Summer Can Be Great Time to Take a Closer Look at Ourselves
Summer months are often a time when we are open to new experiences, to a change of pace.
It's as though we give ourselves permission to take our nose from the grindstone and look around for an adventure or two.
If you're starting to feel that summer already is slipping away, let me suggest some new experiences that can be both an interesting change of pace and have some benefits to our physical, emotion, relational and spiritual health.
First some ideas about our physical health.
1. Let's start with exercise. Working out doesn't have to involve time-consuming, tedious and painful activities that leave us feeling like we've just finished the triathlon. Good, healthy exercise can be enjoyable.
Especially in the summer, we can integrate exercise into our daily routine in such a way that we are unaware that we are getting a good workout. Hiking, brisk walking, swimming, moderate jogging, and a host of outdoor activities can be good exercise. And, because we enjoy getting outside anyway, we can often forget that we're exercising in the process.
2. Another new experience we might try is changing our eating habits. Counting calories for a few weeks and comparing our figures to what the experts say we need can be interesting.
We also might look at what we eat and see how it compares with what nutrition guides suggest. With fresh fruits and vegetables plentiful in summer, and inexpensive to boot, we can also try new foods and meal plans that are healthy, enjoyable and quick.
3. When was the last time we had a complete physical? Physician's offices tend to be less busy in the summer. And chances are it will be easier for us to get some time off.
Why don't we schedule that checkup we've been putting off as part of our summer health focus?
4. Emotional health is just as important as physical health. Summer can be a good time to step back and take a look at how we feel about ourselves and our lives. Are we pleased with who we are? Do we value ourselves? Do we accept our strengths and our weaknesses?
Books (for example, those by John Powell or Jesse Lair) can be helpful as we consider this. Some short-term counseling may be a valuable resource if we find that our sense of self seems to be negative.
5. Summer tends to be a season of reduced stress. If we have felt regularly at wits' end during the rest of the year, why not take our summer break and sharpen our stress management skills? …