As my favourite season in the world draws nearer, I find myself inspired by all the gorgeous changes around to find new, summery ways to practice radical self-love. As simultaneously new-agey and obnoxiously practical as that sounds (trust me, I know), the fact of the matter is that most things in life, including taking care of yo’ self, tend to stagnate if you don’t shake them up from time to time. For instance, what happens if you put your body through the same workouts over and over again, without ever changing anything? You may thrive for a while, until you adjust; but then, as you get more and more comfortable in your routine, you’ll likely hit a plateau, unable to make any progress unless you make a significant change. If you’ve been indulging in long runs around the park, for example, this may mean incorporating hill sprints or weight-training to your workouts. I keep bringing things back to fitness, because it’s a topic I know well and feel comfortable waxing lyrical about; but when you think about it, you quickly realise that this applies to most things in life! Relationships, careers, life, all have in common the fact that change is necessary so as to keep the great momentum going, preventing us from becoming bored out of our skulls and losing all interest in what we’re doing.
Self-love and self-care are no different! Much like it does a house good to undergo a thorough spring cleaning once a season, it does a soul good to change up the ways we choose to delight it, every now and again. Injecting new life into your radical self-love practice (you have started on that, haven’t you?!) through new, magical rituals, is the perfect way to recommit to your decision to take better care of yourself; and what better time to do all this than in the very best of seasons (not biased at all, me)?! There, see, I knew I’d get you on board! But wait – I see you there, muttering to yourself that it’s all very well and good having all these lofty thoughts but what about actual ideas to get the ball rolling? Fret not: I’ve got you covered. Here are some fun things that I plan on trying this summer. Wanna join?
Try walking meditation. (Preferably in nature!)
Riiiiiight, she’s gone off the deep end, I hear you say! While this first item on the list may sound a little kooky, hear me out. Chances are, you already know all about the benefits of meditation (if not, here’s a little refresher from Lifehacker) but have been reluctant to give it a go because it feels like something hard, almost unattainable, that only a select few (the Initiated™!) ever get any good at. (Not that meditation is something that you should strive to be “good at”, but you catch my drift.) I say this with relative certainty because that’s the way I feel sometimes! I’ve always been mega intimidated by bare bones meditation, purely because the thought of completely and utterly quieting my mind for any period of time seems trying on good days and impossible on bad ones. This is where walking meditation comes in: all you need to do is… walk! (Surprise!) Walk, preferably on your own and preferably in nature. Be alone with your thoughts. Observe them. Be mindful and aware of them, but also of everything around you. Take it all in, let it all out and marvel (seriously!) at how clear your mind will be, and how at peace you’ll feel at the end! I can’t WAIT to start doing this on the beach in the south of France this summer. Where will you take your mindful walk?
Eat in season… All season!
Really, this is something we should try to do all the time… But let’s face it, winter fruit and veg aren’t exactly as exciting as the glorious bounty the Earth has to offer in summer, is it (or is it just me)? As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more satisfying than to bite into a perfectly tart nectarine, or a delicious, sun-ripened tomato, knowing that they weren’t either flown half-way across the planet, or grown in a claustrophobic greenhouse. Without expanding too much on how good eating locally sourced, seasonal produce is for the environment (long story short: it is), when you eat fruit and veg when they’re intended to be eaten, they just taste so much better! Seriously! Give it a go – I promise you you won’t look back. Your taste buds will thank you! And while you’re at it, eat this beautiful, seasonal food mindfully. Try making an effort to not eat in front of the television or computer this summer: eat with friends and family or eat alone, but really make a point of focusing on each delicious morsel you pop in your mouth! Not only will you enjoy the food more, it’s a great way of reconnecting with your body and attuning your ear to its signals, which in turn will help you become aware of when you’ve had enough to eat. Remember, it’s not about restricting the amount of food you take in; it’s about knowing when you’ve had enough & mindful eating helps you do just that! What’s your favourite summer fruit or veg?
Step up your gratitude game: make a visual journal!
If you’ve been reading my other articles, you know how passionate I am about gratitude: like I’ve said here and in my post on the #100happydays challenge, I find that giving thanks for the little (or big!) things that make me smile really helps me keep a positive outlook on life. I’ve tried keeping a paper journal, where I jot down a few sentences every night or so; I’ve tried Instagramming one thing that made me happy every day, via the challenge… So in a desire to mix things up a little, in the next few months, I may very well try making a visual gratitude journal! What do I mean by that? I envision it as a sort of massive scrapbook of things that make me happy, mantras and manifestos, magic-making, memories and so on. Rather than forcing myself to add to it every day (although you never know, I might just do that!), I’m seeing this as a long-term project; a work of radical self-love art that’ll grow and evolve with time, much like myself! I’ll write all about it on my blog when I get started, so stay tuned! Will you join me in my scrapbookin’ frenzy?
- Read more about the benefits of gratitude in this cool study by Berkeley!
Well, that’s it from me this time around, folks! I plan on having an absolutely fabulous summer and I just know you will too. Even if you decide not to give the above things a try (although I hope you will, I think it’ll be a blast!), then at least commit to shaking things up and casting any stale routines you may be stuck in, aside. Summer’s right around the corner – why not make the most of it?