Updated on August 31, 2015
Feeling a bit lethargic or in a rut? Perhaps you need to hit the reset button. If you’ve been following my instagram account, you’re sure to see some “summery” posts but let’s chat a bit further about how to utilize this time of year to your benefit.
With summer now in full force, and (hopefully) the unseasonably cold days behind us, it’s the perfect time to reboot your mind and body for healthy living. There’s something about this time of year that makes it so much easier to do this. Perhaps it’s our childhood memories of “summer break” that help set this mindset into motion for us. While most Americans are not getting three months off of school for summer break, the weather, the celebrations, and the opportunities to be outdoors, still make everything feel a little “lighter” around this time of year. Less clothing means moving with more ease (Hello Commando! …just kidding). Driving with your windows down brings fresh air right into your system. Take advantage of this sweet summertime! For me, exercising, enjoying healthy nutritious meals, and spending time outdoors with friends and family is the perfect equation for a fabulous day. The positivity, the endorphins, the sunshine, creates this “high” for me. On a day where I can get all three, I sleep like a baby. In fact, I see this happen right before my eyes with my 18 month old son. On days where he gets to be outside and have a lot of activity, eats well, and is social, he sleeps so much better at night.
So if you are in a bit of a lull and need some pep in your step, ask yourself how you can find ways to make the most out of summer. Perhaps you’ll start to feel the “high” I’ve referenced. Below I’ll elaborate on this healthy “high” trifecta and share a few ideas with you!
Exercise: It’s pretty simple folks. The more you move, the better you’ll feel. Commit to a routine and when you simply can’t get to your workout class or the gym, go for a walk or workout in your living room (EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE TEN MINUTES). The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you do it, as long as you do something. It may be hard to get going, but once you’ve gotten through it (whether you enjoyed it or not) you WILL FEEL BETTER afterwards. You will not regret the workout you did once you feel the “high” from the endorphins released into your system.
In a nutshell, when we exercise our brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins. This release creates a positive feeling in the body and mind. Many describe this feeling as euphoric and chances are you’ve heard this from your friends who run regularly. They experience that “runner’s high”. Note, you don’t have to actually RUN to experience this. You can achieve this feeling through a variety of workouts and the truth is, it’s probably different for each individual. In addition, endorphins can help us to have decreased feelings of pain, better appetite control, and even release sex hormones (YOWZA!). If you would like to read a bit further about endorphins check out these links: medicine net and web md.
Healthy Food: This may seems obvious as well but I simply can’t not talk about it. Eating well makes you feel alive. Stop for a second and think about how you feel AFTER a big greasy meal. Sluggish, heavy, and after a sugar crash, you may even feel slightly depressed. Again, I’m talking about AFTER. I would never say that sitting down to a meal of a juicy cheeseburger and fries is not delicious (that would be a crazy thing to say) but that is DURING the meal when your tastebuds for salt, fat, and sugar are being turned on. On the flip side, when you sit down to a fresh summer salad with avocado and some grilled chicken or wild salmon (and a green juice if you’re like me!), I guarantee that afterwards you’ll feel lighter and generally more energetic. I’ve had many conversations with clients and friends about how one meal can wreck their day due to feeing heavy and tired. The digestive process uses a lot of energy so this makes perfect sense. Eating heavy foods tend to be a total energy zap.
Marinated Kale Salad from Green and Tonic
Keeping things light in regards to eating means:
- Eating lot of fresh fruits and veggies
- Staying hydrated throughout the day
- Having healthy snacks on hand
- Grocery shopping regularly as to always have healthy options
- Including fresh cold-pressed juices and/or green smoothies daily
Sunshine & Fresh Air: To complete this trifecta, which is often overlooked, is getting your booty outdoors at some point during the day. Getting outside in the sunshine can boost your mood instantly. Grab your shades and walk to work if you have that luxury. Take your lunch outdoors or take your office break on a near by park bench (leave the ciggies behind- YUCK). Take it all in, the birds, the way the light feels on your face, the summer sun on your skin, and the fresh air going in and out with each breath. If you are alone, sit for a 5 minute mediation and totally disconnect from your phone.
Beyond the health benefits of vitamin D, sitting outside can simply boost your mood. You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where people can become depressed due to a change in seasons. Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, you may notice that you do get blue when the weather changes and the days are less bright. When a nice day presents itself, take advantage. As a child, you longed for sunny beach days and perfect playground whether. This doesn’t need to change for you in adulthood. Don’t miss out on a chance to get outside, especially if you are having a tough day at work. Chances are you will re-enter the workplace feeling more calm and generally happier, making you better equipped to tackle the tasks ahead.
I’d love to hear from you this summer. What workouts are giving you the healthy “high” that I’ve discussed with you? What are you eating that gives you energy? What outdoor activities totally turn your mood around?