As the vibrant warmth of summer embraces us, our calendars often fill up with activities, vacations, and social gatherings. While these experiences can be joyful and invigorating, the hustle and bustle of the season can leave us feeling overwhelmed and disconnected from our souls. In this busyness, it is crucial to intentionally carve out moments of soul care and embrace the beauty of everyday life.
So, slow down, take a deep breath, and let's explore how you can nourish your soul during the busy summertime season - while still basking in the everyday moments.
Prioritize Mindful Presence:
No matter your stage of life, it's easy to get caught up in the never-ending to-do lists and multitasking of a new season - especially one that includes extra time for fun! However, taking the time to be present in the moment is essential for soul care. Cultivate mindfulness by engaging fully in whatever you're doing, whether enjoying a refreshing swim, savoring a delicious meal, taking the kids/grandkids/friend's kids to the zoo, or spending time with loved ones. By slowing down and fully immersing yourself in each experience, you can indeed find solace and replenishment for your soul. Mindful presence is living in an embodied way that keeps your soul refreshed.
Embrace Nature's Healing:
Summer is the perfect time to reconnect with the wonders of nature and find solace in God's creation. Take a break from the fullness of daily life and spend time outdoors, whether it's lounging in a hammock, going for a walk in the park, or simply sitting under a tree and soaking up the warmth of the sun. Allow yourself time to marvel at the intricate beauty surrounding you – the vibrant flowers, the whispering breeze, or (if you're lucky) the gentle waves of the ocean. Let nature be your sanctuary, where you can rest in God's presence and find inner peace - even for a moment.
Create Rituals of Rest:
While summer may be synonymous with adventure and exploration, it's crucial to balance those experiences with intentional moments of rest and rejuvenation. Establish healthy rituals that help you slow down and recharge your soul. Consider starting your mornings with quiet reflection, journaling, or meditation. I have a podcast for that! Carve out time for daily restorative activities such as reading a book, practicing yoga, an afternoon Yoga Nidra meditation (scroll down to practice now), or engaging in a creative pursuit. By making rest a priority, you create space to nurture your soul and restore your energy.
Seek Meaningful Connections:
Summer provides ample opportunities to foster meaningful connections with others. Engage in conversations beyond small talk and truly connect with the people around you. Share your thoughts, dreams, and struggles, and listen attentively to others. Invest in your relationships by organizing gatherings where you can engage in deeper conversations, such as a picnic in the park or a shared meal with friends. A handful of close friends is priceless! Meaningful connections nourish our souls, reminding us of our shared humanity and offer us a sense of belonging.
Gratitude is a powerful tool for soul care. Take time each day to reflect on the blessings in your life, no matter how small. I enjoy doing this before bed each evening. Thank God for the big and the small! Expressing gratitude helps shift our focus from what's lacking to what's present, cultivating a sense of contentment and joy. Keep a gratitude journal or share gratitude with others, whether through written notes or verbal expressions. By acknowledging and appreciating the everyday moments, you'll find that your soul is uplifted and your perspective is transformed.
During the busy summertime season, it's vital to remember to care for your soul. Slow down, be mindful, and savor the beauty of everyday moments. Embrace the healing power of nature, rest in God's presence, and create meaningful connections with others. Cultivate gratitude and let it permeate your life. Remember, caring for your soul is not an indulgence; it is a necessity in all seasons. Why not pause not and savor some time for soul care?
Below is a glimpse into my habits and what I long to prioritize. Does every day check off every habit? No, it doesn't and that's okay. My heart's desire is to prioritize these areas of my life so that I can live into the life God has created for me. You may also look at this list and wonder, when does she do anything for anyone else? The point of these habits are to live as my best self so I can live and serve God in my home, my community, and this world. Self care may seem or feel selfish to you but it is true that if you pour into you, you can more easily pour out into others.
Have you heard of a Rule or Rhythm of Life? I don't love rules but I do love rhythms and that's what my habits have become, a rhythm. Some "play" more loudly than others in certain seasons but they all matter to the overall music of life.
My current healthy habits include:
Silence & Meditation (breath prayer, centering prayer, reiki)
Prayer & Scripture (this often looks like journaling or lectio divina right now)
Movement (walking, yoga & swimming are my favorite - I am so ready for summer!)
Herbs (herbal tea and St. John's Wort have saved me this winter, check out this blog post)
Clean Living (real food, less toxins)
Reading for growth (spirituality, business, personal growth - I often listen to audio books while doing laundry, etc.)
Reading for pleasure (historical fiction all the way)
Focused Time (writing, creating, dreaming)
Relationship Growth (friendships, dating my spouse, family time, active listening with my teen, peer group accountability)
Financial Stewardship (budgeting, banking, administrative tasks)
Rest/Sabbath/Sleep (blocking off days of my week without social media is a new and helpful habit)
Gratitude (prayer of examen)
Some of these habits are MUCH easier than others are for me. I started clean living after my stroke and brain surgery in 2005 out of necessity. Today it's a fairly natural habit until food temptations arise and I find myself off course. Because it's a long standing habit, it's fairly easy to pick back up and find the rhythm, like a musician who hops in mid song. Others of these habits are truly challenging. Silence may be the hardest on this list in this full season but I long for it and desire it so much. That's why I'll be choosing silence & meditation as the area to focus my heart and mind during the season of Lent.
Do you have a healthy habit you want to focus on during the Lenten season? While this time is often known for giving up, it may be a time to add to for you. Either approach could be taken with healthy habits - give up something (that is not great for you) or consider adding something (that will help you find your healthiest and best rhythm).
What healthy habits are vital for your body and spirit?
Whitney R. Simpson
yoga & meditation teacher
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC