This month in the northern hemisphere we celebrate the summer solstice, aka the first day of summer.
For many people, this is their favorite time of year. The weather is lovely; you can get outside for walks in the sunshine and sit out on your patio with a good book in the cool evening. No shoveling snow, no traipsing through puddles in your galoshes.
But for some people, summer keeps them cooped up in the house just as much a winter does. When the heat sets in and you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, or the humidity is so high it feels like you walked into a sauna when you walk out the door of your house, you feel more like staying inside with the air conditioner blasting than getting a dose of sunshine.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is talked about a lot. SAD affects more than 10 million Americans. But there isn’t a lot of conversation about what high heat does to our attitudes.
Even here in Colorado, Gaiam’s home state, the heat can get unbearable in the summer. So I rely on these three things to keep myself feeling good when the sun is baking the world outside my window.
1. Morning Walk
Most human beings naturally rise earlier in the summer months than in the winter months. Our circadian rhythms are affected by the earlier sunrise. I take advantage of this natural wakefulness and get up a little bit early to go for a walk before my day begins.
As long as I leave the house before the sun is too high in the sky, I can enjoy the cool morning air, get some Vitamin D from the sun and stretch my legs before I even need to start getting ready for work. This practice has the added benefit of starting my day out on a really positive note. I’m a firm believer that whatever you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for your whole day – so delay watching the morning news and go out for a walk first!
2. Peppermint Tea
As soon as the thermometer starts rising beyond a comfortable level, I start making big batches of peppermint iced tea to keep in my fridge. Sweetened, ice-cold peppermint tea is the most refreshing summer beverage, bar-none. And it’s a luxury I only enjoy in the summer – keeping it special for those hot summer days.
1. Put several peppermint tea bags into a pitcher. I personally like the glass kind with a spout at the bottom.
2. Boil a whole kettle of water and pour it over the tea bags
3. Let the tea bags steep in the pitcher for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.
4. Remove the tea bags and fill the pitcher the rest of the way to the top with cold water.
5. Put the pitcher in the fridge to cool completely.
6. Serve over ice with a little bit of stevia for sweetness.
3. Three Graces Gratitude Journal
This is a little bit different than your typical morning journaling. Because I take walks in the morning, I find I don’t have a ton of time for a long journaling practice early in the day. But setting your attitude on gratitude first thing is such a great way to kick off your day!
So what I do instead is this: Every morning I write down three things that I am grateful for or that are really blessing me in my life. Just three things. I don’t go into great detail with them, I just jot them down and go on my way. As with all gratitude practices, it helps keep my mind clear of negative debris.
Don’t Let the Weather Get You Down
These three practices help keep my mood lifted when the heat traps me indoors during hot summer days. If summer is a scorcher in your area of the world, what wellbeing practices do you keep?