When we think about self-care we usually associate it with colder weather. Conjuring up visions of comforting rituals, journalling under a blanket with a warming cup of herbal tea and soaking in a hot bath filled with detoxifying salts. So understandably, self-care is usually the last thing on our minds once summertime comes around – bringing with it a schedule filled with rooftop cocktails, spontaneous barbecues and weekly weddings.
The concept of self-care has become increasingly popular and as a result its meaning has somewhat diminished. We tend to have a pretty single-minded approach to self-care, usually focusing on the ways we can buy into it. But, to go back to its original definition, we should really be thinking about self-care as a means of self-preservation.
As wonderful as face masks and fitness classes are, we’re not just physical beings, there’s also emotional, mental and spiritual sides to us and we need to bring all of those into balance during our self-care routines. Ultimately, self-care is about the many ways in which we allow ourselves to shift from doing to being. It reminds us to be unapologetic about taking the time we need to re-centre and grow.
When we think about it in this way, it’s actually a year round activity and summer is one of the best seasons to amp up your self-care routine as it can be quite full-on. If your calendar for the next few months are already starting to stress you out, here’s your ultimate guide to summer self-care and how you can make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself.
Make the most of the warm weather by spending as much time as you can outside. Even if you’re headed to the park on your lunch break for a salad and Solero, you can add in a five minute walking meditation. It will help you feel more grounded, less stressed and give you a quick focus boost for the rest of the day. Start by breathing in and taking three slow steps, repeating the word “in”, over in your mind for each step. Then breathe out, taking three steps and repeating “out” for each step, continuing this breathing pattern as you walk. Take the time to focus only on each slow step you take and not on anything else around you.
Heading to a festival? You’d be surprised to know that even in a crowd of people and tripping over beer bottles, you can still get a dose of self-care through dancing. Ecstatic dance is unstructured, free-flowing dance where you get out of your head and into your body. It’s all about releasing emotion and stress, letting yourself go and just focusing on moving your body, you can also do it barefoot in the garden.
Summer can be a difficult season to navigate if you’re struggling with your body image, feeling uncomfortable about your appearance or if you have a skin condition. We’re surrounded by messages about being “beach body ready” and that it’s time to “show more skin”, so it’s quite a triggering time.
If you’re feeling this way, make sure you’re taking care of your mental health by talking to loved ones or a professional. You can also use journalling to investigate any fears that come up. Fears are completely normal and they’re often false evidence appearing real, so find the evidence your mind needs to dispel the beliefs you have. Write a list of what you’re grateful for about your body, thinking about its function and all the complex systems that allow your body to work instead of how it looks. Take a break from magazines or unfollow any social media accounts that perpetuate unattainable beauty standards and instead look at accounts who promote body acceptance and positivity.
Balance everything that you’re feeling by treating yourself and spending time with your body and skin. After a cool shower at night to wash off the SPF and summer stickiness, treat yourself to a self-massage with an oil blend filled with cooling essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus. You can also repeat positive affirmations and mantras to yourself in the mirror when you’re applying your skincare to help in shifting your mindset.
While spending as much time poolside as possible is the goal of the season, it’s not always that stress-free. A combination of booking flights, squeezing in social events and creating yet another holiday itinerary can leave you feeling a bit weary. Make sure that you’re spending enough time on your own wellbeing before you dive into any obligations.
Start by writing a list of all of your favourite solo summer activities, they can be anything from lying in your local park with a good book to having a quick dip at the lido. Then actually schedule a few of them in, so you remember to prioritise your own needs and do what you love doing.
If you’re feeling down, Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) can be useful for releasing tension and emotional stress and working on any beliefs holding you back. The technique involves using your fingers to tap on the meridian points in your body as you say a series of statements out loud. A great way to end the day if you’re feeling unsettled.
When you’re spending more time outside in the sun and in nature, it’s a great invitation to tap into your spiritual side and honour the changing season. Crystals are a great tool, especially in summer and you can create a mini survival kit with them. Head to a crystal or metaphysical shop and see what crystals you’re naturally drawn to, as you’ll often be guided to what you need the most at that time. You can also pick up, malachite for flying nerves, shungite for clearing energy, moonstone for protection while travelling and amethyst for soothing and lifting moods.
If you need another boost, harness the energy of the moon by working with its cycle. Summer is a great time to connect to the moon, as you can see it more clearly in the sky, especially if you’re headed somewhere with lots of fresh air. On the night of the new moon, you can set an intention, it could be a goal you have in mind or committing to adding in more periods of stillness. Turn it into a ritual by writing your intention down in your journal, meditating, listening to a relaxing playlist and creating an altar of crystals, fresh flowers and candles. Add in a glass of something cool and delicious and you’ve got the perfect chilled evening.
Giselle La Pompe-Moore is the founder of Project Ajna and offers one-to-one healing sessions that incorporate reiki, meditation, tarot and self-care prescriptions.