It’s understandable if you’re feeling complicated about summer this year. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is usually a time of relief from long, cold winters. Globally, COVID-19 lockdowns mean that life as we knew it is interrupted and forever changed. Warm weather get-togethers with family and friends, beach trips, and much-needed vacations are not a given this year. No matter what your plans are as lockdowns slowly begin to lift in the United States, you might feel overwhelmed with feelings of restlessness, loss, frustration, and uncertainty.
People who bounce back most effectively from hardship tend to share some key features. Adaptability, resourcefulness, and a willingness to cultivate positivity are essential to the development of resilience. Resilience means confronting life’s challenges and doing what you can to make yourself stronger from them. The ability to do this consistently takes practice — literal, daily practice. It takes energy to effectively manage your mind and emotions. If you’re tapped out, it’s harder to bounce back. Further, cultivating positivity is not equivalent to denial. Resilient people are clear about the facts in front of them, but they look for any potential gift or opportunity amidst the mess.
A daily self-care practice is one of the most powerful things you can do to make yourself stronger. Summer 2020 might not end up like you expected, but you can still enjoy the sun, make time for joy, and feel good in your body. Here are seven ideas for making this year your summer of self-care.
GET AT-HOME WORKOUTS GOING
Getting regular exercise is essential to both your mental and physical health. With the widespread shuttering of gyms and fitness studios, there are more options than ever when it comes to at-home workouts. Whatever your method of choice is, there’s probably an app for that — or at least an online platform. Glo Yoga, Tracy Anderson, Aaptiv, and P.volveare just a few ways you can stream your workouts from home.
TRY OUT A NEW MEDITATION APP
It’s safe to say that meditation is now officially mainstream. No longer an esoteric practice of cloistered spiritual practitioners, science now shows what yogis have known for centuries: the benefits of meditation are powerful. Meditation can heal your brain, ease nervous system stress, help you better manage your emotions, and increase your capacity for compassion. If you want more focus, peace, and even better sleep, commit to a regular practice. Headspace, Calm, and Aura can help get you started.
ENJOY VIRTUAL COOKING CLASSES
Break up the monotony of lockdown by learning something new. Eating well for your health is more important than ever, and now is the perfect time to brush up on your culinary skills. Whether you’re already a wiz in the kitchen, or can barely scramble eggs (or tofu), there’s really no end to what you can learn when it comes to preparing nourishing, homemade dishes. Whether you’re vegan, omnivore, or a devoted raw foodist, there’s an online cooking class for every palate.
SCHEDULE REGULAR ZOOM VISITS
If you’re still in lockdown, especially if you’re in lockdown alone, making time to socialize (safely) with others can help you stay connected. Social support is critical to both mental and physical health, and cultivating nurturing relationships is vital to your well-being. Sharing a laugh, reminiscing, exchanging emotional support, and making post lockdown plans can help keep your spirits lifted. While texting convos are great, there’s nothing like seeing a loved one’s face or hearing their voice. Zoom coffee dates and old school phone calls can help remind you that you’re not alone.
GET INSPIRED WITH AUDIOBOOKS
Self-care is all about addressing your well-being on every level. All the green juice in the world won’t buffer you from habitual negative thinking. Everyone has to work on mindset, so please go easy on yourself. That said, it can help to surround yourself, as much as possible, with people who actively work on improving their thought patterns. Listening to inspiring podcasts and audiobooks is an excellent way to flood your brain with positive messaging. Sometimes there’s nothing more motivating than knowing that others have been where you are now, and found ways to overcome their challenges.
START A WEEKLY BATHING PRACTICE
Bathing at least once a week is a key way to clear your mind, create personal space, and get a deep sweat going. Regular bathing offers many health benefits, and it can also help improve your sleep. Take some time out, leave your phone in the next room, and, as much as possible, don’t rush. Bathing can help soothe your nervous system, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed, a bath can help. It’s also a deceptively simple way to boost your immunity, so don’t underestimate the power of a regular bathing routine.
REDISCOVER THE NATURAL WORLD
Summer 2020 is the perfect time to rediscover the power of the natural world. With so many distractions, such as hectic vacation schedules, on hold, simply taking a walk, feeling the sun on your skin, and deeply breathing in the fresh air can help reconnect you with simple goodness. No matter how much access you have to nature, whether it’s a nearby park, an apartment stoop, or a community garden, remember that you are a part of the natural world. Connecting with nature in whatever ways you can, with an attitude of reverence, can help you stay strong in the face of uncertainty.
Remember that self-care is not self-indulgent. Self-care is a powerful health strategy that has never been more crucial. In these unprecedented times, make time for what matters most. Do all you can to boost your health, find your center of calm, and enjoy these precious summer months.