While May is still spring according to the calendar, this month feels like its own season. “Almost summer,” if you will. It’s a time of great anticipation and countdowns – school for many families is winding down, and Memorial Day with its very welcome three-day weekend is looming like a carrot on a stick. And after a summer like 2020’s – which felt about as fun as going to summer school, if we’re honest – the idea of the “real” summer is pretty exciting.
This month, let’s look at tips and tricks to help you shift toward summer with better balance and more ease.
Physical wellness: Give yourself permission to cook less.
One of the best parts about warmer weather is all the fresh vegetables and seasonal fruit that are available in abundance. Thankfully, all that produce doesn’t require the same cooking techniques that hearty fall and winter foods do. Take some time on Pinterest to bookmark no-cook or low-cook meals for warmer weather. From vibrant green salads to cold grain bowls, quick and cooling meals are the best for those endless summer nights. We’re heading to the season of “fire” according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, so think “cool” as well as simple when planning meals.
If your household loves to grill, you can’t go wrong with simple BBQ chicken (or tofu) and vegetables. While you’re at it, grill up a double batch to save your future self some time.
That tip also helps you take full advantage of longer days and better weather for walks with your dogs, runs in the park or bike rides with friends. Exercise just feels easier to squeeze in during good weather, doesn’t it?
Emotional wellness: Feel free to delay your own “reopening.”
We’ve spent the last year or so maintaining our distance, keeping to ourselves and limiting interactions to our families and “pods.” As we continue to reopen and connect with others, it’s normal to feel a lot of emotions at once, including anxiety. (KQED recently shared 6 helpful tips from a therapist if you’re a little anxious about heading back out there.)
If you’re not ready yet, that’s OK. Think back to the advice we all heard growing up: Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it. If you’re feeling apprehensive, take your time – and go slow. Try these small steps toward socializing.
- Host a couple of friends for a potluck on the patio, not your entire book club for a sit-down dinner indoors.
- Grab dinner with another couple at your favorite al fresco location at an off-peak time.
- Invite your walking buddy to stay for coffee after your next workout.
- Keep going with the Zoom happy hours and yoga classes. These are a great way to connect more often with busy friends near and far.
We’re all feeling a little rusty when it comes to interpersonal communication. (Here’s a wonderful article from Rachel Miller about learning how to make small talk again.) Even the most ardent extroverts are likely to need some time to adjust and find their balance of solo time and social time. Balance is at the core of all aspects of health and well-being in TCM, so when you start to feel a little off, take a step back and identify where you need more and where you need less.
Spiritual wellness: Embrace your summer body.
We’ve all seen the “quarantine 15” joke memes. But guess what? You don’t owe anyone any explanation for how your body looks or how much space you take up in the world. We’ve lived through a really hard year. Your body carried you through all of it – and we survived. So when the static about “summer bodies” and “shaping up” starts to get louder, tune it out.
You know how you get a bathing suit body? You have a body, and you put on a bathing suit. Period! If talk of how quarantine changed the shape of our bodies makes you uncomfortable, feel free to change the subject.
One subject that seems to be common ground is sleep. Everybody needs it, and most of us know the struggle of trying to get enough good, quality sleep when life gets in the way. Small talk often leads to good-natured complaining (thus the misguided talk of weight and body shape), but appearance is a subject that isn’t up for debate.
Our favorite way to change the subject? Pull out a Hello Dreams™ sleep strip, then start raving about how you love how the Melatonin & Calm Down™ herbal blend melts on your tongue as you drift off to sleep.* Once you start talking about awaking refreshed and getting a solid seven or eight hours a night, all mentions of weight will cease!
And know this: Taking charge of your health looks differently for everyone. If you are on a weight-loss journey, you’ll want to make sleep part of your plan – the two are definitely connected.
Social wellness: Keep meet-ups casual and easy.
If there was one thing we all learned in the last year, it was that life is hard all on its own – we don’t need to try to overcomplicate things. You’ve already gotten your “permission slip” to ease back into public spaces and socializing.
Once you are ready, focus on simplicity and ease. Quarantine taught us to hold on to what matters and let go of the rest. That applies to socializing, too. It’s OK to no longer have time for all those volunteer groups, and instead focus on the one that makes your heart happy. It’s OK to stay home on a Saturday night instead of meeting friends for dinner. And it’s OK to put together a cheese and charcuterie board and open a bottle of wine and call it a party instead of spending hours cooking a meal from scratch.
That simplicity should carry over to your health, too. Whether it’s fighting fatigue with more than just caffeine at the touch of a button or grabbing a sleep strip as the last thing you do before bed, NuTraditions herbal formulations fit into your busy modern life (instead of being yet another thing on your to-do list that demands your time and attention).
As we head back out there, we’re going to need our energy – and regular healthy sleep. Bookend your days with Good Morning Sunshine™ and Hello Dreams™ to create a cycle of good health and balance that’s rooted in ancient herbal wisdom.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.