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Summer is the perfect time to try out self-care activities you can enjoy all year.
Self-care activities are part of holistic healthy living; they have numerous benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social health.
Improving just one aspect of your health can improve all aspects of your health.
This summer can be the summer of “self-care.” But that doesn’t mean just taking a long bath every once in a while. You can start some habits that you can use in the summertime and beyond to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health.
As part of your daily routine, these healthy habits can help you take a holistic approach to improving your health. Holistic means recognizing the way all the aspects of our health interact. For instance, stress not only harms your mental and emotional health, but can also cause high blood pressure, headaches and other physical health problems.
Not sure what kind of self-care you really need to live your best life? We recommend trying out these six simple ways to improve your health and well-being this summer. If you find a few you like, try to incorporate them into your life and enjoy their benefits year-round.
1. Stretch with yoga for tons of self-care benefits
When you hear “self-care,” yoga is probably one of the first things you think of — and for good reason. Yoga is incredibly good for your well-being, with benefits such as:
- Improved flexibility and strength for your physical health
- Decreased feelings of stress and better mental health thanks to careful breathing and mindfulness
- Improved sleep quality due to reduced stress, less physical pain and more physical activity
- Better mood from time spent focusing on yourself and your body
Thankfully, it’s really easy to get into yoga. You can find free public yoga workouts in cities across the country at parks and libraries. You can even find great yoga videos online for free. And if you have the funds to invest in your self-care, you can find welcoming, relaxing yoga studios near you.
2. Try pickleball for your social and physical health
Pickleball is becoming more and more popular, with courts available in public parks. While it might seem like the opposite of yoga, it can also benefit your health by increasing your activity level. Pickleball leagues are also a great way to socialize with others.
Socializing is so important for your health, especially as you age. Social interactions are shown to boost mood and happiness. They also lower your risk for dementia and stroke.
Pickleball gets you moving and gets your heart pumping, and has a low start-up cost. Find a public court, buy a beginner’s racket and ball and get going.
3. Read a good book for less stress
Many libraries have summer reading programs with prizes for kids and adults. They provide free books, events and activities to help you live well. You can find healthy cookbooks, learn a new hobby, find a self-help book or explore your spirituality. But you don’t need to stick to the non-fiction section to see holistic health benefits. Reading fiction has benefits, too, such as:
- Reduced stress
- Improved self esteem
- Increased empathy
- Lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Better sleep
Curling up with a good book may be exactly what you need to improve your health this summer.
4. Practice meditation for overall health and well-being
Meditation is an invaluable tool for your good health. You can practice meditation almost any time, any place to lower your stress, improve your mood, lower your heart rate and blood pressure and deal with anxiety.
To get started with meditation, you should:
- Sit quietly with your eyes closed
- Set a timer for 10 minutes
- Breathe slowly
- Relax your muscles and clear your mind
- Try adding peaceful meditation music, white noise or the sound of trickling water
- Concentrate on your breath as you inhale and exhale deeply
- Repeat daily
Remember, meditation is a practice. Just keep trying and it will come more and more naturally to you when you need it.
5. Listen to music to ease anxiety
Summer is a great time to catch some live music outdoors or even just try new music at home. Studies show that listening to music 30 minutes per day can:
- Lessen anxiety and stress
- Reduce feelings of pain
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve memory and alertness
- Improve sleep
It can be fun to explore different types of music every day. You can try going to concerts or digging out the music you loved when you were a teen. You can sing along with your favorite show tunes or find meditation playlists to help you find your zen. Any type of music is beneficial.
6. Spend time outdoors to improve your mood
Spending time outside is a great way to combine many of the self-care practices above with extra benefits. Being outdoors can improve your mood, reduce stress and help you relax. But tons of outdoor activities can also improve your mental health and even your sense of spirituality. On these beautiful summer days, try these activities to get moving outdoors.
- Hiking or walking
- Swimming at a lake or beach
- Outdoor yoga
- Tennis or pickleball
These six activities aren’t just self-care; they are a way to improve all aspects of your health while enjoying yourself. Choose which one sounds most appealing to you and try it out today to take the first step toward a healthy lifestyle.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.
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