get Crafty
Speaking of crafts, it’s time to take one up! Summer isn’t all about beautiful sunny days (at least not where I live)! We also get plenty of rain and storms that can wreak havoc on our plans!
When I was a kid, I used to go up north with my bestie and her family every summer. Hanging out by the lake and playing princesses is one of my fondest memories! But without fail, every year at least one day we’d be trapped inside due to inclement weather. This is where my love of crafting was born! Her mom, an expert crafter (if there is such a thing), would always bring a rainy-day activity for us. We built little boxes from popsicle sticks and adorned them with shells, made clothes for our barbies from fabric scraps and all sorts of other fun stuff! I SO looked forward to that rainy-day fun, it became the highlight of the trip for me!
That’s why I think summer is the perfect time to take up a new craft! This is especially true if you’ve always wanted to try your hand at painting or soap making which require excellent ventilation! Maybe try crochet or knitting, jewelry making or even cake decorating! Hobbies improve our life and health spans and decrease stress. Or at least they’re meant to! Learning a new skill can be tough so be patient with yourself and embrace the idea that you’re going to suck when you first start! This is a great opportunity to defeat your perfectionist ways as well… if you have them… oh, only me… OK…
6. Go on a Picnic
I could literally talk all day about the benefits of spending time outdoors! This is especially true for those of you who work in office buildings and must spend most of your day breathing recirculated air under harsh light!
Getting some sunlight and fresh air in the middle of the day could be just what the doctor (and your boss) ordered! So, ditch the breakroom! Take your lunch to work and eat it outside! Spending your lunch hour outdoors will help you be more creative and productive when you head back in. You’ll feel invigorated and energized! Plus, there are bonus benefits if you’re able to get a walk in after you eat!
7. Take a Hike
I tend to joke a lot about hiking! I think it’s funny how complicated people make it out to be. It’s simply a walk with different scenery! Now don’t get me wrong, going for a hike might mean you need to take a few supplies (like water) or change your attire a bit (hiking boots) but it’s essentially just a walk. Don’t get intimidated and skip this one!
Reconnecting with nature is one of the best forms of self-care we can practice. It’s nourishing to your soul and helps you reframe your experiences and circumstances. When you’re out there hiking there is no laundry, there are not honking horns, and time practically stands still! Breath deeply and enjoy these precious moments connecting with the world around you. As in the real world, not the artificial one we’ve created!
8. Plant a Garden
Another one I could talk all day about! Gardening is shockingly beneficial to your health and wellbeing. And it doesn’t even matter what you plant or where you plant it!
Obviously if you have a veggie garden you get the added perk of fresh produce but even a flower garden has tremendous benefits! Many people find gardening to be meditative, enjoy the productivity and revel in the time spent connecting with nature!
If you don’t have the time or space… or perhaps it’s too late in the season to start a garden now, get involved with a community garden! There are many to choose from and the additional benefits of socializing and helping others will pay off tremendously! Afterall, volunteering for a cause you believe in is the most rewarding thing of all. Many community gardens serve to clear urban blithe and provide produce in food deserts to those in need. There aren’t many causes more worthy of your time!
9. Walk with a Friend
As you may have noticed from some of these suggestions self-care doesn’t have to be a solitary activity! Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is dedicate time to connection with others. Especially if those we’re connecting with leave us feeling amazing!
I don’t know about you but for me anytime spent with a friend is a recharge. This is particularly true because I was a stay at home mom to 5 kids for so many years. Just talking to a grown up was and still is one of the best forms of self-care for me! It helps me remember who I am and what I want. And, hey, it’s nice to spend time with someone who doesn’t need you to tie their shoes, isn’t having a tantrum and doesn’t think you’re the most unfair, uncool person in the world!
Heading out for a walk rather than grabbing coffee or a glass of wine just makes the whole thing better! First, getting some exercise always feels great! Second, you won’t feel guilty, sick or jittery later because of overindulgence. And third, and most importantly, when you’re physically doing something, you’re better able to open up. You feel less judged and less judgmental and you’re less likely to censor yourself. This allows you to talk and connect deeply.
A walk with a friend is an amazing way to clear your mind, reconnect, and feel validated which makes it an incredible form of self-care!
10. Grab a Good Book
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction. You know, business, personal development, and medical stuff… my usual! But, in the summer I always make a point of indulging in a good novel, book of poetry or fiction. Something light and dreamy or maybe a good mystery. I’m not sure if this tendency came from my school days where I filled the rest of the year with academic work or what. But summer is “free reading” time for me!
That said, sometimes I find that I get caught up in the busyness of life and hustle and let this indulgence slip. I’m sure I’m not alone! Making a point of enjoying some light reading is important. It may sound crazy, but I find that filling my brain with something fanciful helps me mentally reboot. It’s as if my brain is overheating from everything I’m trying to cram in there and this gives it a much-needed rest!
