June 20th marks the summer solstice for 2021 – the longest day of the year and the official first day of summer. This day has long been steeped in mysticism and rituals, celebrating a time of year when we’re graduating from the renewal of the spring season, and the earth is at its peak of strength and abundance.
Maybe you’re the type of person to travel to Stonehenge to watch the sunrise above the stones on the morning of the 21st. Maybe not. But wherever you stand, we do feel that this period of change in the seasons represents a great way to create some positive goals for yourself. To shift your mindset a bit (or maybe just reset it). To start the season fresh.
HERE ARE 5 HEALTHY GOALS YOU CAN SET IN HONOR OF THE SUMMER SOLSTICE.
GO FOR A DAILY WALK
A simple daily walk can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Just 30 minutes a day can help prevent weight gain, stave off medical conditions, improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increase your energy, among other things. Make the most of your time walking by mixing it up. If you’re on a treadmill, increase your speed or incline to incorporate interval training and work different muscles than you would at a leisurely pace. If you’re outdoors (our favorite!) take different routes, try hills, or use a watch to time yourself going at an increased pace for a few minutes. And to make it even more fun, ask a friend to join you!
DITCH THE SODA AND DRINK MORE WATER
If you’re a regular soda drinker, it’s time to give it up. Sugary drinks are by far one of the worst things you can consume, as too much sugar can lead to a host of different conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. And, did we mention that soda is a known bladder irritant, meaning it’s more likely to make you have bladder leaks if you’re already prone to them?
Instead, opt for water, which helps you stay hydrated, control your hunger and weight, and just generally helps to keep your body functioning as it should (think mood, focus, energy, endurance…the list goes on.) Need some ideas on how to drink more water throughout the day? Read this.
WAKE UP EARLIER (AND GO TO BED EARLIER TOO)
Are you the type of person who rushes around in the mornings, always feeling like your time is cut short like you just can’t get a handle on the day? Waking up early may be the thing you need to turn that around. Just having a few more minutes to yourself can mean the difference between feeling stressed and feeling in control.
Waking up early has other benefits too. Because it’s generally quiet in the morning, with fewer demands on your time, you have the opportunity to do the things you may often put off later in the day (like a workout, or daily meditation.)
If you do decide to start your mornings earlier, don’t skimp on sleep. Try to get to bed a little earlier too. You’ll likely find that those late-night snacks and mindless tv watching aren’t really worth the extra time you gain for yourself during those precious golden hours of the morning.
It seems like meditation is all the rage these days, but for good reason. Learning how to quiet your mind has enormous benefits on your mental well-being. It can reduce stress, improve symptoms of anxiety, make you more self-aware, and can even have a positive effect on your physical health, improving your pain tolerance and decreasing your blood pressure.
Meditation may feel difficult at first – it’s hard to quiet all those thoughts running through our heads, but once you get the hang of it, it’s likely to become a welcome break in your day. Meditation can be done anytime, anywhere, and for as long as you’d like, although keep in mind that you’re likely to get out what you put into practice. And, making meditation a regular part of your day may be easier if you do it as a part of your bedtime or morning routine.
EAT FRESH, AND GIVE UP THE SUGAR
If there’s ever a time to make eating fresh a goal, summer is it. Everything is in season, farmers’ markets are bursting with local and fresh fare and you have the ability to grow your own bounty in your backyard garden.
Take advantage of this season of abundance by incorporating as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible into your diet. This doesn’t have to be boring! Visit your local farmer’s markets, join a CSA, plop your veggies on the grill, or try out other new recipes. Eating fresh can be an adventure, and it will have you craving healthy food all year long.