Don’t let your self-care dip this season.
Summer’s in full swing, but that shouldn’t be license to throw caution to the wind and give up on all of your healthy habits. Most of us go into this time of year looking forward to relaxing and recharging during those easygoing summer days. But, you might be feeling disappointed that the summer seems to be flying by and you haven’t taken nearly as much healthful time for you as you’d hoped.
Luckily, there’s still time to turn that around!
Here are some of my personal favorite ways that I’ve been unwinding and relaxing this summer. Won’t you join me?
Sweating with the sunrise. It may feel hard to find the motivation to get out of bed a bit early, but there’s no better way to set the tone for an energized, healthy day than to begin with exercise. Whether you like to hit the gym or take a nice morning walk (that’s one of my favorites), take advantage of the nice weather before it heats up for the day. If you’re simply not a morning glory, sweating with the sunset is a perfectly suitable substitute. During my walks, I like to alternate between three minutes of slower walking and then three minutes of speed walking for the duration of my jaunt.
Journaling. Writing down your day is a wonderful way to see what changes you’d like to make and what you’d like to do more of. I suggest jotting down your meals and supplements, what exercise you completed, any special activities, and how you feel about your health and wellness. Note how this changes from day to day to see what’s working and what isn’t. And don’t put stress on yourself to write a certain amount. Some days you may be inspired to write paragraph after paragraph, while other days you only use a few words.
Oil pulling. Dentists who practice holistic and biological dentistry believe that each tooth is connected to an organ. Since your mouth is the repository of a tremendous amount of bacteria that can impact different areas of your body, it’s no surprise that researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, emphysema, hepatitis C, obesity, and stroke can be linked to gum and dental problems.
A time-honored Ayurvedic technique, oil pulling works wonders for deep pockets in the gums that harbor bacteria and inflammation-causing plaque. It “pulls out” this bacteria, fights off gingivitis better than mouthwash, and even whitens teeth with none of the painful side effects that go along with whitening treatments.
I find time each day to oil pull. Simply put about 2 teaspoons of oil (such as sesame oil or coconut oil) in your mouth and work the oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes, sloshing it from side to side, sucking and pulling it through your teeth. You can spit it out intermittently but make sure you put more oil back in your mouth to continue the process. Once you’ve completed the time, spit it all out (either in the sink or in a jar, if you have a septic tank) and rinse with a large glass of water to remove any oil residues.
Healing toxic emotions. The mind-body connection is so strong, and emotions can tend to run high in the summer. The Bach Flower Remedies came about through the pioneering work of Dr. Edward Bach, a Welsh homeopath, in the 1920s. After years of research, he was able to assign specific healing qualities to a total of 38 plant-based substances—collectively known as the Bach Flower Remedies. These are some tried and true selections to keep a smile on your face in the sunshine.
Aspen to help with apprehension and anxiety—the feeling that something awful is going to happen for no explainable reason.
Gentian for those who feel easily discouraged and upset, especially in the face of difficulties.
Honeysuckle for those who find themselves dwelling on the past, inhibiting the happiness of their present.
Larch for those who feel that they’re struggling with a lack of self-confidence.
Rock Water for those who are very hard on themselves and feel over-worked.
Rescue Remedy for immediate assistance after a traumatizing event.
Dry brushing. I’m a longtime proponent of dry brushing (you’ll find its mention in many of my books) and what better time to commit to this healthy habit than during the season of shorts and summer dresses? This incredibly effective detox strategy stimulates your lymph, increases your circulation, activates your skin’s oil-producing glands—and noticeably reduces cellulite!
That’s right! Follow these simple steps and remember to always brush toward the heart.
1. Use a medium-firm vegetable brush with natural bristles (can be purchased in health food stores) that is as large as your hand and has a long enough handle to reach your back.
2. Start by opening the primary lymph ducts (just below your collarbone and on the right and left groin areas) with a gentle finger massage. Next, begin to brush the soles of your feet vigorously in a circular motion. The amount of pressure depends on the condition of your skin. Using short upward strokes (toward your heart), slowly move up over your feet and legs. Continue up over your abdomen and over your buttocks to your waist.
3. Move to the palms of your hands using circular motions, then use short strokes up your hands and arms. Continue brushing down your neck—out to your shoulders and then down your chest and your back.
4. This can be followed with a sesame oil massage then a shower.
Fruity, fragrant bathing. At the end of a long day I enjoy a nice bath all year long. In the summer, I like to bring the season into the tub by using fruity aromatherapy. Grapefruit embodies the smell of summer and is an antimicrobial, helps dissolve fatty deposits, and tones and tightens your skin. Lemongrass is another refreshing option that tones and strengthens connective tissues, stimulates lymphatic drainage, and purges excess fluid from your system.
Let’s soak up every second left of summer and set the momentum for continued wellness.