This summer, we are talking about all things self-care.
Let’s take it back to the moments that we cherished and looked forward to as a kid. School was out for summer, the world was new and exciting, and we got endless hours to play, explore, and bask in the summer sun. When we were kids, we did what we wanted, spent time outside connecting with nature and friends, and enjoyed the long days with utter enthusiasm.
Summer doesn’t always feel that way as an adult, does it? We are swamped with work, kids, maintaining the house, making sure everyone is fed, and trying to keep everything afloat. The carefree summer days seem to have slipped away into oblivion. Although we may not have the reality of the “care-free summer,” there are ways that we can continue with the care-free mindset, and that starts with caring for our minds and bodies.
Although summer doesn’t mean that all of our obligations fade away, the summer season does offer a new opportunity for a different routine. Wellness is not a destination, it’s a journey, and we want to use this summer as a journey to our best selves.
To gain a bit more insight into taking care of ourselves during the summer, we sat down with nutrition and health coach Emily Chapman to pick her brain on how we can bring moments of mindfulness and joy to our physical and mental health this season.
What does a carefree summer in a care-heavy world mean to you?
Emily loves the summertime because it is a time when she settles into where she is, allowing her to establish a routine and appreciate the surroundings around her more. Chapman lives in the Northeast for the summer months, and she loves staying put, as everything is so lush and beautiful.
The other non-negotiable she implements during summer is taking a trip to Basalt, Colorado, for a hiking trip. As she reminds us, all of the extra sunshine in the summer allows one to get a lot more personal hobbies, interests, goals, and passions in while continuing to work. One of the passions she loves to take to the next level during summer is gardening due to the abundance of light and the season’s bounty.
To go even further, Emily told us, “Because I am a health coach, the reason summer is so carefree is that you get so much more light. You get so much more Vitamin D. You can do so many other things that you wouldn’t normally do outside, like swimming, golfing, working out, going on walks, and getting together more with friends and family. It is a time when people settle into themselves and their location more.”
What are the most impactful micro steps to promote lasting change?
Chapman believes that summer is an excellent time to start working into the routines and habits that you would like to carry on throughout the rest of your year. For example, it is easier to get into the habit of exercising and outdoor activities since you have so much more daylight to do them and the energy of the season pushes for more movement.
Furthermore, Emily enjoys taking advantage of gardening during the summer season. She loves to grow herbs because they have a ton of nutrients and polyphenols in them, which are anti-inflammatory and make your entire body feel lighter and better. Additionally, summer is when fruits and vegetables are abundant and growing. You can eat fresh, whole foods during the summer, which can help instill the habit of eating whole foods throughout the rest of the year because you feel so good when you do so.
What would you say to someone who feels prioritizing themselves is selfish?
To this question, Emily reminds us of the classic example of oxygen masks on an airplane. If you are on an airplane with your child, flight attendants always ask that you put on your oxygen mask before helping your child. This is because if you cannot breathe, you aren’t going to be able to help your child breathe!
The purpose of this analogy is to assure you that you cannot care for others until you care for yourself. It is so important to understand that self-care is not a selfish act. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
What are things we can do to grow our mental resilience?
“Mental resilience is so important. You can build mental stimulation and resilience by talking to a therapist or meditation. Studies have shown that meditation for just 15 minutes daily can add 3-5 years to your life.” “You can also garden. Getting your hands in the dirty, harvesting fresh herbs, and being present with nature wherever you live is a great way to build mental resilience.”
Another note to practice mental resilience is by living your life day by day. Thinking of today and enjoying where you are in the moment is huge. Don’t think of the future. Don’t think of the past.
How can you design a lifestyle you don’t need a holiday from?
Emily Chapman has set up her lifestyle like she is more like a Millenial or Gen Z. Millennials and Generation Z have understood the need for life-work balance and prioritize their own needs, dreams, and social life rather than just working all of the time.
When she set up her business, she realized she could work whenever she wants to work. The old situation of the “grind” is outdated. Champan has set her hours to not only benefit her and her time but also the time of her clients. This situation allows her to have flexibility. Furthermore, since she is remote, she can work wherever she is and do a session with a client when she is traveling.
Living in Long Island in the Summer and Texas in the winter allows her to get a lot of light. This allows her to live an abundant life with friends and family filled with happiness.
For more information about Emily and her practice as a health coach, check out our blog on The Sage.