10 Simple Ways for a Mindful Summer
What is mindfulness?
You might have an image of mindfulness as sitting still for 20 minutes with no thoughts in your mind. Although this is an example of mindfulness meditation, being mindful is much more that that. It is simply taking a moment to acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, sensations, and surrounding environment as they are. It’s about making space for your emotional experience without judgment and with acceptance. This can help us “increase our ability to regulate emotions, [and] decrease stress, anxiety, and depression” (Center for Change, 2022). Although this sounds simple, it takes consistent practice. With time, mindfulness can become a lifestyle that brings a sense of inner peace.
Here is a calming 10-minute guided meditation by Mindfulness Teacher Sebene Selassie for you to practice!
How to enjoy your summer mindfully:
1. A morning sunrise walk
Take advantage of the long daylight hours. Step outside to connect with one of the most beautiful parts of nature – a sunrise. Notice the unique colours each morning brings as the warmth awakens. As you walk, pay attention to each foot touching the ground.
2. An affirmation to start the day
Affirmations are positive statements that offer encouragement. Repeat a daily affirmation to set a tone for the day. Close your eyes and picture yourself having a good day – really feel it. Use a free app like Gratitude – Daily Journal to help prompt you.
3. A few deep breaths
Breathing deeply can help calm your nervous system. Pause for a moment to take 3-5 deep breaths. Focus on each inhale and exhale as the air flows through your body. Do this anytime, like when you’re waiting in line buying groceries for your next picnic or while you’re walking mindfully along the lake.
4. A new thing every day
Appreciating the things around you with fresh eyes is mindfulness. Have you ever noticed how each leaf on a tree is different? Or the sound of your bicycle wheels hitting the pavement? What about the raindrops as they gather on your window during a summer shower? Even familiar things can appear new.
5. A calm space at home
Some of us have spent a lot of time in the past two years. Whether you continue to work remotely or do not spend much time at home, a space for calm is inviting. Find a corner or a room where you can add a pretty plant, a peaceful painting, or an essential oil diffuser with summer scents (think lavender, lemon, sandalwood).
6. A silent meal outside
We sometimes have a habit of eating on the go or in front of the TV. Put the screens aside and take your lunch to your backyard, balcony, or a park. Notice the taste of each bite of your meal. Slow down the process by chewing mindfully and pausing between bites. Take in the sounds of nature around you as you unplug.
7. A taste of summer flavours
This is the season to enjoy healthy and refreshing flavours like watermelon, pineapple, kiwi, coconut, strawberries and blueberries. Don’t forget vegetables like corn, squash, tomatoes, and herbs! Visit a local farmer’s market and find a few new items to try. Make eating healthy fun and mindful.
8. A random act of kindness
Doing something nice for others can decrease your stress levels and boost your mood. Being in the sun already helps, so why not continue with the good vibes through acts of kindness? Compliment someone unexpectedly, smile at a stranger, plant a tree, hold the elevator door, be part of a charity walk or run, pick up a piece of litter and throw out…the list goes on.
9. A mindful conversation
Next time you are speaking to someone you care about, be present with them. Think about the value of your response before you say it. Show that you care through your body language. Just let go and enjoy the conversation as it is. Be thankful for the chance to connect.
10. A treat for yourself
Most importantly, show some love to yourself. Buy yourself something nice that you’ve been wanting. Eat an ice cream on your own and connect with your inner child. Set aside time to start a project or enjoy a glass of wine. Or simply find a moment to be still with your spiritual self.