Late in the fall when the cold weather sets in, I’m caught in a state between excitement and dread. Excitement for the ensuing coziness, and dread for the challenging effects that seasonal affective disorder brings. Thankfully, we’re well-versed in the antidotes. To combat the darker days of the year, we switch on our light therapy lamps, step up our sleep hygiene, and eat to improve our mood. But when it comes to boosting our summer wellness, things look a little different.
While my winter self wants nothing more than to flow through some gentle yoga, curl up in a weighted blanket, and knit (and read!) my heart out, the habits that keep me well and good throughout the summer are quite the opposite. Like many, I find myself outside at all times—walking, biking, hiking, and the like—and my tastebuds crave the light and fresh flavors of summer produce.
But these days, I’m setting aside my grounding practices and warming foods and letting them lay dormant until December. Because friends: summer is here—and it’s time to follow Mother Nature’s lead and switch things up. So if you haven’t already started leaning into the bright and vibrant rhythms of the season, this is your cue to begin.
With the support of our go-to wellness guru, Edie Horstman, and a few of my own tried-and-true insights, I’m breaking down my fave go-to tips for eating seasonally, moving intuitively, and supporting your mental health all throughout the season. It’s time to feel good—scratch that: great.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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9 Summer Wellness Tips That’ll Help You Feel Your Best This Season
Eat For Your Dosha
Edie’s top tip? Embrace the season you’re in with a look to Ayurvedic principles. Specifically, Edie loves the concept of eating for your dosha (which, she acknowledges, supports not only summer wellness, but your well-being all throughout the year).
Unfamiliar with the idea? In Ayurveda, the three different energies (doshas)—vata, pitta, and kapha—are used to describe our individual characteristics. While we each comprise a combination of the three, most of us lean toward one dosha. Embracing your dosha, Edie says, can help guide and influence your nutrition choices throughout the summer. (Psst… If you don’t know your dosha, try this quiz.)
Edie notes that “If you’d rather take a broader approach, summer is associated with the pitta dosha, which means it’s helpful to lean into leafy bitter greens, lots of herbs, coconut water for electrolytes, and limit dehydrating foods and liquids (like coffee!).”
Take It Outside
You’ll find that this is a consistency among the tips to come, but it bears a little foreshadowing: get outside in any and every way that you can. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to weaving in a little time outdoors into your summer wellness habits.
Edie’s favorites? Yoga, meditation, and moving your body in whatever way feels true and authentic to you. “Spending time outside (particularly early in the day), benefits our mental health because it quite literally increases our serotonin levels.” Plus, as we’ll dive into more below, getting your sunlight first thing in the morning helps set a consistent circadian rhythm. This leads to better sleep, which, everyone can agree is a huge (but hard-to-come-by) win.
Support Your Summer Travel
If you know me, you know I’m all over the place. While working remotely gives me the opportunity (and the privilege!) to be moving about, my immune system and energy have taken a hit. Between catching flights and packing my bags multiple times a month, I’m drained. All the usual suspects support me: sleeping like my teenage self (i.e., nine hours-plus), sipping on fruit and veggie-laden smoothies, and working joyful movement into my routine any way I can.
But with travel comes the need to be efficient, and while I’m not one to seek out quick fixes, I love a little help where I can get it. I was recently sent a set of INBLOOM nutritional powders, and y’all—I’m hooked. Because I live by the motto that if it’s good enough for Kate Hudson, it’s good enough for me, I have to confirm: I’m impressed.
The blends support all areas of your wellness—from beauty to brain health to immune defense—your mind, body, and skin will be left balanced, strong, and glowing. And if you’re worried that the taste will be less than appetizing, get ready for a surprise. These powders are truly addicting.
Embrace Cool and Calming Vibes
I only recently came around to saunas (I’m not lying when I admit that they used to increase my anxiety, not assuage it). But while I’d now consider myself a forever fan, my body knows to take a break come summer. Edie confirms the pause is merited and suggests opting instead for “cooler showers and calming aromatherapy.” Her faves? Sandalwood, rose, and jasmine.
The wellness maven notes that a cold shower will energize your entire system—mental health included—giving you a burst of clarity. Get ready to kiss brain fog and the afternoon slump goodbye.
Adjust Your Nighttime Routine
One of the best parts of summer? The sun stays up wayyy past my usual bedtime (because all the cool kids start snoozing at nine). If you can, let the extra sunlight inspire a change in your evening routine. Edie loves that this inspires a transition to starting your wind-down routine outside. Practice grounding your feet in the grass or relaxing on your porch with an inspiring book.
“Use the summer months to heighten your senses by reading, painting, starting a meditation practice, etc.” The summer wellness options are endless.
Start Growing Your Green Thumb
We’re not all naturally-gifted gardeners, but a lack of raw talent shouldn’t stop you from getting your hands dirty! And don’t worry, if it’s space you’re lacking, there are plenty of options for an abundance of small-scale growth. You have Edie’s seal of approval even if you only create the essence of a garden with a few herbs on your windowsill. She considers gardening “a therapeutic hobby that helps us appreciate seasonal abundance.” As an enthusiastic amateur, I have to agree.
Practice Waking Up Earlier
This might come with a bit of intimidation given that we’re recommending staying up later as well. But as Edie notes, “With the extra daylight, waking up 30 minutes earlier could mean 30 minutes to move your body, meal prep, or simply sit outside and listen to the birds chirp.”
Remember: This isn’t about becoming a morning person for the sake of becoming a morning person (some of us simply aren’t!). Instead, Edie encourages you to view it as time just for you—for self-development, self-care, and of course, a healthy dose of self-love. Because that’s what your summer wellness routine should be all about.
Spend Quality Time With Yourself—By Yourself
Start celebrating your life today. That means finding the beauty in the mundane and connecting with the joy that’s present in every moment. I find that it’s easier to identify these bits of happiness and solitary enjoyment when I’m on my own—and Edie agrees. She recommends taking yourself out to breakfast or dinner. “Ideally, dine al fresco at a restaurant that serves seasonal fare.”
Only rule? Swap out your phone for a book. “Savor the experience of eating summer-inspired food, outside, by yourself. It’s both a mental challenge and a mental reprieve.” Savor, sip, relax, and enjoy.
Switch Up (And Step Up!) Your Summer Self-Care
While I adhere to my ride-or-die, minimalist skincare routine, I’m happy to let the seasons inspire my selections. And because I’m busy romanticizing the heck out of my warm-weather months, you can bet I’m indulging in all the skincare self-care as well. I’ve been obsessed with moisturizing face masks for a bit now, and while my faves come and go, my of-the-moment #1 has to be Karuna.
I first fell for the brand when I discovered their super hydrating serum, and because of the variety and ease of this mask set, I love them all the more. To bring your skin back into balance, use a sheet mask once or twice a week.