And of course, whenever you get the chance, head outside with that book! Whether you’re in a lounger by the pool or on a blanket in your own back yard, heading outside to lose yourself in a good story is all the better! Just don’t forget to take a big jug of water and maybe a snack!
11. Make Fancy Water
Speaking of water… one of my favorite things to do in the summer is make fancy water. It just seems too hot to drink anything else, but I tend to get bored with it. So, using some fresh, in season produce and herbs to give it some pizzazz is just the thing! Plus, there’s something about drinking my fancy water that makes me feel special and extra pampered!
Add some berries, cucumber, citrus or mint to your water chill over night and enjoy! I love to make these in mason jars, toss them in my fridge and drink them with fun paper straws (or silicone ones)! I mean, if you’re going to do it, why not go all out! Toss a paper umbrella in as well!
12. Look Up
Summer is the perfect time to toss a blanket out on the lawn and look up! Spending even a half hour a week star gazing or admiring the clouds passing over head is incredibly relaxing. Leave your phone in the house! You don’t need pictures of that cloud that’s shaped like a bunny and you don’t need to look up that cluster of stars. What you need is some down time to just enjoy the present moment. Be in it. Allow yourself to revel in life’s simple pleasures. Observe and enjoy!
13. Blow Bubbles
There’s something so simple and fun about blowing bubbles. Watching the iridescent little globes be carried off by the wind and being amazed by those that land but miraculously don’t pop! When it comes to simple pleasures, it doesn’t get much better than this!
Plus, all that deep breathing is almost meditative. It’s like some soothing combo of outdoor yoga and frivolity that’s sure to bring you joy! And for an added kick to the happiness created by blowing bubbles, do it with a toddler or young child. Their fascination and joy are contagious! What’s better than deep breathing, bubble blowing and the playful giggles of a little one! Basically nothing!
For some reason it’s still so odd to me that if we relax enough, we’ll float on the top of water like a teeny, tiny leaf! No matter how big or small, whether in fresh water or salt… it’s true.
In today’s busy world training yourself to relax enough to simply float is everything! And while obviously I’m talking about literally heading into a lake, pool, or ocean and floating on the top of the water. This skill is something you can take back into your busy life as well. So, if you haven’t yet, teach yourself to float (in water) and practice it as often as you can. Then when you’re faced with a particularly challenging or stressful situation, call on that memory and use the skills you’ve acquired to float through!
15. Go Camping
For some of us this might be a big reach but keep in mind that there are many camping options now! You don’t have to bring your own water and forego showers in order to enjoy camping. There are many camp sites to choose from and glamping is even available now! So, head out of the city and rough it (to the degree that you enjoy!)
Camping provides the perfect opportunity to unplug and enjoy nature. Sleep out under the stars, let the crickets lull you and cook over an open fire! Take this opportunity to spend some time journaling and meditating. Go for long walks in the woods or swim in a lake. Maybe even try your hand at foraging. Remember that everything we need in life has already been provided. Enjoy the evidence of abundance you’re surrounded by and do it distraction free!
16. Enjoy a Summer Fire
No matter what time of year it is, I LOVE a fire! There’s just something so relaxing about watching the flames. And on a damp chilly night the warmth is so comforting.
In the summer I always place a candles in my fireplace and around the house and light them all in the evening. Some are fragrant and others unscented and I love the soothing glow of light they produce. Using candles in the evening rather than electric lights also helps establish and reinforce your body’s circadian rhythm which is so important to restful sleep!
But one of my all-time favorite things is a campfire! I like to take a speaker and I’ve created a special play list on Spotify just for the fire. My family likes to sing along to oldies, and we sit around and catch up. It’s incredible and we could honestly sit there all night. One year we even played dance songs and had a dance party by the fire! Oh… and speaking of… dance parties, any time of year, is one of my favorite self-care activities!
17. Have S’More Fun
While you’re enjoying that campfire why not make a s’more! Roasting marshmallows over a fire is one of my favorite things. I can sit there for the longest time getting it just right… crisp and golden on the outside and gooey on the inside. YUMMM! We all have our favorite way to roast a marshmallow, am I right?
Keep in mind that you can be flexible with your s’mores… they don’t have to be graham crackers, milk chocolate and roasted marshmallow. The girl scouts (inventors of the s’more) won’t mind if you try something different. Consider using Oreo cookies and white chocolate instead, or maybe dark chocolate or peanut butter bark! You can basically use whatever you have on hand.
On a less literal note thought… have s’more fun! Get it? S’more as in some more! Haha… I’m feeling witty now! But seriously, one of the best things you can do for self-care is simply have fun! Do things you find relaxing; things that bring you joy and make you feel good! Because at the end of the day, that’s what self-care really is. It’s not a warm bath, it’s about creating serenity and joy in your life!
Tell me in the comments… what’s your favorite summer self-care activity?