Happy first day of summer! As someone who is generally averse to cold weather, this is my all-time favorite season. Chicago has been a bit chillier this June than I’d prefer, but I’m excited for the sunny mornings and warm afternoons that I know are coming.
Summer can be a challenging time for some, given the many food-related celebrations, the skimpier clothing, and the frequent changes in routine. I remember clearly when I used to feel anxious in the summer because my friends always wanted to go out for ice cream (which I had a food rule against) or hang out at the beach (I was uncomfortable in a bathing suit.) Nowadays, I’m so grateful that I have the freedom to enjoy life in the summer months instead of feeling enslaved to the lies about food and my body. So, I wanted to share a few tips for embracing all the delicious and fun aspects of this season.
1. Dress in a way that makes you comfortable.
For some, that could mean taking off a few layers even if you’re self-conscious about some areas of your appearance. But if being too hot is interfering with your ability to enjoy life in your body, try giving yourself the freedom to wear tank tops or shorts. The initial discomfort might be worth the relief! For others, dressing comfortably might mean covering up a little more to help keep you from being preoccupied with your appearance. If wearing weather-appropriate clothing is distracting, try to find items that will help you maintain both your modesty and your body temperature. The most important thing is to not let lies about your body overtake your ability to live life in your body.
2. Enjoy seasonal foods!
Ice cream is my favorite dessert. Sometimes I eat it in the winter, but I find that it never tastes as good as on a hot summer afternoon. The media is obsessed with avoiding sugar right now, and it might be easy to fall into patterns of guilt about the foods we eat. I personally believe that tasty foods were designed for us to enjoy, and so I strive to include them in my life regularly and in a moderate way! I’m looking forward to more cones like this one, this summer:
3. Enjoy your body in a new way
I have typical exercise patterns that make me feel the best (jogging, walks, and yoga) but the summer is an awesome opportunity to try new activities. Earlier this year, my husband and I had plans to participate in a kayak race in a nearby river, but it was unfortunately rained out. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to spend time playing outside, and maybe developing a new hobby. Grab a pal and sign up for something new! A few years ago my best friend and I played pickle ball with her grandparents, and another friend of mine recently took up goat yoga. Sometimes the weirder, the better!
If summers are usually hard for you, don’t let past shame or future fears rule your present moment. Take back your here-and-now, and strive to make the best of every day. Seek out positive experiences to cultivate a new pattern for your life characterized by curiosity and grace.