I love summer! I am a sunshine kind of girl. The blue skies, summer sun, and late night thunderstorms put me at ease and give me energy all at the same time. When the Fourth of July comes, it feels like summer is officially here – BBQs, swimming, grilling, and fireworks. It is a joy to soak in the moments that the simple life can bring. I hope that you are able to enjoy some time around the holiday that includes some rest, play, or both!
As we journey through the week, I encourage each of us to take some time to examine one or more dimensions of our health. It’s a great time to check in to see how you are doing. I am along side of you, and have some tips that I have been researching for myself!
Talk: With perhaps some extra time off, it can be a great time to share your feelings with someone who you are comfortable with. I am not a pro at this by any means, but when I intentionally seek to talk, I can walk away enlightened, encouraged, and energized. Just doing this once or twice a week can send a surge of relief. If you are carrying less stress, you are indeed a healthier person!
Journal: Not much for talking? Maybe its a good time to step away and write a few thoughts down. Check out why journaling can have a positive impact on your well-being here!
Be alone: Alone time can be precious and fruitful. By taking a step away from jobs, responsibilities, and even our loved ones, we can reboot, self analyze, refresh, toy with creative and critical thinking, and just…be. Read, engage in your hobby, or do nothing! The possibilities of this are endless, and I can assume that you may come back to your real life refreshed and refocused.
Be grateful: Start a gratitude list. Every day write down something you are grateful for. Perhaps on the 4th you can reflect on such things:
Is there a book on your shelf that is collecting dust that you have been meaning to read? Maybe you are looking forward to learning something new through watching a documentary. (Food Matters is one of my new favorites.) I love reading my fitness magazine and searching the internet for what is on the tip of the spear in the wellness world. Sign up for a photography class, a dance class, a cooking class, or a painting class! Too right-brained for you? Listen to a podcast, or engage in a topic that brings you excitement and share what you are learning with others!
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
– Albert Einstein
Love your job? Hate it? There are three solutions here and this long holiday weekend is a great time to ponder them:
1. You can change the situation.
2. You can yourself to fit the situation. (Adapt.)
3. You can leave the situation.
I love this creative exercise to uncover some things you are passionate about.
Physical: As I was beginning to prep for our own Fourth of July, I thought it would be great to share some recipes from a favorite blog of mine. Please visit Real Sustenance and let me know if you try any of these healthy, allergy friendly, Independence day eats!
One of my favorite summer time treats is so easy and delicious you will forget it’s healthy!
Corn and Black Bean Salsa:
1 16-oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 11-oz can of corn (drained and rinsed)
2 Tablespoons of lime juice
1 Tablespoon (or more) of fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 chopped red onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeno if you would like
1 fresh garden tomato roughly chopped
Top with chopped avocado
Sea salt to taste
Mix and enjoy! Great on fish, burgers, or eaten alone with some chips!
I would love to hear what some of your favorite summer recipes are! If you have something good…I think you should share it with friends!
Workouts: Some of us tend to back off on our workouts over vacation rather than rev up. I encourage you to listen to your body here. If your body is saying let’s rest, I am overly exhausted, then do! But be honest with yourself. Even if I am dealing with fatigue I always feel better after some light activity. Here are some Fourth of July Options for your long weekend workout plan:
- Come to the Special Fourth of July Habitude Fitness boot camp at 10:00 a.m. at Jone’s Island Park in Grayslake. We are going to have a blast!
- Commit to a morning run or walk; everyday. Get out the door and move for 10 minutes. Walk, jog, or bike. Turn around and come home. It’s really that easy.
- Try a HIIT workout that will not eat up much time, but deliver good results. If you are traveling try this military inspired workout I programmed for us on Veterans Day! I think Independence Day is another great time to break this one out!
- Hit the water. This is an exercise that will improve your cardiovascular fitness without impact. You will strengthen and tone your entire body, and you can swim for a lifetime! Start out with an easy pace to warm up in any stroke you prefer. Check out 100 swimming workouts.com to find your level and area you would like to focus on! People are even taking part of Aqua Zumba!
Don’t forget to just jump in the water and play! Enjoy some water sports, playing with the kids, and splashing around. This is good for body, soul, and mind!
Summer social activities are easy in my book. Patios and a glass of wine. Grill some veggies and a side of protein (no recipe required!). Get out the bags set and challenge your neighbor… Looking for some fun sitting around the fire conversation? I really enjoy the game: Loaded Questions. It is fun and helps you get to know your friends and family even better. Feeling like a homebody? No big deal! Socialize with your family or significant other. The most precious thing we can give is our time. I advise we all use it wisely. Perhaps you would like to use your time to get out of the house. Check out a local baseball game or head to the zoo. How about a drive-in theater or a local 5k with friends? There are festivals all over our town this time of year! (Here is a 2013 calendar for Chicagoland). Simply put, pick an activity that you can have some fun at!
Tapping into your spiritual wellness may include solitude, meditation, attending a church service, and prayer. Devotionals, reading, and journaling may help you understand and feel the temperature of your spiritual health. Take some time to examine your values. You may discover some tensions you are wrestling with deep inside your soul. Discovery and soul-searching is only the beginning of become spiritually healthy. Next steps include taking action and modifying some behaviors. We are all working on developing this area, as no one ever arrives. I discover each passing year how dependent and broken I truly am. Growing my spiritual health is the most challenging and fulfilling thing I attempt to do.
Looking forward to a great summer weekend. I may be an aunt by the end of it, as my first niece is due any day! Let’s all enjoy time off, interact with family and friends, find something to do that brings you pleasure, and take some time to reflect.
God Bless America, and all of you!