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“Then followed that beautiful season…Summer….
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Simple Sophisticate, episode #43
Yesterday, June 21st, summer officially began here in the Northern Hemisphere, and as I was zipping around this past weekend doing errands, it truly began to feel like summer: More tourists, more out of state license plates, more of those tantalizing scents wafting about the neighborhood, and an ample need for sunscreen.
And while as a teacher, I have the opportunity of a three month hiatus to solely focus on blogging and leisure, I realize not everyone has this luxury. However, because the days are longer, the fresh food more plentiful and the outdoor activities more readily in abundance, I wanted to share with you 15 ways to embrace and make the most of these next three months whether you have the opportunity to get out of town on a long, restorative vacation or will be simply enjoying the summer season offerings of your hometown.
1. Practice Yoga or Meditation
Last December, the United Nations, with the urging of India’s Prime Minister Norendra Modi, officially announced that June 21st or the day that falls between June 20-22nd (it varies each year), would be International Yoga Day. Perhaps, if you are a fan or one who practices yoga, you were already made aware of this and participated in a special event yesterday at your local yoga studio, but even if yoga or mediation doesn’t interest you, the idea of integrating the body and the mind just might.
As your schedule slows down and the days become longer, perhaps this is the ideal time to try and incorporate the habit of either yoga or mediation into your daily or weekly routine. Did you know the purpose for yoga is to prepare the mind and body for meditation? However, whether you prefer one or the other or both, why not start this summer? Why start a habit this summer you may ask? Studies have shown that developing a habit of any type requires consistent effort of 7-11 times, and with the time that summer allows, this may just be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. Click here for more benefits and ideas on yoga and here for meditation.
2. Luxuriate in Sleep
Hopefully your schedule is lightening a smidge and your body can begin to get back into a healthy rhythm. The beautiful and amazing fact about our bodies is that it will ask for what it wants, we just need to pay attention. If you can get to a point of waking up without an alarm clock or going to bed without help, you will notice a profound improvement in your energy levels, and thus your overall quality of life.
During the summer months, make sure to keep your bedroom cool enough, sleep in natural fibers (turn down the duvet) and if you can, leave your windows open to welcome in fresh air as it does help the body sleep more deeply (if it is cool outside in the evenings). If your body needs prompting in the evenings to go to sleep, create a few evening rituals that hint to your body that it is time to unwind. Here are a few ideas I enjoy.
3. Establish an Unplugged Schedule
While it may for many of us be impossible to limit our tech time due to work and family demands, why not just for the summer create a schedule that allows you to be free from your phone, your iPad, even your computer at regular intervals. Whether it is putting all electronics away at 6pm, or making weekends tech-free, allow your mind to relax and be fully present in the moment. Who knows? Perhaps you will realize you can truly live without the wi-fi connection more often than you had thought.
4. Go Outside
The longer and warmer days offer many different activities to be enjoyed outdoors, whether it is an early morning or late evening walk in the soft daylight, or sitting outside to read the morning newspaper, take advantage of the change of scenery and weather to appreciate the gifts of Mother Nature right outside your door.
5. Schedule a Me-Day
Whether you prefer a spa day or a day along the hiking paths outside your town, schedule a day weeks in advance so that you have something to look forward to and luxuriate in this precious, much-needed time alone.
6. Revamp Eating Habits
With more availability of fresh and local produce, revamping your diet to include quality food that will satiating your hunger without having to eat as much, as well as feeding your body well, is the gift of summer. And similar to the inclusion of yoga or mediation, perhaps instilling such a beneficial habit will be something that is easier to carry into the remaining nine months. (A post you might enjoy: Why Not . . . Eat Local Produce?)
7. Indulge in Leisure Reading
Summer time always brings to mind free reading time. Free to read whatever I please without explanation. Time to get lost in nonsense, fluff or fanciful dreams. Currently I am reading Candace Bushnell’s Killing Monica, and I must say, it fits this definition perfectly.
8. Enjoy the Local Offerings
Typically each town or city curates a summer guide of all the local events, markets and concerts for the tourists and locals to enjoy during the warmer months. Often created by the chamber of commerce or the local newspaper, be sure to pick one up and plan your summer calendar around the events you want to experience. Who knows? Maybe you will discover something new in the town you’ve lived in for quite some time.
