Health Re-Start – A Summer Bucket List
How to ease back into the world, feeling heathier and happier. (No pressure, or guilt, required.)
By Elizabeth Kane
Health is more than a number on the scale—it’s the way you feel inside and out. It’s the joy in your day, the spring in your step, and the happiness others can hear in your voice.
You know it when you see it. You know it when you feel it.
But somewhere along the way, you may have lost sight of it. Sure, there’s more you could do to be healthier, and happier, but real-life responsibilities have a way of, well…getting in the way. It happens to the best of us. Your calendar fills up too fast. Your to-do list grows too long. And those few pounds you’ve been meaning to lose? They’ve slowly added up over time.
After an incredibly challenging year—with a long, dark winter—this sun-filled summer seems like the perfect time to re-emerge back slowly and safely into the world. However, these difficult times have ushered in a type of apprehension and anxiety that’s made it hard to ease back into everyday life. As you transition into a new time, here’s how to realistically re-engage with the world again in a mindful way.
Get some sun, first thing in the morning, with an early walk outside
Want to sleep well at night and feel more energetic throughout the day? Start focusing on re-aligning your circadian rhythm. That means getting sun first thing in the morning. This teaches our bodies that it’s time to wake up and start our day. This one habit can help re-balance our hormones and keep us on a strong, consistent schedule. You’ll find it easier to rise in the morning and fall asleep in the evening.
So, get your body moving in the morning. Before you go to sleep, set aside a casual and comfortable outfit by your bed. Once your alarm goes off the following day, get up and head outside! There’s no need to put pressure on yourself—this isn’t meant to be a high endurance workout. Just a way to move your body a bit while you enjoy the early morning sun on your face.
Call and connect with a friend
If you’re like most people, you may have found it hard during the pandemic to halt visits with the ones you love. To protect yourself and others from a destructive virus, this long stint of disconnection from folks may have felt difficult, and for many, deeply painful.
So, give someone you’ve meaning to connect with a phone call. Think of a friend you’ve lost touch with and ask them how they’re doing. Maybe there’s a family member or former work colleague you’ve missed seeing regularly. When we’re connecting positively with others, we start to feel better about our own lives. That improves our moods and overall attitude.
Do a new-to-you physical activity with a good pal
Have an activity in mind you’d like to try? Perhaps there’s a yoga class you’ve wanted to give a chance, but you haven’t found the right time. Maybe you’ve felt you don’t have all the “perfect” clothes yet, or feel intimated about exercising alongside those toned bodies you’ve seen in marketing ads.
A good thing for us all to remember? You don’t have to be an elite athlete to be in good shape, and you don’t have to have the perfect body to try something new. If you’re looking to try a different type of exercise, go ahead and give it a go! If you’re still feeling unsure, ask a friend to try it out with you. It can be an excellent weekly workout for both of you, and a great excuse to spend more time with a good friend.
Head out to the farmer’s market
It’s a beautiful, bright summer weekend morning. What do you do, and where do you go?
Don’t spend it all on the couch. Grab a bag, a great hat, and head out the door to your local farmer’s market. There’s so much to see and do. Part of the joy of going to the market is enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. You’re getting out, you’re walking around, and it feels good to see people. This kind of outdoor trip has a nice way of energizing the body and
Cook a healthy meal you’ll actually enjoy
There’s something about cooking a great meal in your kitchen that’s immensely satisfying. Whether you’ve exhausted your takeout options, or grown tired of your meals at home, go to the bookshelf and grab your favorite cookbook for inspiration. Look at some of the meals you bookmarked in the past. (You know, the ones you’ve been itching to cook “someday” but never found the time.)
Pick a recipe that looks healthy, tasty, and relatively easy to make. Better yet? Call up a good friend who always seems to be in the kitchen, cooking up a great dish. Ask them to recommend you a healthy recipe that’s earned its place in their family’s dinner rotation. Create a grocery list, include all your ingredients, and pick a specific night this week to cook your new meal.
Spend a day, totally tech-free, and see what happens
When you’re glued to technology, you can lose sight of the world around you. Spend too much of your free time online, and you may unconsciously disconnect from your reality. We’ve grown addicted to our digital tools, depending on them for almost everything to run our lives well. Do you ever stop to remember what a tech-free day felt like years and years ago?
One weekend, when you have very few obligations, try turning off your phone, computer, and television, and see what happens. Maybe you’ll start painting again. Perhaps you’ll finish that craft project you started months ago. You may write a kind, thoughtful letter to someone you love. Or maybe you’ll take a very long, uninterrupted nap. The possibilities are endless.
Wherever you are on the path to good health, ease into summer wellness at your own pace. All that matters is that you’re taking the right steps, little by little. So, stop putting pressure on yourself—the road to well-being takes time. After all, we’re talking about achieving health and happiness. Stress, shame, and guilt have no place here. This is for you!