Self-care, sunshine and getting proactive: How to take better care of your body and mind this Summer

happy woman
Written by C Wolsey

After a long, long time, it feels like things are getting a bit better and a bit easier out there. We have all been through so much since March 2020 and now the sun is shining, the vaccines are reaching more and more people, and the restrictions are rolling back and staying there. We can go to bars, we can go to restaurants, and most importantly of all, we can see our friends and families again. There are many, many reasons to be cheerful. 

But it is important to remember that things changing out there can be a bit unsettling. We’ve spent the last sixteen or so months on a state of constant high alert. We’ve been making sure that we keep two metres apart from people. We have been doing our level best to not touch our faces. We have been washing our hands every time we touch any little thing, and we have been keeping an eagle eye on the news to find out if things are suddenly going to go south again. It makes perfect sense that a lot of us are feeling a little apprehensive.

However, it is important that we take these positive changes on board and that we start to treat ourselves accordingly. It feels like a lot of the steps that we have taken to keep ourselves happy and healthy have been the essentials. But if we want to step into the summer feeling confident in and happy about ourselves, then we need to think beyond the things that are going to get us through the day and acknowledge this brighter future. Here are a few things that you can do to take better care of your body and mind as we head into the summer.

Treat Yourself To A Self-Care Activity That’s Just For You

This point is especially aimed at anyone with a partner and children. As we mentioned, so much of the general mood of the last year and more has been “worry.” We have run ourselves ragged making sure that everyone in our household has stayed healthy, both physically and mentally. When we place so much emphasis on providing care for others, it can be easy to forget to look after ourselves. 

Well, now that things have started opening up again, it’s time to think about what you have been missing the most. Have you been dying for a proper hair cut at a salon? Have your aching muscles been crying out for a sports massage? Have you been pining for the total relaxation that can only come from a solo spa day? It is so important that you take some time for yourself and recognise the amount of stress and anxiety that you have been carrying on your shoulders all this time. Treating yourself could be just the thing you need to get you that spring in your step back.

Get To The Bottom Of Those Recurring Issues

Just as we have been putting other people’s issues ahead of our own over the course of the pandemic, we have also been guilty of ignoring those niggling health issues in the face of things that seem much more urgent. Yes, that tooth pain is aggravating but should we really be making non-essential appointments right now? That stomach pain does make us uncomfortable, but do we really have time to take a test to find out what’s causing it? We have been so focused on moving forward that a lot of these seemingly small issues get pushed down the to-do list. Well, now that we can all breathe a little easier, you need to get them looked at.

You may be able to live with that pain and discomfort but is it really necessary? Wouldn’t life be significantly better if you didn’t have to make a conscious effort to only chew on one side of your mouth? If you actually knew what food or drink was causing your body to react in this way so you could eliminate it from your diet? Addressing these problems will do your mental health the world of good as well as your physical health. 

So, if your teeth are causing you trouble, make an appointment with a dentist. If you’ve got a headache that won’t go away, talk to your doctor. And if you know that something in your diet is causing you discomfort, take an advanced food intolerance test. Food intolerance testing like this is incredibly easy to do, and it can identify issues such as lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance, as well as many others. Check My Body Health offers easy hair tests that have a 98% customer satisfaction rating.

Don’t Ignore Mental Health Warning Signs

It feels like everyone has become more comfortable talking about mental health issues during the pandemic, which is absolutely fantastic. There has been a stigma attached to mental health for far too long and it is a relief to see that the obvious impact that COVID-19 has had on the mental wellbeing of people of all ages from all walks of life has been taken very seriously. However, we can all fall prey to the trap of thinking that the best thing to do is to just grin and bear it. It can be especially difficult to take the time to acknowledge when we’re having a hard time when we are caring for other people. Now that the world is opening up again and we are re-engaging with people, it is very important that you pay close attention to any warning signs.

Post-lockdown anxiety is well-documented and widely discussed, so don’t feel like you’re the only one who’s worried about going outside and acting like everything is back to normal. Talk to your friends and family about how you’re doing and remember to acknowledge the fact that we are all still living with a huge amount of stress and worry. If you are finding things particularly hard, then consider talking to your GP or a counsellor to help you get back on an even keel.

Embrace The Sunshine

Finally, let’s end on a positive note. The summer is finally here after a spring that left a lot to be desired when it came to the weather. Now that the sunshine is back and there are no restrictions on how long we can be outside for (remember when we could only leave our house for an hour of exercise a day?), it is time to get out into the fresh air. 

Getting into a regular exercise routine isn’t just a good idea for staying in shape, it’s great for your mental health too. So much of the excitement about restrictions ending has been centred on indoor activities, but why not think about heading out into the countryside for a long weekend, or even a week away? Step away from your screens for a few days and put on your walking shoes to fill your lungs with fresh air and get some rays on that skin. You will be amazed at the impact that getting out of your house and out of your head in nature can have.