9. Plan a Picnic
One of the most lovely excursions to enjoy outdoors: A picnic. Whether in your backyard, at your local park or in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, pack a bottle of wine, fruit, a baguette and the local favorite offerings at the farmers’ market and lose track of time. With a friend or by yourself with a lovely leisurely read, a picnic in the summer is a must-do.
10. Hang a Hammock
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”
– John Lubbock
For me, I have always had a love affair with the hammock. Have I swung in one very many times? No. Perhaps that is why I long for one in my own backyard. There is something quite tranquil about being suspended above the ground, gently swinging back and forth, and having the ability to lie back and dream, read or be lulled to sleep for an afternoon nap. Needless to say, all the reasons I love summer so.
11. Enjoy a Concert Outside
Maybe a band or musician is singing outside at a local restaurant that you happened to sit down to enjoy a meal or perhaps you are strolling through the local markets and the music of local musicians prompts you to tap your toes. Or better yet, maybe you have an amphitheater in your community and grand talents are invited to treat the locals. Either way, such occasions are only available during the summer months in most locales, so stop, enjoy and dance along.
~Bend Amphitheater Events Calendar: Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Pink Martini and more!
12. Travel As Much As You Can
It isn’t every summer that our budgets allow us to travel or perhaps it is our schedules that make it impossible. I know that for the majority of my twenties, I was unable to travel hardly at all, even though I was aching to wander. However, whether you are able to travel across the oceans or simply across county lines, if an opportunity arises that piques your interest, grab hold. Since we are never sure what we will experience, we are always assured something new that may spark something within us, teach us something about ourselves or even the world we live in, prompting us to return a changed person, a better person perhaps. So go, travel, and lose yourself. Perhaps along the way, you will find out more about yourself.
13. Appreciate a Garden
Maybe you wish to have your own garden or a small potted herb garden in your kitchen, or maybe you simple want to appreciate the bounty available from growers in the area as you pick up and purchase their deliciousness at the farmers’ market. Either way, indulge in the gifts of the soil when tended to over time with careful attention. You will be amazed at the difference in flavor. A few years ago, I shared my own experience as I too have a small herb garden and created a mini garden in a pot for my lettuce and other vegetables. View the post here for inspiration and ideas to start your very own: Why Not . . . Create A Mini Garden?
14. Eat Outside
One of my favorite daily routines in the summer is to sit out on the porch when I visit my parents in Wallowa County, sip a hot cup of tea and listen to the birds chirp and go about their business (my most recent moment was shared on Instagram this past weekend here, here and here). There really is anything quite like it. Add some wonderful reading material, and my day is off to a great start. Whether you prefer to start or end your day outdoors, if the weather permits, why not? It’s not something that can be indulged in year-round for most of us, and it offers us a chance to appreciate amazing simple luxuries.
15. Learn Something New
My call to action for you as well as myself is to vow to learn something new by the end of the summer season. Whether it is information about a historical figure or event gleaned at a museum on your worldly travels, or a skill newly attempted and now something you are more accustomed with by the end of August and mid-September, try something new, explore somewhere you’ve never been, and begin the next season with new knowledge and perhaps a new dose of confidence.
I look forward to sharing with you what I attempt these next few months (one is depicted below, Oscar is loving it, to my delight!), and feel free to share your newfound knowledge and skills either in the comments of this post or on Instagram. Simply tag me (@thesimplyluxuriouslife), or include the has tag #mysimplyluxuriouslife or #thesimplyluxuriouslife.
Summer brings with it a change in one way or another for each of us: Some changes we look forward to (lighter schedule, travel, etc) and other changes we don’t (extreme heat, sunburns and travel delays), but each year I come to appreciate the season even more as I fall in love with Mother Nature’s gifts, take advantage of what is not available during the other three seasons and use the extra time to fine tune my own daily routine in hopes that I can carry forward into the regular routine when it arrives the serenity I have found during the season of long, leisurely days.
I hope you have an amazing three months. Have a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
Catastrophe, Amazon Original Comedy Series (6 episodes), premiered June 19, 2015 in the US, available in the UK via Amazon in the coming months
~Starring, written and created by actress Sharon Hogan & comedian Rob Delaney, guest starring
Images: TSLL IG