Summer is officially here! If you're a busy New Yorker you've probably been either excitedly anticipating this moment, or dreading it for the past 10 months. For many of us summer means getting out of work early on Friday's, trips to the beach and time with friends and family -- bring on the fun vibe! For others, especially us city dwellers, summer can feel unbearable. From feeling crowded in smelly subways and getting temperamental AC in our apartments to searching for a deodorant brand that could dry a lake! Some of us can never seem to get cool enough and can't wait for summer to end!
In my book 7 Workouts For 7 Moods I talk a lot about finding balance, especially in your emotional life. It's important to think about the seasons in the same way. Summer isn't just a walk in the park or a swim in the pool. It's easy to get carried away in what feels like an endless vacation. But in doing so, it becomes harder for us to transition back into the fall and winter. It's also easy to give into some of the less appealing parts of summer: lethargy, frustration and lots of heat.
My philosophy is that there's no reason to fret about the season of sweat or any season for that matter. Here are a few tips to find balance and peace this summer and every season.
Treat Yourself Occasionally
I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Everything in moderation... including moderation." It may sound silly but there is some truth to it. Summer is a fantastic time of year but its easy to get carried away in the "experience" of it. We fill our weekends with trips and we are slower to meet deadlines at work. We search for summer "flings" instead of long-term love. By the end of summer we are exhausted and feel even more over extended than we did in the spring and winter.
I'm not saying don't plan that much needed vacation, or take some time off work to start a new hobby or stay in the AC, but it's important to remember that balance and self-respect should be something you practice in all four seasons of the year. Instead of filling up all of your weekends with trips to the beach, why not try a five-day vacation once over the summer? You'll have more time to see a new city or relax on the beach and chances are you'll feel more refreshed when you come back. If you keep the work/play relationship balanced you will have an easier time jumping straight into the new, fast paced energy of the Fall.
Find Your Cultural Center
There are two types of people; those that welcome the scorching heat of the summer and those that despise it. For many, the heat forces us indoors. If you're someone who is always searching for a way to beat the heat why not switch from watching TV in the AC to using this weather as an opportunity to re-discover your hometown or city? Try a trip to a museum or check out that new indie flick only playing in the tiny theater downtown. What about spending an afternoon perusing local art galleries or trying out a cooking class? Making the choice to find relief from the heat in a way that opens your mind and feeds your soul is a great way to spend a summer in your hometown.
Kick Start Your Fitness Plan
Summer Friday's usually mean summer happy hours, rooftop bars and late night snacks. It's important to enjoy that part of the summer but it's also crucial to remember to take care of yourself physically. Don't deprive yourself of social events and experiences but again, remind yourself that moderation is key. A good way to do this is kick starting a new fitness plan. It always helps me to make fitness a social event! Get a group of friends together and start an early morning or evening running club on Thursday's and welcome the fun on Friday's.
Beat the sun and avoid working out outside between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM with pre-work yoga or a bike ride in the park. My personal favorite summer activity is swimming. There are so many inexpensive or free places to do a few laps in most cities. Try them out and cool down while you sweat!
Whether it's finding a new physical fitness regimen, exploring your city or making an effort to balance work and play, these simple tips can help you enjoy your summer to the fullest while also putting a pep in your step for the fall! Happy sweating!